SAE approves new fast-charging standard for EVs, plug-ins
SAE International said it has approved a new technical standard that will dramatically reduce charging times for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and electric vehicles.
The global engineering group said the new charging standard, developed with the cooperation of more than 190 automakers, utilities and equipment builders, will allow charging times to be reduced from as long as eight hours to as short as 20 minutes.
Automakers want DC direct charging to take less than 10 minutes, or roughly the time it takes to fill a tank with gasoline.The goal is to accommodate currents as high as 500 volts distributed from public charging stations.
The Combo standard approved by SAE has been backed by U.S. and German automakers.
A rival CHAdeMo system has been backed by Japanese automakers and has more than 1,500 charging stations in operation, most of them in Japan.
“This new technical standard is a real game-changer,” said Andrew Smart, director of industry relations and business development for SAE International, in a statement today. “It reflects the advancements in technology within PHEV and EV engineering.”
The group said the standard will result in reduced times at public charging stations, enabling consumers to travel greater distances in their vehicles.
“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,” said Gery Kissel, an engineering specialist with General Motors’ Global Battery Systems unit and head of SAE’s charging task force. “We now can offer users of this technology various charging options in one combined design.”
The original charging standard 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. SAE says the revision incorporates DC charging where DC Level 1 and DC Level 2 charge levels, charge coupler and electrical interfaces are defined.
Next year, GM will introduce the Spark EV that will feature the fast-charging system.
Ford Motor Co., in a statement, said it supports the new standard in part because it “augments and is compatible with the existing electric vehicle charging standard employed by all automakers in the U.S.”
SAE said the standard was developed in cooperation with European automotive experts who also adopted and endorsed a combo strategy in their approach.
Both CHAdeMO and Combo tackle the task of fast charging through a direct current. It is different from the level one, 110 volts, and level two, 220 volts, which operate with alternating current.
The Combo and CHAdeMO connectors are different. So are their so-called protocols, or the language through which the electrical systems of the car and charger communicate. That means you can’t just use a plug adapter to switch from one system to another.
CHAdeMO has the advantage of being tested and in use. Cars such as the Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi I use it.
Combo proponents say their system is superior because it combines Level 2 (220 volt) and fast-charging (480 volts or more) into a single plug, removing the need for two separate receptacles on a battery-powered car.
David Phillips and Dave Guilford contributed to this report
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By Andrew Stoy