European electric car makers have failed to reach agreement on a standard for recharging EVs.

The EU's focus group on electro-mobility aimed to adopt a standard recharging plug by 31 March, but EurActiv reports that a disagreement between rival designs has derailed agreement.

A German design, which had been expected to be adopted as the standard, has reportedly been blocked by the French and Italians because it lacks the safety 'shutters' used in some countries to prevent accidental electric shocks.

The disagreement is likely to lead to months of international wrangling before a standard can be agreed.

The delay comes as an embarrassment to the EU, which has just launched its Green eMotion project to promote the use of electric vehicles.