The first public installation of a SAE Combo Fast Charging Station was recently completed at the Fashion Valley Mall in San Diego. The fast-charging station is something of a milestone, as it represents the first installation in the US of an industry-coordinated standard for the fast charging of EVs.
The station was built by NRG Energy Inc. It can charge an empty EV battery to about 80% in under a half hour. As it stands currently, the Chevy Spark EV is slated to be the first EV in the US to offer the SAE fast-charge connector as an option, starting sometime in late December, followed by the BMW i3 in early 2014.
“The launch of these new charge stations will help improve the convenience and adoption of electric vehicles because they dramatically reduce the charge time,” stated Pamela Fletcher, the executive chief engineer of electrified vehicles at General Motors. “The SAE Combo DC fast charge stations are the result of EV industry collaboration to help customers benefit from available public infrastructure.”
The new “combo charger” works by charging via AC and DC simultaneously — via a single charge port. The very fast charge times — and also the location — will no doubt result in the charging station getting a lot of use once compatible EVs start to hit the market in December. If you need to charge your EV, simply stop at the mall for a half hour or so.
Most of the major automakers that sell within the US have announced their support for the standard — including but not limited to: BMW, Ford, GM, Chrysler, Daimler, Audi, Volkswagen, and Porsche.