Charging Cables, Plugs and Standards

August 28th, 2012 § Comments Off on Charging Cables, Plugs and Standards § permalink

Alrighty then,
moving onto the important stuff.

Whats the fuss about the charging cables and sockets. And why is there so many of them?

Note that Mitsubishi made iMiev, and Czero for Citroen, and iOn for Peugeot. See pictures for more connector information.

Well considering you get the standard home 3-pin plug 3kw (UK) with you EV if you buy in the UK, the amount of current it will draw from your meter (power), will make your cabling warm, heat and even melt.

Thats why home plugs are limited to 13Amps 3.5kw (13A) current flow, anything more will just blow the fuse in the plug, and NOT your (EV) electric car.

So not much to worry about here. However official dealer training dictates (for legal risk limitation reason) that your home should be professionally fitted with electric car charging unit (ideally outdoor one) which will naturally cost from £299 to £799 (EDF Energy, at the time of writing). These are typically fitted with enough gear to ensure that current does not leak, its weatherproof, and any spikes only blow the fuse and not you or the car, and finally they are typically fitted with “thicker” more Amp (power) electric cable to enable them being “future proof” for 32Amp (fast) charging, as well as being plain reliable.

Home plug and Play through the window and extension cable (as often the case when you plain run out and in the middle of… southend… with no electric bay in signt, can be done, alas for older housing 50+ homes where electrical modernisaion never taken place, this could quite literally melt the wiring.

Do not over stress the afore-mentioned “melting” point, since car##Q##s 3Kw power draw could be as much as modern power hoover, kettle, iron, microwave, in single or intermixed order, which would have melted any “old-home” ancient electric wiring a long time ago.

So i would risk saying that home charging over the extension is safe enough, but NOT for COIL/REEL extension leads. Any home charging does make cables warm/very warm, so any COILING/REEL type extensions would magnify the heat aspect and again…. melt the reel/extension and you risk having home trouble. Not all is lost, – just make sure reels are fully unreeled/all-out. Worse to worst, your Reel will melt and fuse will blow.

Home plugs done, whats with the BlueCommando, or 32A 7Kw Mennekes, and finally Rapid Charging.
Here, we have the much difference.

BlueCommando is essentially home-compatible but 16A (NO FUSE!) socket. Yes you can plug your EV into that socket but you will notice you need an adapter. Getting the conversion or extension lead to do this job but ensure you have weather proof box where you can put all these leads in, if you leave car you charge like that.

32A Mennekes is fast (7kw) speed charging, essentially double the speed of the typical home charging equivalent. Yes its a different connector. Fast charging stations may have such cables for use, may not, – you may* get this from your dealer. Note, if you install (and you often can) the 32A home charging system, you will need such cable

Rapid Charging is what we get car upto 80% within 20-30mins from nil. This is what we call CHAdeMO standard. The plug in the car for this and Mennekes looks the same. On my C-zero EV this is located on the OTHER side of the car, whole separate charging point, from the usual left, home charging plug.

The plug works both for single phase 230-Volt connections, the vast majority of European outlets, as well as three-phasing up to 63 amps(typically 47kw-50kw) and 400 Volts, which results in a much shorter recharging time. It includes not only a connector, but also communication interfaces. A “plug present” contact, for example, turns on the immobilizer and a “Pilot Control” contact facilitates the exchange of data between the vehicle and charging station. This is also often known as J1772 connector.

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