This Is Officially How You'll Be Fueling Your Car In The FutureS

The future of automobiles is upon us. Or at least it's getting a lot closer. This week, the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) International announced the first official charging plug standard for North American cars. The brand new plugs may arrive as early as next year, meaning that, someday soon, the new American dream could come with a chicken in every pot and a J1772 plug in every garage outlet.

Standardizing the plug itself signals a major move forward for plug-in hybrid and electric automobile technology. And the most appealing part of our new, beloved plug? Charging times could be reduced to a mere 20 minutes, which is incredible compared to today's system, which can easily take up to 8 hours or more. Added bonus: faster charging times mean drivers would be able to travel much farther distances.

But before declaring a winner, the SAE consulted with 190 "global experts" from the automotive, charging equipment, and utilities industries as well as national laboratories. And our champion packs a punch. The relatively sleek frame actually holds both an AC and a DC plug, which is huge because it means that the plug will be compatible with virtually any model of car - no matter how old.

Along with the design, standards for charging levels and safety features were set, so you can even use your new AC/DC charger in the midst of a storm without getting... Thunderstruck.

I'll just see myself out. [SAE International via Gizmag]