It’s not every day multinational corporations agree on something, especially not when it involves their competition. On the other hand, manufacturers know that standardization is vital to the adoption of new technology, and electric vehicles (EVs) are no exception.

In early October, automakers announced their agreement to a standardized international EV charging system. The system integrates all charging scenarios and approaches into each type of vehicle, regardless of the maker. It also uses identical ways for the vehicle to communicate with the charging station.

Seven manufacturers were party to the agreement: Audi, BMW, Daimler, Ford, General Motors, Porsche and Volkswagen. With the adoption of the common system, owners of EVs manufactured by any of the seven companies will all be able to share the same, fast-charging stations globally.

The manufacturers also agreed to use HomePlug Green Phy or “Green PHY,” as the communication protocol. Green PHY is a new powerline technology specification designed to the specific requirements of smart grid and smart-energy applications. This approach will help facilitate integration of the electric vehicle into future smart grid applications.

The endorsement of the combined charging system was based on reviews and analysis of existing charging strategies, the ergonomics of the connector and the preferences of customers in the United States and Europe. The harmonized, cross--continental approach will make it easier for manufacturers, consumers and local planners who have to decide where to install charging stations. It will increase the purchase of EVs and ease the integration of the vehicles into the smart grid.