Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) J-1772 "combo" electric-car charging plugEnlarge Photo
After months of planning, the next-generation J1772 electric car charging standard has been approved by the Society of Automotive Engineers.
As expected, it is based on the current J1772 Level 2 charging connector found on cars like the 2012 Nissan Leaf and 2013 Chevrolet Volt, but adds direct current capability.
Unlike the Chademo rapid charging standard currently found on cars like the 2012 Mitsubishi i and Nissan Leaf, the new ‘combo connector’ combines direct current fast charging and regular level 2 charging in one unit.
The result is a charging plug and socket combination which isn’t exactly pretty, but for the first time officially defines a rapid charging standard for U.S. electric cars.
If you’re confused, you’re not alone.
Rapid Charging Station Tennessee Gas Station
Rapid Charging Station Tennessee Gas StationEnlarge Photo
Although the number of Chademo direct current rapid charging stations in the U.S. has been steadily increasing, the SAE and its members decided the concept of two individual sockets wasn’t a good idea.
According to previous reports, Automakers in the U.S. believed that a single charging connector would allow for cleaner car design, meaning the Japanese Chademo system wasn’t suitable.
The new standard also allows for backward compatibility with existing level 2 charging stations.
In fact, the top half of the new combo connector is identical to existing level 2 charging sockets, allowing car fitted with it to charge at level 2, 240-volts when a rapid charging socket is not available.
The publishing of the new SAE J1772 rapid charge standard marks the third concurrent rapid charging technology now being pushed in the U.S., alongside the Japanese-designed Chademo and Tesla-only Supercharger systems.
Let the battle of rapid charging--and the confusion of regular electric car buyers--begin.