J1772 'combo connector' shown at the 2012 Electric Vehicle Symposium

  • 03-May-2012 05:29 EDT
combo connector inlet - BMW website -press release of 5-3-12.jpg

J1772 enables a single vehicle inlet to be used for ac charging and for higher-rate dc charging. The first-generation J1772 plug fits into the upper part of the inlet, with the lower pins for dc charging left open. The new "combo connector" is similar to the first-generation J1772 plug but also incorporates pins to fit into the lower portion of the inlet.

SAE International's J1772 “combo connector,” which will allow for both slower ac charging and faster dc charging of plug-in vehicles using a single vehicle electrical inlet, gets its first North American public demo next week after months of internal testing by automakers.

The three major domestic automakers (Chrysler, Ford, General Motors) and the five major automakers from Germany (Audi, BMW, Daimler, Porsche, Volkswagen) will use the new connector—an evolution of the existing J1772 connector—to charge electrified vehicle models at the Electric Vehicle Symposium in Los Angeles. The rollout of actual production vehicles equipped with the new connector begins in CY2013.

The EVS show demo reflects strong support among those automakers for J1772 over CHAdeMO (short for "charge and move"), the Japanese standard on which is based the connector currently used for dc fast charging on the Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi i electric vehicles. The current-generation Chevrolet Volt is designed for the first-generation J1772 connector, which does not allow for dc fast charging. The two Japanese EV models are available with two vehicle electric inlets, one for CHAdeMO dc charging and one for J1772 ac charging. The Volt has a single J1772 inlet for ac charging only.

The advantages to having a single vehicle inlet include mass savings, cost savings, and customer convenience, according to Britta Gross, GM Director, Infrastructure Planning.

She said the purpose of next week’s demo is, in part, to show that “this is a collaborative effort. We [GM] learned a lot of lessons on the EV1, and we have vowed to make sure some of the hard lessons learned don’t happen again. One lesson is that we can’t go it alone on infrastructure, and on the standard for infrastructure.

“So we vowed on the [Chevrolet] Volt program to not proceed until the industry had consensed around charging infrastructure. We focused on ac level 1 and 2 charging [J1772] and got unanimous agreement throughout the industry on it. With dc, the industry got together and agreed to leverage what’s been done on [J1772] to provide a small-package, ergonomically designed unit that leverages what we already had before.”

A revision to the J1772 standard that will accommodate the combo connector technology currently is out for ballot, according to Gery Kissel, Chair of the SAE International J1772 Task Force whose title at GM is Engineering Specialist, Global Codes and Standards Development. He said there is little reason to think it will not be approved by July or August.

Kissel said the standard will allow for charging up to 500 V, with maximum current of 200 A, “which could yield a charger up to 100 kW.”

He and Gross both say it is their hope that eventually the industry will coalesce around a single dc fast charge standard.

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