• Nov 6, 2012
The battle between the SAE Combo and CHAdeMO DC fast charger just tipped a little bit toward SAE's "J1772 EV and Plug In Hybrid EV Conductive Charge Coupler." The Car Charging Group is endorsing the new SAE Combo standard that couples a DC fast charger with the J1772 AC 240-volt charger, all in one charging point.
"The new standard coupler provides a wider range of charging opportunities for EVs, which will not only reduce their charging times, but should also reduce 'range anxiety' and expand the adoption of EVs," Michael Farkas, CEO of CarCharging, said in a statement about the SAE's recent release of the combo charger standard. Farkas will be going into depth on this topic during his keynote presentation this month at the 2012 Charging Infrastructure Conference in Novi, MI.

Car Charging Group is one of the largest charging network suppliers in North America, having recently acquired competitor 350Green LLC. Many of these installation projects involve both DC fast charging with Level 2 AC chargers and the new SAE standard should simplify the process.

Initially, the SAE, in its J1772 Level 2 standard, defined the electric current as AC rather than DC. Electric vehicle manufacturers were caught between a rock and a hard place – designing charging couplers for J1772 prohibited access to DC fast chargers. Fast chargers are an important technology for raising public acceptance of EVs by reducing the charging time down from three or four hours to 20 minutes for a refill up to 80 percent.

Japanese automakers Nissan, Mitsubishi and Toyota have been using the CHAdeMO DC fast charger standard for several years, with about 1,300 of these fast chargers being used in Japan. In May of this year, US and European automakers such as General Motors, Ford, BMW and Volkswagen announced support for the upcoming SAE Combo standard.

The SAE Combo standard doesn't solve the problem of the clashing systems. Cars are either designed to be compatible with either CHAdeMO or SAE Combo, not both. There's also the Tesla Model S, which uses the Tesla Supercharger and isn't compatible with either system.


