The SAE unveiled their latest standard for quick-charging electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids that could cut charging times to as short as 20 minutes.
The new standard, called “Combo” combines Level 2 charging (using 220 volts, with a charge time of 3 hours) and Level 3 charging, which should support 480 volts or higher (known as “fast charging”). The ultimate goal for Level 3 charging is that it will take 10 minutes.
The big issue is the rival CHAdeMO standard, supported by Japanese auto makers like Nissan and Mitsubishi.The physical connectors are different shapes, and the “protocols” used to control the charging appliances are not compatible either, so a plug adapter will not allow motorists to use both systems. Think of the two standards as VHS and Betamax.
While CHAdeMo is in use already on cars like the Mitsubishi i and Nissan Leaf, Combo has the backing of the American and European OEMs. Either way, the consumer has the most exposure to the downside on this one.