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Easy Fixes to Make Public Electric Car Charging Much Better

German street charger with a big sticker showing the type of connector.

Public charging stations are being installed here and there, but they are still somewhat rare. Before they become ubiquitous, as electric car advocates hope and expect, it’s time to pause for a moment to pinpoint their problems—especially the ones that could get cheaply and easily resolved.

Among the problems, one of the biggest is the connector issue. Despite talk about universal standards, we will live for many years with several types of connectors. So for the sake of convenience, it should be easy to tell at a distance which plugs can be used at any particular charging station. This is where some Germans came with a very bright idea: a huge sticker on the charger’s body to show drivers which plug it has. It’s a Mennekes Type 2 plug in the picture above, so a Nissan LEAF driver will know it won’t work, and keep on driving.
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