Welcome to 2009, SAE Officially Approves New Fast-Charging Combo: Coupler Standard (SAE J1772) for Plug-In EVs

OCT 15 2012 BY STAFF 16

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)

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.

Categories: Charging, General

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16 Comments on "Welcome to 2009, SAE Officially Approves New Fast-Charging Combo: Coupler Standard (SAE J1772) for Plug-In EVs"

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Does the DC part of the new DC1/2 plugs retract if you put it in an AC-only port (any current model EV that uses the standard)? Or are they incompatible entirely?

The existing J1772 L2 plug just plugs into the top portion. It is compatible. That was a major point.

I think he meant the other scenario – plugging a new combo plug into an old car. It looks like the DC section would hit the bodywork.

Yeah, but you wouldn’t be plugging into a DC charge station anyways if all you had was an AC J1772 connector on the vehicle.

Nobody’s going to put this coupler on a Level 2 charge station. The point of this new coupler is so that you only need one inlet on the vehicle side, nobody’s trying to make it so that you only need one EVSE output for both Level 2 and DC.

This plug looks obscene, redundant, and clumsy.

Is there an issue with electrolysis and corrosion of the contacts when using high-voltage DC?

Compare the SAE J1772 combo to the CHAdeMO.
Here is a picture of both :


What about compared to the Tesla plug?

Inquiring minds want to know: Will this new combo plug allow access to high voltage for V2H backup power, provided the right command sequence is issued?

I have always seen DC charging referred to as “Level 3”. Is this term improper? Should we really be saying “DC Level 1 / DC Level 2”?

Yes, they changed the terminology I think a couple years ago. May take some time to catch on. “Level 3” never had a clear definition anyhow.

Perhaps they want to distinguish between DC Level 1 and Level 2 since the EU version (Mennekes, Type-2) may not need the extra pins for DC Level 1.

BMW has a few ActiveE’s outfitted with the SAE combo plug for testing. I actually charged an ActiveE using it last month. It was pretty awesome watching the state of charge on the car go up a percentage every 15 or 20 seconds. It charged the 32kWh pack completely in under an hour, but drastically slowed down after reaching 80% in about 25 minutes.
As mentioned above it will be available on the i3 when it launches next year.

Question: Does rapid charging affect the life cycle of the battery pack?

To these eyes the standard seems very poorly thought out, even amateurish. This means that 2 high power wires lay dormant (increasing the cable heft for small women, for instance), and accomplish nothing towards charging the car.

Of course the original J1772 standard was so poorly codified that many different brands of chargers do *not* work with J1772 cars since the standard was so loosely defined. They should have 2 high power posts for a single phase ac feed, and reuse the same wires for DC high power. This thing appears to me to be so bad that a competing standard will appear soon enough.

Finally a standardisation, with a bit of luck it will remain unchanged for many years to come, seeing as a lot of effort went into this decision.
I wonder if Tesla will adopt it? if so then it’s the way to go.
Now where do we buy them?

How is the Level 2 / 20KW charging solution (BEV 1.2hrs) possible with a 5 pin plug?
Can someone explain what is the logic: 3,3KW is provided with 16Amps&240V, 7KW is 32Amps&240V and 20KW is then 100Amps&240V?