If every form of promising new technology has a catch, then, with electric vehicles (EVs), that catch has to be the charging times.

On the other hand, if solar can reduce its costs, and wind turbines can be made small enough for residential consumers, shorter charging times for EVs also shouldn’t be too far off.

With new standards recently developed for the industry, those shorter charging times may have finally arrived.

In October, the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) released new technical standards for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) and EVs. SAE describes the new standards as “a real game-changer” that represent “the future of charging technology and smart grid interaction.” The standards reflect the latest advancements in technology within PHEV and EV engineering.

Based on a consensus of more than 190 global experts representing automotive, charging equipment, utility industries and national labs, the so-called “J1772: SAE Electric Vehicle and Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle Conductive Charge Couple” could lead to a reduction in charging times of more than 2,400 percent. While current charging times can be as long as eight hours, they could be shortened to as little as 20 minutes with the new standards.

Most important, they address the needs of the growing population of EV users. Foremost among them are the needs to reduce charging times at public charging stations and to drive longer distances in electric vehicles.

Unlike the previous version of the standard, which defined only alternating current (AC) charging levels, the new revised standard incorporates direct current (DC) charging. It was developed in cooperation with the European automotive experts who also adopted and endorsed a combo strategy in their approach.