One of the factors that has helped to make cars so ubiquitous over the past century is standards. By standardizing things like fuel fillers, inflation nozzles on tires, 12V power sockets and countless other elements, automakers have been able make owning and operating a car much more practical. After all, if you had to drive around to 20 different gas stations to find one with a nozzle that fits your tank, it would be a real nuisance to drive. Most of those industry standards are defined by committees of the Society of Automotive Engineers.
One of the standards currently being worked on is SAE J1772 which will define standard connectors for plug-in vehicles. The committee is meeting next week during the SAE World Congress in Detroit to discuss the plug standard. Having a common electrical interface will be critical to making plug-in vehicles a viable option. It will allow public charging stations to be installed that can plug into any car. In addition to transmitting power, the new plugs will also provide a communications link that can be used for billing systems and relaying the battery state of charge to turn off the charger. The standard probably won't be finalized next week, but the work done there will be a step in the right direction.

[Source: GM Fastlane Blog]

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