General Motors EV1 at Aeronironment

There's a good reason that Aerovironment proudly displayed the 20-year-old EV1 in its booth at the Electric Vehicle Symposium (EVS26): it's not a newcomer.

Aerovironment's Wahid Nawabi, the senior vice president and general manager of efficient energy systems, told AutoblogGreen the car illustrates that the company has decades of experience with plug-in vehicles.

"The cornerstone of our message in this booth is the EV1, which is a vehicle that is considered by the industry as the mother of the modern electric vehicle," he said. "We were the co-developer of that product back in the [19]89-90 time frame. We have this vehicle here to demonstrate that we understand EVs, we're involved in this and we have a deep history."

That history means Aerovironment has a variety of offerings for companies looking for a charging station supplier, he said. "We are probably the best company that has an entire, end-to-end offering, a one-stop-shop in terms of charging. So, whether you need software capabilities, network subscriptions, chargers of all types or pretty much anything else, we offer all those categories," Nawabi said.

Which means AV has a stake in the most interesting charging story at EVS26, the new SAE combo charger for DC fast charging. This plug was announced in Los Angeles but has been in the works for a while, and Nawabi said Aerovironment was involved in the standards discussion over Level One and Two chargers and has been involved with the Combo charger from day one. "We were involved in the charging standards for years," he said. "In fact, we were one of the first proponents of coming up with some sort of standard." The official news of the combo charger was great, he said. "We are very excited there is a standard," he said. "It is not a standard there are a lot of cars for, so it is something very new. Today's demand in the market is for the CHAdeMO charger, which we offer. If the market were to change, we intend to support it. We are standard agnostic."

There has been a lot of discussion about the combo charger, but it's a fight that Nawabi said is not really that important – right now. He said:

People are making a big deal about a standard that there is not a lot of market for, yet. I believe that one uniform standard that everyone can agree to is very positive for the industry. Whether that ends up being CHAdeMO or combo or something different, to me it's semantics. Today, the standard that makes the most sense for the consumer is CHAdeMO because that's out there and that's what the cars are shipping with. So, should that be the one? I think that makes a lot of sense. You can argue that one is better, I'm sure. But it's what's better for you, an apple or an orange? If you're hungry, you need food.

Since the cars on the ground from Nissan and Mitsubishi accept CHAdeMO, AeroVironment has a number of CHAdeMO chargers installed in places like Texas, Oregon and Hawaii. Nawabi said EV drivers today are happy because these stations support the cars that they bought. "The consumer is just looking for something that works and allows them to charge fast, at the end of the day," he said.