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The SAE J1772 EV Charger Guide: Everything You Need to Know

The SAE J1772 EV Charger Guide: Everything You Need to Know

Buying an electric vehicle requires familiarizing yourself with the charging solutions available to you. For Tesla owners, a proprietary plug much like Apple’s Lightning is all they could use – except if they have an adapter (more on that later). For all other electric cars in North America, the J1772 connector also known as the J Plug is the standard.

So, what is a J1772 charger? Read on to know more.

About SAE J1772 Charging Adapters

You may be one of those EV drivers who opt for home charging. There are two types of chargers available for you: the Level 1 and Level 2 chargers.

Level 1 chargers are included with your electric vehicle. These can be plugged into a standard wall outlet and come with SAE J1772 plug on one end and a grounded three-prong plug on the other. A level 1 charger can give you up to 140 miles of range for 20 hours of charging.

Level 2 chargers are sold separately from the electric vehicle but are a good investment as they can charge 3 to 7 times faster than Level 1 chargers. These have SAE J1772 connectors that are plugged into 240V outlets.

If you don’t mind shelling out a pretty penny, you can have a level 2 charger installed in your home, but most public charging stations like malls, supermarkets, and offices are now offering level 2 chargers either for free or for a minimal fee.

History of J1772

The SAE J1772 adapter or the J Plug was the first of its kind to charge EV batteries using direct contact when everyone else was using magnetic field. It was the California Air Resources Board which first adapted the it as the standard for electric vehicles in California, and the rest of North America followed suit. What made the plug attractive to the board was how it can be plugged into the standard household outlet, allowing EV drivers to charge their electric cars in the comfort of their homes.

The first J1772 adapter was developed by Avcon and had a rectangular connector that can deliver up to 6.6 kW of power. Yazaki Corporation later proposed a more powerful 19.2 kW round connector which would be the predecessor of the modern J1772.

Main features of J1772

Yazaki’s design features a 5-pin layout for AC charging.

The three main pins connect the AC Line 1 (L1), Neutral AC (N), and the Protective Earth (PE) aka Ground. The two smaller pins are Proximity Pilot (PP) aka "plug present" and the Control Pilot (CP) which serve as safety and communication point between the EV and the charging station.

A single-phase 120V J-plug operates at a maximum of 16 amps and can deliver up to 1.92 kW, while a split-phase 208V-240V plug has a maximum operating current of 80 amps and can deliver up to 19.2 kW.

The J1772 connector can last up 10,000 mating cycles (connection and disconnection). So, if you’re charging once a day, you can expect your Plug to last up to 27 years.

Different Types of Connectors

Level 1 Chargers

Level 1 chargers are the slowest type of EV charging connectors. Simply plug it directly into a standard AC wall outlet and it can deliver around 1.3 kW to 2.4 kW of power.  An overnight charge can give you 30-50 miles of range, enough for a daily commute, while a full charge can take up to 24 hours.

The good thing though is Level 1 chargers are easily found in residential areas. Most electric vehicles already include a Level 1 charger, so you don’t have to worry about additional costs.

Level 2 Chargers

Level 2 chargers can churn out anywhere from 3 kW to 19 kW of AC power. You can expect up 18-28 miles of range per hour with these chargers and a fully charged battery in just 8 hours or less.

Level 2 chargers are mostly found in charging stations, parking spaces, malls, and offices, but some EV drivers opt to install one in their homes for faster charging.

CHAdeMO

The CHAdeMO plug is a DC fast charger developed to use direct current instead of alternating current. DC charging cut charging times significantly that it was named after the phrase, “ocha demo ikagadesu,” which means charging is as fast as having a cup of tea.

CHAdeMO was the first DC fast charging connector to be widely used and it’s still used by Nissan and Mitsubishi. The first CHAdeMO was capable of 62.5 kW charging, and it was soon proposed to be the industry standard in 2010. But with developments in the US, it was competing with the Combined Charging System (CCS) connector by 2011.

