Mike Stevens | Jun 29, 2009

THE DIFFERENT REGIONS of the world may offer an irritatingly wide range of plug shapes for accessing regular mains power, but with the approval this week of the J1772 charging connector, owners of electric vehicles can breathe easy.

Standard J1772TM "Electric Vehicle Conductive Charge Coupler," sets out the requirements for the physical, electrical and performance criteria for the technology.

SAE International - a global association of more than 121,000 engineers and related technical experts - has been tasked with defining the requirements and approving the final design.

Underwriters Laboratories has completed tests on the coupler - which consists of a connector and vehicle inlet - developed by Japanese company Yazaki.

Featuring "finger-safe, touch-proof contacts," Yazaki's connector has been designed to last for over 10,000 insertion/removal cycles. With two charges daily, the connector will offer about 13 years of charging.

"By standardizing, you're reducing costs and allowing everyone to use the same connector," said Gery Kissel, Chair of the SAE Hybrid J1772 Task Force, in an interview with SAE International's Automotive Engineering International magazine.

All of the charging equipment you would pull up to in public would have identical connectors, so any vehicle could use one. It will be a consistent, reliable interface."

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