A group of automakers — Audi, BMW, Chrysler, Daimler, Ford, General Motors, Porsche, and Volkswagen — is announcing a new charging standard for electric vehicles at Electric Vehicle Symposium 26. The new standard uses a single plug to handle all types of charging, including fast charging that can be completed in 15 to 20 minutes.
Current EVs, such as the Nissan Leaf, use one plug for Level 1 and Level 2 charging—SAE standard J1772 outlines the particulars for that connector—and a second plug (optional on the Leaf) for Level 3 fast chargers. (We note Nissan’s conspicuous absence from the list of cooperating manufacturers.) There’s currently no agreed-upon standard for the higher-voltage Level 3 charging; it appears this new plug would address that while also combining all types of charging into one standardized plug/port. This certainly sounds like a great idea, but we wonder what will become of cars and charge stations, especially the public ones, equipped with current connectors.
None of the automakers are talking specifics right now—each sent out an identical joint press release—and the new standard won’t be published until this summer. We do know that the connector and port will look something like what you see here, and the interface also will support broadband communication, allowing it to be a part of smart-grid technology.
The named automakers are working on integrating the Combined Charging System into upcoming products, the first of which should be available in 2013. And the chargers needed to feed them are scheduled to appear later this year.