SAE Combo (CCS)

The SAE Combo plug or the Combined Charging System was a response to the CHAdeMO DC fast charging. There are two types of SAE Combo/CCS connectors: Combo 1 (CCS 1) and Combo 2 (CCS 2). These connectors have two additional pins for direct current. CCS 1 is a modified SAE J1772 connector, while CCS 2 is based off the Mennekes connector, the European counterpart of J1772.

SAE J1772 Charging Speed

SAE J1772 connectors are more commonly used in Level 2 chargers. While significantly faster than Level 1, J1772 are not as fast as DC fast charging connectors.

Though some people often refer to it as a charger, it’s merely a connector whose main function is to supply AC power to a car's chargers. This power is then converted to Direct Current which can be used to charge car batteries.

Charging speed of the SAE J1772 connection will depend on several factors, but most significantly the outlet it’s plugged into:

  •   The standard NEMA 5-15 outlet in your home can only supply around 1.44 kW of power (12 amps) to your car using a 120-volt system
  •   The 240-volt system is capable of up to 80 amps or 19.2 kW of power

Most Level 2 chargers with the J1772 connector can give your electric vehicle around 20-25 miles of range per hour. So, an average 250-mile-range electric vehicle would take about 10 hours to fully charge. Considering that charging cycles are typically done from 20% to up to 80-85%, charging speed is cut significantly.

What Charging Stations Use a J1772?

Every Level 1 and Level 2 charging station in North America uses J1772 plugs, except for Tesla charging stations. While these plugs aren't compatible with Tesla cars, Tesla owners can use a cable adapter to allow them access to charging stations nationwide. Yes, even DC fast charging stations!

However, non-Tesla electric cars don't have the same privilege. Electric cars from other manufacturers can't use Tesla’s Level 1, Level 2, or Level 3 charging stations as these don't feature J1772 plugs.

Since DC fast chargers provide extremely fast charging functionality, only electric cars that feature a Combined Charging System connector can use these charging stations. But Tesla CEO Elon Musk has previously announced that the company is slowly opening up its Tesla Supercharger network to most electric cars.

Can I Charge My EV with a J1772 Plug at Home?

J1772 plugs are compatible with Level 1 and Level 2 home charging. It works just like a standard plug: directly plug it into your wall outlet and start charging your electric car.

FAQs

How does the J1772 charging standard for plug-in vehicles work?

The J1722 charging standard has Pilot and Proximity pins to detect the Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) plug when connected – even when not charging. The Pilot is used to identify the maximum current available for electric cars. If the EVSE can’t supply enough current, the vehicle can choose not to charge.

What is a J1772 charging plug?

The J1772 charging plug is the North American standard for charging electric vehicles. It was the first of its kind to charge EV batteries using direct contact when everyone else was using a magnetic field. It can be plugged into the standard home outlet, allowing EV drivers to charge in the comfort of their homes.

What cars use a J1772 charger?

All electric vehicles sold in the US and Canada use the SAE J1772 connector for Level 1 and Level 2 charging except for Tesla. Tesla vehicles can only use a proprietary plug, but there are J1772 to Tesla adapters in the market that allow a Tesla vehicle access to J1772 charging stations.

What is the J1772 Adapter used for?

The J1772 adapter is used for Level 1 and Level 2 charging of all electric vehicles sold in North America (except Tesla). Level 1 charging is usually done at home using the ordinary wall outlet, while Level 2 charging is done at thousands of public charging stations nationwide.

Is J1772 fast charging?

J1722 is not fast charging. While significantly faster than Level 1, it’s not as fast as DC fast charging connectors. When used in the 120V system, it can give you around 1.44 kW of power, while the 240V system can churn out 19.2 kW of power.

What does J1772 plug look like?

The SAE J1772 plug is circular in shape and has 5 separate pins for AC current, signaling and earthing.

Is type 2 the same as J1772?

No, Type 2 refers to the Mennekes connector used as the charging standard in Europe. It’s a three-phase plug that can charge up to 43 kW. J1772 is a Type 1 connector used in North American EVs. It’s a single-phase plug with up to 19.2 kW of power.

Is J1772 the same as CHAdeMO?

No, J1772 is not the same as CHAdeMO. J1772 was developed for ac charging, while CHAdeMO connectors are DC fast chargers developed to use Direct Current instead.

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