A new “combo connector” to charge battery propelled automobiles is being rapidly developed based on a collaboration between the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE.)

The new standard has an SAE J1772 AC charge connector on top and a 2-pin DC charge connector below and is intended to enable either AC or DC Level 1 and Level 2 charging via a single connection.

The effort is the result of a strategic partnership formed within the past half year between the two international standards-development organizations (SDOs) in an effort to stabilize and unify the global electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicle (EV/PHEV) market.

The SAE and IEEE are working on a single connector that could be universally used in all countries, by all manufacturers.

In an article by Jack Pokrzywa, director of global ground vehicle standards, SAE International, and Mary Reidy, chair of the IEEE P2030.1 Working Group, the case is made that manufacturers will be able to leverage one globally functional coupler.

“Integrating the different types of charging functionality would also greatly enhance the convenience of operating such a vehicle,” the authors wrote in SAE’s online magazine. “SAE J1772 goes further still by uniquely defining communications between an EV/PHEV, off-board charger, and the smart grid. Power Line Communications (PLC) is defined in SAE J1772 as the technology for enabling these vehicle-to-grid communications, without requiring changes such as the addition of another pin to the coupler architecture.”

The authors go on to note that the IEEE is particularity contributing as "the PLC implementations from both the HD-PLC Alliance and HomePlug Powerline Alliance are based on IEEE 1901-2010, the world's most mature, robust, and advanced Broadband over Powerline standard. And the IEEE 1901 Inter-System Protocol prevents interference when the different PLC implementations are operated within close proximity of one another."

At present, the SAE J1772 standard as used on the Chevrolet Volt has already been adopted by not just GM, but also Ford, Honda, Nissan and Toyota.

The authors say the SAE plans in the first quarter of 2012 to establish a standard enabling EVs/PHEVs to utilize current from either a conventional 15-amp AC wall outlet or DC connector up to 90 kilowatts.

The collaboration resulting in a marriage of standards by the two SDOs is also in anticipation of the demands of developing smart grids, and to avoid furthering mutually contradictory goals.

"The smart grid effort is different in the sweep of technologies, industries, and markets that it touches," the authors write. "For manufacturers, utilities, governments, and consumers to realize the smart grid's benefits as quickly and cost-effectively as possible, the global standards community must operate cooperatively to logically integrate the work across technology spaces."

The authors go on to document many other standards also now being worked out by the two SDOs which at other times have competed or worked without consulting with the other resulting in incompatible standards.

No word was given when the combo coupler would be introduced into production, or whether any manufacturers have yet signed on to installing it on any pending vehicles.

The CHAdeMO DC quick charger is not mentioned, but the lower DC charging portion of the combo coupler is essentially like a CHAdeMO coupler, but it does not appear identical.

For more info, the entire article is linked here .