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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