Automakers: Here's how we'll charge EVs in 15-20 minutes

The Combined Charging System, backed by U.S. and German automakers, makes the prospect of charging an EV during a long highway drive or trip to the mall much more realistic.

Martin LaMonica Former Staff writer, CNET News
Martin LaMonica is a senior writer covering green tech and cutting-edge technologies. He joined CNET in 2002 to cover enterprise IT and Web development and was previously executive editor of IT publication InfoWorld.
Martin LaMonica
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The Combined Charging System connector will allow for both alternating current and faster direct current charging on the same port.
The Combined Charging System connector will allow for both alternating current and faster direct current charging on the same port. BMW

Automakers have endorsed a connector to charge electric vehicles in as little as 15 to 20 minutes, a technology which promises to make public charging stations more compelling.

German and U.S. automakers Audi, BMW, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Porsche, and Volkswagen yesterday issued a statement saying they will support the same charging interface.

Called the Combined Charging System, the standard can charge electric vehicle batteries with alternating current from a home outlet, direct current from a home outlet, or "ultra-fast" direct current from public stations. The system will be demonstrated next week at the International Electric Vehicle Symposium (EVS26) in Los Angeles.

The J1772 standard will be officially published this summer and the first vehicles to use the system are expected in 2013. The European association of vehicle manufacturers will make the Combined Charging System the charging interface for all new electric vehicles starting in 2017.

These automakers chose the system, developed through the International Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), over a proposed Japanese standard. Nissan and Mitsubishi cars use a different DC fast-charging system and the Chevy Volt only works with household alternating current. Nissan's fast-charging DC technology can give a Leaf a 50 percent charge in half an hour, company executives have said.

The system allows for charging at 500 volts with a maximum current of 200 amps, which could result in a charge able to deliver 100 kilowatts of power, Gery Kissel, the chair of the SAE International J1772 task force, told Automotive Engineering International Online.

Fast-charging addresses one of the primary perceived hurdles to mass electric vehicle adoption: the dearth of public EV charging points compared to gas stations. While early tests show that people primarily charge at home, the quicker system makes the option of charging at a dedicated station or charging point at retail location more attractive to drivers.

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