New SAE Fast-Charging Standard To Be Shown Next Week

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Combined Charging System plug for DC fast charging

Combined Charging System plug for DC fast charging

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Remember the monstrosity we showed you that'll be your next electric car charging plug?

Well, it hasn't disappeared in the intervening months, and eight global automakers are set to demonstrate the new standardized fast-charging technology this month.

Developed by the International Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), the Combined Charging System plug allows fast DC charging for any vehicle equipped with the input.

Audi, BMW, Chrysler, Daimler, Ford, GM, Porsche and Volkswagen are all on-board with the new fast-charging standard, so a wide range of future electric cars will be supported, throughout Europe and the United States.

It may not be pretty, but the aim of the plug is to standardize charging across all marques and in all countries, reducing the complexity of charging infrastructures and reducing ownership and maintenance costs. For most vehicles, a fast charge will take as little as 15-20 minutes.

As well as the fast DC charging, the plug also allows for one-phase AC charging, fast three-phase AC charging, and home DC charging.

There is of course one issue for many current electric car owners, and that's the incompatibility with the Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi i. The Japanese cars both use the Japanese standard CHAdeMO charging system, which uses a different plug and different charging architecture. It remains to be seen whether future variants of these models will adopt the SAE standard, or whether we're left with a situation akin to different gasoline pumps needed for different cars.

The new chargers will become available by the end of 2012, and vehicles using the technology will start going on sale in 2013.

Manufacturers will be demonstrating the new system at the upcoming Electric Vehicle Symposium 26 (EVS26), from May 6-9.


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Comments (13)
  1. This does not look backward compatible to J1772-2010. And what are the A/C current limits for single and three phase power? Still use the pilot signal? Does this obsolete the existing EVSEs? Are we starting over?

  2. Excellent questions. When I read this article, I was likewise disappointed that this information was not covered.

  3. This is absolutely 100% fully compatible with the already standard J1772. The standard J1772 plug just fits into the top part like it always has. But once you have access to a L3 charging station, it will use the whole port.
    The two added pins handle the DC energy delivery and the communications go thru the top part like it would with L1 and L2 already.

  4. I think Antony pulled the wrong picture. I think this is a Euro plug with that flat at the top. I believe J1772 plugs (including the one with the DC charging) will have a rounded top.

  5. Article is data sparse, to say the least. I seem to have read that Tesla is ignoring this SAE standard as too slow and will use their own superchargers , installed in their own network. Charges of 15-20 minutes mean short ranges, not supportive of trips. Articles about a new standard should specify exactly what that standard is. And why Tesla thinks it is a mistake. After all,they lead the world in electric vehicle technology.

  6. It's also about size. Tesla would have had a hard time fitting the size of the J1772 port on the Model S... Its very curvy. they so far as to hide the port behind one the back tail lights. Is Tesla's deign better? Yes. Is it absolutely better? No. The J1772 and new L3 version will handle charging quite well. To me, it's like Mac vs. PC.
    Mac/Apple has designed better cables and ports for a long time. Yet the standards keep going to usb. Not that USB is horrible, but Firewire400 was better than USB 1&2. Firewire 800 is better than USB 3. And they even have "Thunderbolt" port for amazing speeds and connectivity.
    But their versions havent become the standard even though they deserve to be. Tesla will be including the J1772 adapter and...

  7. Tesla will be including the J1772 adapter and... have
    many other adapters available to connect to almost what ever you want.

  8. It seems misleading to call the combined charger a "monstrosity". After it being named this way, I imagined it to be a foot in size, or somehow very big. Seeing the Type-2 combined charger last week at the Hannover Messe, the world's biggest industrial fair, I was pleasantly surprised. It isn't much bigger than a standard Type 2 plug at all. Granted, in Los Angeles the Type 1 combined charger will be displayed. Should be similar though. The combined charger (the monstrosity) also isn't much heavier than the standard AC item. Mostly it's the cable that gets heavier, as it's thicker as more electricity flows through it. It's a positive sign if there's only one charger needed for everything, unlike Nissan Leaf with two systems (Type1/CHAdeMO).

  9. The real problem is that the only cars planned that may or may not even come with this QC port are all future CARB play or compliance cars. These cars don't even exist yet and when they do show up someday they will be in such low numbers to not even matter. Hard to make a "standard" around something that no one is using.

  10. This L3 standard has nothing to do with CARB. It is all about the country and industry needing a standard plug so we dont have tons of different cables and ports like we used to for cell phones. It took a long time to get cell phones to a standard, cars need the standard immediately since people will need to access public charging staions.

  11. I always love these articles that assume that ChaDeMo cars might somehow conform to the monstrosity, but don't consider the monstrosity equipped cars wanting to be compatible with ChaDeMo. I know how many companies in the world have a SAE-DC charger to even sell... ZERO. There are 1200 ChaDeMo chargers already installed, and over two dozen companies building the chargers. Also, there are almost 30,000 ChaDeMo cars now in the world, with about 12,000 in the USA. I'd don't honestly know which system is technically superior (in reference to the Sony Betamax VCR that was superior to VHS, but still lost the battle), and I'm not sure it matters. But, I will bet that we DO NOT see the monstrosity plug deployed anywhere at the end of 2012.

  12. Excellent point about the installed ChaDemo chargers.

  13. Don't forget that Tesla Motors is also running with their own standard, and with the launch of the Model S, they will proliferate their charging systems along the I-5. Supposedly, their standard plug handles fast charging better than CHAdeMO, but I don't know how it compares to Combined Charging System.

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