SAE Unveils Combined Charger System

By · May 07, 2012

Combined Charger

Audi, BMW, Chrysler, Daimler, Ford, General Motors, Porsche and Volkswagen strongly support a "harmonized single-port DC-fast charging technology" and will be present at the upcoming unveiling of the SAE's Combined Charging System.

Audi, BMW, Chrysler, Daimler, Ford, General Motors, Porsche and Volkswagen strongly support a "harmonized single-port DC-fast charging technology" and will be present at the unveiling of the Combined Charging System at the EVS26 event currently running in Los Angeles, California.

The system is "intended to optimize customer ease of use and to accelerate more affordable deployment of electrified vehicles," according to Volkswagen. It's believed that the Combined Charging System will be used on electric vehicles in Europe and the US starting in 2013. Only the eight automakers listed above have agreed to adopt the use of the Combined Charging System.

US Combined Charging System

Note the alternate J1772-compatible version of the Combined Charging System displayed on the left side of the image.

The Combined Charging System "integrates one-phase AC-charging, fast three-phase AC-charging, DC-charging at home and ultra-fast DC-charging at public stations into one vehicle inlet." This setup will "allow customers to charge at most existing charging stations regardless of power source and may speed more affordable adoption of a standardized infrastructure," according to VW.

The International Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) has chosen the Combined Charging System as its standard and will publish official guidelines this summer. Aside from the SAE, the ACEA—the European association of vehicle manufacturers—has announced that it selected the Combined Charging System as its AC/DC-charging interface for all plug-in vehicles sold in Europe beginning in 2017.

Charging stations compatible with the Combined Charging System will become available in late 2012. Compatible vehicles will launch in 2013.

Comments

· Chris C. (not verified) · 2 years ago

You're really confusing your readers by continuing to use this graphic. It shows the European version. As I understand it*, the US version has the J1772 plug at the top.

* nobody has written clearly about this yet; an excellent opportunity for you guys to get some page views if you can get it documented today

· goldenfooler (not verified) · 2 years ago

why would they be doing anything different for the US or European plugs?

They do have European readers as well.

· · 2 years ago

@ Chris C Thanks for the tip. Added one more image to clarify.

· · 2 years ago

Other than GM, non of these automakers are putting anything more than compliance cars on the road. Why exactly should they determine the future of EV standards?

· Kevbo (not verified) · 2 years ago

DC charging at home???

· · 2 years ago

I'm confused about why this is needed? Surely, home chargers will just be Level 2, so why add the need for a mondo plug with the pins for DC charging? If you are going to charge with DC, do you have to select it on the charger? What possible advantage does this have over two plugs?

Neil

· · 2 years ago

I'm sure SAE will now focus their attention on an inductive charging spec for 2017. It to will be three years late to market, ugly as sin, and have the support of a bunch of OEMs who never intend on producing a vehicle with inductive charging. Well done SAE, bravo!

· · 2 years ago

It looks like this new plug will still fit the existing level 2 charging port on the Leaf... is that correct?

I'm not familiar with the charging port on the Focus or the Mitsubishi-i. Are those compatible with this as well?

· · 2 years ago

Yes, Geppert, the new J-1772 Combo plug is designed in such a way that a standard Level 2 AC connection can occur on the same plug.

The possibility of a Level 3 "format war" is very real here. How many CHAdeMO-equipped Nissans and Mitsubishis wil be on the road by the time the first J-1772 Combo-equipped EVs are finally introduced? Don't forget, also, that Tesla will also have their own unique Level 3 plug for their Model S.

Recently, I was able to interview company officials from GoE3, an Arizona-based enterprise that has announced plans for the deployment of a modular charger that should be flexible enough in design to be "future proof" in regards to all these varying standards. I've produced a radio feature for the NPR affiliate I work for and it will also be archived online. I'll post a link here by the end of the week.

· · 2 years ago

"Other than GM, non of these automakers are putting anything more than compliance cars on the road. Why exactly should they determine the future of EV standards?"

"The possibility of a Level 3 "format war" is very real here. How many CHAdeMO-equipped Nissans and Mitsubishis wil be on the road by the time the first J-1772 Combo-equipped EVs are finally introduced?"

Hmmm...

Could it be that there is some malintent here? It seems to me that these automakers are either A) trying to kill the EVs outright or B) trying to "nullify" Nissan/Mitsubishi's 3-5 year lead in the market.... Or maybe I'm just caving to the conspiracy theorists?

· · 2 years ago

Brian S, they can try to kill it but I do not believe Nissan is going to back down. It will be interesting to see who conforms. The Leaf 2013 model is a pretty good upgrade then there is the Infiniti EV 2014 and Nissan is selling them globally not just U.S. So I am hoping Nissan will be the leader and everyone else will just have to follow.

· · 2 years ago

The Nissan Leaf is unconvenient with 2 plugs, for slow and fast charge, so I like the idea of CCS. One single plug to accept anything from 110V to a super strong 100 kW current, but I was expecting the Mennekes connector.

