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New SAE International Quick-Charge EV Connector Standard Gaining Momentum

WARRENDALE, Pa., Aug. 4, 2011 - Electric car manufacturers in the U.S. are leaning toward the adoption of a new quick-charge connector standard proposed by SAE International, according to recent reports. This charge format provides for a single, multi-function interface built into the vehicle, rather than two separate plugs.

“Automotive companies are lobbying for only one opening for powering the car to allow for cleaner design,” said Craig Childers, a zero-emissions specialist at the California Air Resources Board, as quoted on the All Cars Electric website.

As Jack Pokrzywa, Director of SAE International’s Ground Vehicle Standards program explained to Electric Vehicle Update, “The approach in the U.S., which is also gaining more support in Europe, is to have a combination coupler that will be an AC as well as a DC standard.” The SAE J1772™ combo-coupler charging standard is being developed through a consensus based process with the participation of more than 100 international stakeholders from car manufacturers, electric utilities, EV charging station companies, suppliers, and software companies.  This standard is estimated to be approved and released around the beginning of 2012.

The proposed SAE J1772™ combo-coupler is designed to accommodate AC L1&L2 and DC L1&L2 charging all in a single vehicle inlet.  Vehicles using this coupler could be capable of being charged at 12 amp - from a regular 110 VAC wall outlet (1.4kw), up to 80 amp @ 240 VAC (19.2kw) or up to 200 amp – 200 to 450 VDC 90kw DC. Communications between the vehicle and off-board charger as well as communication between the vehicle and smart grid will be done by Power Line Carrier (PLC) technology and requires no extra pins in the coupler. The communications technology also enables other customer focused features such a accessing the vehicle infotainment system to download multimedia files or receive diagnostic information from the vehicle. Other DC L2 charging system proposals require a separate coupler for AC and DC charging as well as unique control interfaces of AC and DC charging. The SAE Combo solution represents an integrated solution to charging allowing for future customer features enabled by communication with the vehicle.

The proposed SAE J1772™ combo-coupler design provides interchangeability of the J1772™ AC level 1 and AC level 2 charge connector currently used by OEM’s. The adaptability of the new J1772™ combo-coupler receptacle to the previous J1772™ design connector provides OEM’s and EVSE suppliers with cost effective options.

For more information on the SAE J1772™ combo-coupler, e-mail pr@sae.org .