SAE Combo Plug And Receptacle

SAE Combo Plug And Receptacle

The SAE announced today that they have approved and published the "much-anticipated technical standard" (their words) for plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) and electric vehicles (EV).  (Full spec sheet below)

Developed in a consensus environment by more than 190 global experts representing automotive, charging equipment, utilities industries and national labs, “J1772™: SAE Electric Vehicle and Plug in Hybrid Electric Vehicle Conductive Charge Couple” enable charging time to be reduced from as long as eight hours to as short as 20 minutes.

“This new technical standard is a real game-changer,” Andrew Smart, Director of Industry Relations and Business Development for SAE International, said. “It reflects the advancements in technology within PHEV and EV engineering and we are pleased to represent the collaborative efforts within industry that made it possible.”

If this was 2009, we would whole heartily agree with their "much anticipated" adjective to describe the combo, but the new standard has taken a long, long time to get to market, so we would peg market reception as a collective shrugging of the shoulders in acceptance.

In every regard, the new SAE Combo is superior to the existing CHAdeMO protocol in use today, but that is the issue/stumbling block.  The players behind the CHAdeMO protocal are both producing and giving away fast chargers at a rapid pace, while the SAE upgrade still exists only on paper, as it has yet to find its way into any production car, or single charging station for use.

Also, beating the SAE standard to market, is Tesla, who just dipped their toes into the fast charging game, with their Supercharger stations that officially go into full operation this Friday.

J1772™ SAE Charging Configurations and Ratings Terminology (Click To Enlarge)

J1772™ SAE Charging Configurations and Ratings Terminology (Click To Enlarge)

The SAE says the standard represents the future of charging technology and smart grid interaction, while addressing the needs of today. Such needs include reduced times at public charging stations, enabling consumers to travel greater distances in their PHEV’s and EV’s.

“This new standard reflects the many hours that top industry experts from around the world worked to achieve the best charging solution – a solution that helps vehicle electrification technology move forward.” Gery Kissel, Engineering Specialist, Global Battery Systems, GM, and SAE J1772™ Task Force Chairman, said. “We now can offer users of this technology various charging options in one combined design.”

Next year, GM will introduce the Spark EV, and it will be the first EV you can buy to offer the fast-charging combo.  Others, such as the BMW i3 will follow shortly thereafter.

The original version of J1772™ defined AC Level 1 and AC Level 2 charge levels and specified a conductive charge coupler and electrical interfaces for AC Level 1 and AC Level 2 charging. The new revision incorporates DC charging where DC Level 1 and DC Level 2 charge levels, charge coupler and electrical interfaces are defined. The standard was developed in cooperation with the European automotive experts who also adopted and endorsed a combo strategy in their approach.

SAE press release on the Combo here.