I'm surprised, but I bet Nissan will follow this lead and give up Chademo.

· · 2 years ago

The actual leaf, imiev, tesla roadster and volt driver and also the ones that made their bev will find themself in the impossibility to use this upcoming plug. I guess that leaf sale will plummet or even fall to zero.

· · 2 years ago

I've been back and forth with this whole CHAdeMo vs. J-1772 Combo thing. One one hand, the Japanese OEMs have taken the real chances with their CHAdeMO-equipped EVs, while all the US and European companies - who all embrace the J-1772 Combo - have been sitting on the fence and generally talking the EV talk while letting Nissan do the real EV walking.

Conspiracy theory? I'm not ready to go that far. But (let's name names) Audi, BMW, Daimler, Ford, General Motors (partially exonerated for taking real chances with their mostly electric Volt,) Porsche and Volkswagen have generally hidden in the closet while the real game has already begun. Now that they finally seemed halfheartedly interested in kicking the ball, they also want to move the goal posts around. I'll applaud them when they really stop dithering. But if their efforts flounder for showing up late, can they legitimately gripe?

Contrary to this, I found it interesting that the GoE3 people I talked to weren't all that enthusiastic about CHAdeMO . . . even though they will support it on their modular L2/L3 charger (and they deserve real credit for accommodating everyone.) They consider CHAdeMO a largely "unrefined" standard, with concerns that it's somewhat rough on the battery packs over the life of the car. This, according to them, is better addressed with J-1772 Combo standard. And, yes, while the "Frankenplug" does have an afterthought look to it, getting both Level 2 and Level 3 on the same plug is a desirable goal. The footprint ends up being about as large as the DC-only CHAdeMO. So, this does save having a massive multi-port charging panel or two separate charging panels on the car.

Tesla? I can't fault them for going with their own plug. Even Nissan was a Johnny-come-lately in regards to getting something on the road when compared to Tesla's Roadster. If their design is electronically superior, has a smaller footprint and their Model S gets out there before anyone else has a real world long range electric car, they deserve to give their competitors a few headaches. Tesla, of course, also makes adapter cables for their proprietary port.

May the companies who produce real electric cars get the rewards. It's not T-ball: you don't get a trophy just for showing up . . . or promising that you're going to show up. The J-1772 Combo allied companies can still earn kudos and make their case, if they finally start to deliver some product. But the ones who simply greenwash behind limited allotments of lease-only, California-only compliance cars - or endless stream of one-off "maybe someday" concept EVs - need to finally get on the stick.

PS: yeah, gorr . . . whatever.

· SolarWind (not verified) · 2 years ago

Isn't this an absurd state to be in?
The beauty of the ICE is that petrol/diesel are pretty much standard anywhere. This approach by EV makers almost looks like a deliberate attempt to cripple the chances of successful rollouts. Need some unity on these issues if we're going to get anywhere surely?

· · 2 years ago

@Benjamin

I share the frustration. Part of the problem is CHAdeMO is a closed/licensed standard while the SAE is not. So if I want to use CHAdeMO on my vehicle/product, I have to buy a license.

I also agree that the "frankenplug" has a much better form, and the backward compatibility is a huge bonus.

But CHAdeMO and J1772 are use completely incompatible protocols. Otherwise, you could retrofit the connectors and solve it that way with relatively little expense.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 2 years ago

I enjoy my leaf ands its CHAdeMO plug I QC twice yesterday, nissan is the clear winner here and I have already placed orders for the eNV-200 for my work fleet,saw the Infinite also WOW talk about awsome!! nissan headquarters will be moving the level 3 av to there parking garage this week and install the nissan brand L3 out front for the public to use.also schneider electric received a VERY nice order on there L3 . so I doubt the LEADERS I this market are going to back step because some others do not like there protocols. I enjoy the fast charge that is IN USE today and will continue tobut nissan and CHAdeMO because they have already WON by having something to drive and charge with. What a novel concept!!!

· · 2 years ago

On a different note; I have to confess that in my 15 mile back road trek to work I have been exceeding the speed limit in my Leaf. In fact I have been well, having fun running it hard. I do not like having people tale me close on those back roads so I just take off and leave them. This morning however I found one who decided to do his best to hang and he did a good job in the curves. We were pushing the limits. I wonder how embarrassing it is to be passed by an EV Leaf as I hit nearly 80 on a straight away. That was the first person to hang in there with me. I think a lot of people do not realize how fun it is to drive. The Leaf is smoothly powerful and holds the curves pretty well for an eco car. I was surprised that I only used a couple of clicks of power in that little run. Overall it is a really fun car to own.

· · 2 years ago

Smidge204 said:

"Part of the problem is CHAdeMO is a closed/licensed standard while the SAE is not. So if I want to use CHAdeMO on my vehicle/product, I have to buy a license."