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  • 29 Comments
      Spiffster
      • 2 Years Ago
      Consider my vote in for the SAE Combo. I will soon have 2 vehicles that use J1772. Seems that standard will be most widely accepted, at least here in the US. The J1772 is relatively compact, extremely easy to hook up, and having options is always nice.
        skierpage
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Spiffster
        The Leaf also uses J1772, and Tesla has an adapter. Probably neither of your vehicles will include the fast DC charging Combo, which is certainly not "relatively compact".
        ATC blog Afganistan
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Spiffster
        As pointed out above, having a J1772 has nothing to do with having a SAE Combo "Frankenplug". Almost all the 42,000 Nissan LEAFs around the world have a J1772 and a CHAdeMO. There are almost 2,000 CHAdeMOs charging stations around the world, with about 100 in the USA. There are both zero Frankenplug cars, nor Frankenplug charging stations anywhere in the world. I have to give them credit, they are good at promoting this !!! Also as posted previously, the Frankenplug is not compatible even with the Euro version of this. So, the only place that will use it is in the USA, where GM plans a few thousand "Sparks" to be sold of the next several years in mostly California with an option of this plug and no place to charge. Also, BMW will have some cars next year. Nissan sells more electric cars with CHAdeMO in one month than GM plans for the next several years.
      SVX pearlie
      • 2 Years Ago
      So the public US is going SAE? Good. Having standard plugs for AC/DC charging can only be a good thing.
        ATC blog Afganistan
        • 2 Years Ago
        @SVX pearlie
        We have a standard now, currently in use, for DC fast charging. It's not this one. This is a new "standard", trying to compete with the current one.
        EVSUPERHERO
        • 2 Years Ago
        @SVX pearlie
        Yea, but the GM lead by the nose SAE folks took a damn long time to pull there heads out far enough to come up with this. GM loves to drag there feet on anything related to EV's and this long time drag on standards is just what GM ordered. Two standards of DC-DC fast charging will be available with this SAE standard. 80 amp 500 volt and 200 amp 500 volt. Both come with a 200 volt minimum.
      Peter
      • 2 Years Ago
      Time to get my betamax out and watch a tape or two while I wait for the dust to settle.
      porosavuporo
      • 2 Years Ago
      Toyota has been using CHAdeMO where and when ?
        MTN RANGER
        • 2 Years Ago
        @porosavuporo
        Toyota is a member of CHAdeMO. Considering that the RAV4EV only has J1772, is telling us how they really feel about CHAdeMO on their vehicles.
        SVX pearlie
        • 2 Years Ago
        @porosavuporo
        @poro: I'm sure Toyota's been using Chadmo in Japan for the past few years, to pay lip service to the rest of their partners.
      • 2 Years Ago
      I am an extreme proponent of the Electric Vehicle Program and I have been doing research on the charging station program for 3 years. The alarming information that I have discovered will make the hair on the back of your neck stand up. Our emergency responders are not being trained on how to handle an emergency situation and there were no plans in place to do so. Every time a charging station is installed the danger increases and the charging station industry has failed to disclose these known dangers to each city and county they install these appliances. Our emergency responders have no clue on how to disable a charging station that has been involved in an accident and with the lack of education it puts them at serious risk of electrocution. Recently in California, a driver slammed into a light pole and fire hydrant and two good Samaritans did not see the exposed wires underneath the car and were electrocuted with 13 other citizens injured trying to help the driver. What is so alarming is these charging stations carry the same voltage as a light pole and they are being installed on our city streets at an alarming rate, some within feet from the street. We need to demand that our Fire Fighters are properly trained, call your local fire chief and ask about training and as a taxpayer, let them know your do not feel safe with charging station installed and no safety training. I found one company called Greenstar Concepts that offers safety training to emergency responders and I contacted the owner and he was so frustrated at the way the industry has down played this known problem. He told me he contacted the Federal Government (DOE,NFPA, Homeland Security) and was told “training was something not on their radar” and that “There are no funds available to train our emergency responders.” We need to do something about this swiftly before someone gets hurt or killed. Its good to see new changes, but we really need to focus on Safety before its too late....
      goodoldgorr
      • 2 Years Ago
      This story is not finnished. The leaf have chademo, will they adopt sae in the future in usa. Tesla will probably stick with the supercharger. And i heard that the volt is not able to fast charge with sae. Who's gonna be able to fast charge with sae fast charge when it will be installed somewhere in usa and canada ?
      HVH20
      • 2 Years Ago
      This charging plug looks like a chode.
      Grendal
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'm sorry, but that is the Frankenstein's plug. It screams inconvenient and impossible to work with to me. I picture a woman in her seventies struggling to charge her car. I don't see it being a positive experience for her. Sorry to be negative. It's just my opinion. I know it's not popular that it's bucking the system but Tesla's system is so easy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sYzY5_RkT7w&feature=plcp
        fsfikke
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Grendal
        Have you ever used this plug? Becouse I would love to hear in what way it challenged you.
        SVX pearlie
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Grendal
        Sorry, but a woman in her 70s isn't buying a brand new plug-in car. Assuming she can still drive at all, she's probably still driving whatever she bought in her late 50s, racking up 5k miles per year between home, grocery, and church.
          Marcopolo
          • 2 Years Ago
          @SVX pearlie
          @ SVX pearlie Well, I'll say this for you, you are an equal opportunity insulter ! It may interest you to know that 70, just isn't that old any more ! Chevy Chase, Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Sir Paul McCartney, Raquel Welch,are all entering their 70's. Hugh Hefner's nearly ninety ! (or looks it).
          SVX pearlie
          • 2 Years Ago
          @SVX pearlie
          That's the exception which proves the rule.
          Ryan
          • 2 Years Ago
          @SVX pearlie
          My Mom and Dad are mid 60s and will be getting an Energi when it is available. And my Mom will be able to handle plugging in this connector. I like this standard plug for future EVs.
          Grendal
          • 2 Years Ago
          @SVX pearlie
          http://www.teslamotorsclub.com/showthread.php/10246-Owners-delivery-stories-photos-and-first-impressions/page20 Post #195 would disagree with you - she's soon to be 96!
        EVSUPERHERO
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Grendal
        A woman in her 70's will probably have a hard time pumping gas as well.
        #Tasering
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Grendal
        GM's inductive charging is/was easier AND more elegant (Magne charge).
          Chris M
          • 2 Years Ago
          @#Tasering
          Easy to insert, and waterproof. Unfortunately, it was also less efficient and more expensive, and there were 2 versions (large paddle, small paddle) raising compatibility issues. It was also limited in it's power capabilities.
      purrpullberra
      • 2 Years Ago
      The Tesla system doesn't even matter since no other Ev's should ever get out to the superchargers. Maybe the Japanese can use up their chademo stuff and slowly switch to SAE while the rest of the world adopts SAE now. A lot of good use can be had from the system and infrastructure that exists there. I don't know what to do about the Leaf owners.... A rebate on a conversion? The perils of early adoption.
        ATC blog Afganistan
        • 2 Years Ago
        @purrpullberra
        Why would any LEAF want to convert from a non-existent charging system, to the SAE Frankenplug? There isn't a "conversion", because the task masters at GM who conceived this "standard" only did so to slow up Nissan. I predict SAE combo equipped cars will be crying for a conversion to CHAdeMO (that won't exist).
      Actionable Mango
      • 2 Years Ago
      In the United States we must love standards. That's why we have so many to choose from.
      fsfikke
      • 2 Years Ago
      Daimler is missing in the list of big EU Brands that support the Combo plug.
        skierpage
        • 2 Years Ago
        @fsfikke
        The European combo plug glues the two DC pins onto the Mennekes AC connector, just like the USA combo plug glues the two DC pins onto the SAE J1772 AC connector. The European and USA combo plugs are *incompatible*.
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