Automakers to agree on standard for plug-in cars

GM's Gross says the Society of Automotive Engineers International could announce an agreed upon standard connection for plug-in cars this coming week.

Candace Lombardi
In a software-driven world, it's easy to forget about the nuts and bolts. Whether it's cars, robots, personal gadgetry or industrial machines, Candace Lombardi examines the moving parts that keep our world rotating. A journalist who divides her time between the United States and the United Kingdom, Lombardi has written about technology for the sites of The New York Times, CNET, USA Today, MSN, ZDNet, Silicon.com, and GameSpot. She is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not a current employee of CNET.
Candace Lombardi
2 min read
Automakers are expected to agree this week to use the SAE J1772 five-pin charging system and coupler as the standard connection for plug-in vehicles. SAE International

The Society of Automotive Engineers International, the organization that sets the standard for aerospace and automotive industry technology, will vote this week to make the SAE J1772 charging system and coupler the standard connection for plug-in vehicles, according to a General Motors executive.

Britta Gross, director of GM's Global Energy Systems, shared the news during a live Web chat at GM's Fastlane blog on Tuesday evening.

"As Jon Lauckner said this morning, the Volt comes with a 120-V charger and if you can find a normal outlet, you can charge the Volt," Gross said.

She went on to add that all major automakers will eventually equip cars with the same charging coupler when their respective plug-in cars in the pipeline reach the consumer market because a standard agreement was being reached.

"Yes, GM's Gery Kissel is chair of the SAE J1772 standards committee. The standard is going to a vote this week after two and a half years of work. All major automakers are expected to agree to adhere to these charging standards. All infrastructure that goes in from now on should be J1772 compliant so all plug-in vehicles can use it," Gross said.

Gross is referring to the SAE J1772 or SAE electric vehicle conductive charging cable and coupler which has five pins and can be used with 120V or 240 V single phase electrical systems.

The agreement would allow charging stations throughout the world to plug in to any standard plug-in vehicle in the same way nozzles at gas stations are standardized to fit gas- or diesel-powered vehicles, respectively.