SolarWind said:

"The beauty of the ICE is that petrol/diesel are pretty much standard anywhere. This approach by EV makers almost looks like a deliberate attempt to cripple the chances of successful rollouts. Need some unity on these issues if we're going to get anywhere surely?"

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I wasn't aware of that, Smidge. If this CHAdeMO licensing cost also applies to manufacturers/providers of Level 3 charging infrastructure, I can see where that would be an impediment to timely roll out.

It does seem deliberate, SolarWind. But there are probably many sides to this story. My encounter with GoE3 (the radio feature I produced with their interviews and alluded to earlier here should be online by late Thursday) was quite illuminating. Their plan is to make their open architecture chargers as easy to deal with - easier, perhaps - than an encounter with a gas pump.

Because of different sized spouts, nobody accidentally puts diesel into a gasoline tank, although it's entirely possible to accidentally do the opposite. With a Level 3 charger that has all the options in one box - CHAdeMO, a J-1772 Combo and Tesla - everyone gets their charge and it's impossible to miss-match the connectors, since they're all different. I really like GoE3's "we serve everybody" approach to chargers. Here's hoping they'll be able to do everything they've promised.

· · 2 years ago

Is a CHAdeMO to J1772 CCS adapter possible? If so, CHAdeMO should tout that as a solution for future compatibility, so as to keep QC deployments going forward. Then, when no OEM actually offers an EV with J1772 CCS, there'll be no real need for such an adapter. See the logic?

· · 2 years ago

Good question, indyflick. But, from what Smidge204 is telling us above regarding incomparable protocols, I'm going to guess that an inline CHAdeMO/J-1772-Combo adapter or cable is a rather tall order.

Perhaps all of the quick charging terminal manufacturers would do well to study GoE3's approach in regards to simply putting all formats of Level 3 plugs onto their chargers. The base input is going into a Level 3 charger is always going to be 440 to 480V DC on any of these standards. It's the computer data and the physical configuration of the plug that differs.

Using the T-ball analogy once more, the coaches (charger manufacturers) are the ones who will bring the proper equipment (multi-format chargers) to the ball field (highway,) since the potentially whiny little kids (auto manufacturers) aren't mature enough to do it on their own. The end result is that the kids parents (EV owners) finally get to sit back and relax (be rest assured that just about any Level 3 unit out there will have all plug formats.)

· bryan38401 (not verified) · 2 years ago

the schneider electric level 3 will be compatable with both the just see know need till the powers that be come to some agreement so to start the EVF24050DTB will be CHAdeMO but can be up graded with sae also so this is pretty much just waiting till someone produces a car that uses sae. hum none yet???

· · 2 years ago

Here's the radio piece I put together on this subject . . .

http://radio.azpm.org/azspotlight/podcasts/2012/5/10/1632-electric-cars/

The first voice you hear on the mp3 file is Arizona Spotlight's host/producer, Mark McLemore. After the (familiar to many here) Leaf start-up chime, I'm the narrator from that point onward. There was a LOT of good stuff I didn't get to include within the 7 minute allotted time frame. Several EV-related radio pieces, with a southern Arizona angle, may follow. The local EAA chapter, TEVA2, might be my next "victim."

The accompanying web article outlines the radio story and gives, I hope, a general guide to EV charging plugs that a newbie could read through and learn something from, while being a comprehensive enough overview that shouldn't be insulting the intelligence of those who consume EV news on a daily basis.

Anyway . . . it was fun to go up to Biosphere 2 (a spectacular sight, if you've never been there,) talk to their scientists, the GoE3 folks and get to sit inside a Tesla Roadster . . . an EV that costs about 4 times the annual salary of a Tucson-based Public Radio host.

· bryan38401 (not verified) · 2 years ago

sorry but I will continue to buy nissan electric cars ,vans, and trucks and will keep installing CHAdeMO level 3 chargers in my area I AM NOT waiting any more for my electric cars, or for someone to tell what I can or can not buy. My chargers will be compatiable with the cars I buy!!

· · 2 years ago

gorr . . .

If you've actually been paying attention to what's been posted on this thread, instead of re-reading your personally autographed copy of Mein Kampf, you'd realize that the solution is simply to encourage charger manufacturers to configure their Level 3 units to have multiple plugs on them. The marketplace will ultimately decide which plug format will win. The charger companies who provide consumers with plug choices and good locations will win brand loyalty in the mean time.

While we're waiting for that to happen, I recommend that all federal oil company subsidies be put on hold, until this whole contentious issue of unleaded regular, premium, E85, and petrodisel is resolved. At the pumps, let's blend it all together into a single tank, call it "gorrtest" and make it the only available petroleum-based auto fuel. I'm sure you'll loved by millions, if you aren't already.

· · 2 years ago

The more I think about this, the more I like the CCS. It's faster, it's elegant (less clunky than CHAdeMO + J1772 for sure). I just hope that this whole thing just sorted out by 2015, when my lease is up!

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