sae combo charger outletThe 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.