The engineers that make up the SAE International group have approved a new fast charging standard for hybrid and electric vehicles that will significantly reduce charge times. The SAE teamed up with 190 automakers, utilities, and equipment builders on the standard.
Carmakers want Level 3 charging that relies on Direct Current to become widely available and take 10 minutes to recharge a car, or as close as possible to a traditional gas-station fill-up. It would require public charging stations that distribute 500 volts, however. U.S. and German automakers back the standard, dubbed Combo, because it combines Level 2 and Level 3 charging. Level 1 and Level 2 rely on Alternating Current.
The first car to ship with the fast-charging station will be the Spark EV from GM due out next year, though today's news that its battery supplier, A123 Systems, has filed for bankruptcy may put a damper on those plans.
A similar system is used in Japan with about 1,500 charge stations in use, most of them set up on the island nation. It is called CHAdeMO.
The Combo standard is compatible with the existing electric vehicle charging standard used by all automakers in the U.S., Ford said, and the automaker supports it, according to Automotive News.
Combo uses a single plug for either Level 2 and fast-charging capability, reducing the need for two separate receptacles on a battery-powered car.