Electric vehicles are now commonplace on our roads, and charging infrastructure is being built around the world to serve them.It’s the equivalent of electricity at a gas station, and soon, they’ll be everywhere.
However, it raises an interesting question.Air pumps simply pour liquid into holes and have been largely standardized for a long time.That’s not the case in the world of EV chargers, so let’s dig into the current state of the game.
Electric vehicle technology has undergone rapid development since it became mainstream in the past decade or so.Since most electric vehicles still have limited range, automakers have developed faster charging vehicles over the years to improve practicality.This is achieved through improvements to the battery, controller hardware and software.Charging technology has advanced to the point that the latest electric vehicles can now add hundreds of miles of range in just 20 minutes.
However, charging an electric vehicle at this speed requires a lot of electricity.As a result, automakers and industry groups have been working to develop new charging standards to deliver high current to top-of-the-line car batteries as quickly as possible.
As a guide, a typical household outlet in the US can deliver 1.8 kW.It takes 48 hours or more to charge a modern electric vehicle from such a household outlet.
By contrast, modern EV charging ports can carry anything from 2 kW to 350 kW in some cases, and require highly specialized connectors to do so.Various standards have emerged over the years as automakers look to inject more power into vehicles at faster speeds.Let’s take a look at the most common choices today.
The SAE J1772 standard was published in June 2001 and is also known as the J Plug.The 5-pin connector supports single-phase AC charging at 1.44 kW when connected to a standard household power outlet, which can be boosted to 19.2 kW when installed on a high-speed electric vehicle charging station.This connector transmits single-phase AC power on two wires, signals on two other wires, and the fifth is a protective earth connection.
After 2006, the J Plug became mandatory for all electric vehicles sold in California and quickly became popular in the US and Japan, with penetration in other global markets.
The Type 2 connector, also known by its creator, German manufacturer Mennekes, was first proposed in 2009 as a replacement for the EU’s SAE J1772.Its main feature is its 7-pin connector design that can carry either single-phase or three-phase AC power, allowing it to charge vehicles up to 43 kW.In practice, many Type 2 chargers top out at 22 kW or less.Similar to the J1772, it also has two pins for pre-insertion and post-insertion signals.It then has a protective earth, a neutral and three conductors for the three AC phases.
In 2013, the European Union chose Type 2 plugs as the new standard to replace J1772 and the humble EV Plug Alliance Type 3A and 3C connectors for AC charging applications.Since then, the connector has been widely accepted in the European market and is also available in many international market vehicles.
CCS stands for Combined Charging System and uses a “combo” connector to allow both DC and AC charging.Released in October 2011, the standard is designed to allow easy implementation of high-speed DC charging in new vehicles.This can be achieved by adding a pair of DC conductors to the existing AC connector type.There are two main forms of CCS, the Combo 1 connector and the Combo 2 connector.
Combo 1 is equipped with a Type 1 J1772 AC connector and two large DC conductors.Therefore, a vehicle with a CCS Combo 1 connector can be connected to the J1772 charger for AC charging, or to the Combo 1 connector for high-speed DC charging.This design is suitable for vehicles in the US market, where J1772 connectors have become commonplace.
Combo 2 connectors feature a Mennekes connector mated to two large DC conductors.For the European market, this allows cars with Combo 2 sockets to be charged on single or three phase AC via the Type 2 connector, or DC fast charging by connecting to the Combo 2 connector.
CCS allows AC charging to the standard of the J1772 or Mennekes sub-connector built into the design.However, when used for DC fast charging, it allows lightning fast charging rates of up to 350 kW.
It’s worth noting that a DC fast charger with a Combo 2 connector eliminates the AC phase connection and neutral in the connector as they are not needed.The Combo 1 connector leaves them in place, although they are not used.Both designs rely on the same signal pins used by the AC connector to communicate between the vehicle and the charger.
As one of the pioneering companies in the electric vehicle space, Tesla set out to design its own charging connectors to meet the needs of its vehicles.This was launched as part of Tesla’s Supercharger network, which aims to build a fast-charging network to support the company’s vehicles with little to no other infrastructure.
While the company equips its vehicles with Type 2 or CCS connectors in Europe, in the US, Tesla uses its own charging port standard.It can support both AC single-phase and three-phase charging, as well as high-speed DC charging at Tesla Supercharger stations.
Tesla’s original Supercharger stations provided up to 150 kilowatts per car, but later lower-power models for urban areas had a lower limit of 72 kilowatts.The company’s latest chargers can deliver up to 250 kW of power to suitably equipped vehicles.
The GB/T 20234.3 standard was issued by the Standardization Administration of China and covers connectors capable of simultaneous single-phase AC and DC fast charging.Little known outside of China’s unique EV market, it is rated to operate at up to 1,000 volts DC and 250 amps and charge at speeds of up to 250 kilowatts.
You’re unlikely to find this port on a vehicle not made in China, designed for China’s own market or countries with which it has close trade ties.
Perhaps the most interesting design of this port is the A+ and A- pins.They are rated for voltages up to 30 V and currents up to 20 A.They are described in the standard as “low-voltage auxiliary power for electric vehicles supplied by off-board chargers”.
It’s not clear from the translation what their exact function is, but they may be designed to help start an electric car with a completely dead battery.When both the EV’s traction battery and 12V battery are depleted, it can be difficult to charge the vehicle because the car’s electronics cannot wake up and communicate with the charger.The contactors also cannot be energized to connect the traction unit to the various subsystems of the car.These two pins are probably designed to provide enough power to run the car’s basic electronics and power the contactors so that the main traction battery can be charged even if the vehicle is completely dead.If you know more about this, feel free to let us know in the comments.
CHAdeMO is a connector standard for EVs, primarily for fast charging applications.It can deliver up to 62.5 kW through its unique connector.This is the first standard designed to provide DC fast charging for electric vehicles (regardless of manufacturer) and has CAN bus pins for communication between the vehicle and the charger.
The standard was proposed for global use in 2010 with the support of Japanese automakers.However, the standard has only really caught on in Japan, with Europe sticking with Type 2 and the US using J1772 and Tesla’s own connectors.At one point, the EU considered forcing the complete phase-out of CHAdeMO chargers, but ultimately decided to require charging stations to have “at least” Type 2 or Combo 2 connectors.
A backwards-compatible upgrade was announced in May 2018, which will allow CHAdeMO chargers to deliver up to 400 kW of power, surpassing even CCS connectors in the field.Proponents of CHAdeMO see its essence as a single global standard rather than a divergence between US and EU CCS standards.However, it failed to find many purchases outside the Japanese market.
The CHAdeMo 3.0 standard has been in development since 2018.It’s called ChaoJi and features a new 7-pin connector design developed in collaboration with the China Standardization Administration.It hopes to increase the charging rate to 900 kW, operate at 1.5 kV, and deliver the full 600 amps through the use of liquid-cooled cables.
As you read this, you might be forgiven for thinking that no matter where you’re driving your new EV, there’s a whole bunch of different charging standards ready to give you a headache.Thankfully, that’s not the case.Most jurisdictions struggle to support one charging standard while excluding most others, resulting in most vehicles and chargers in a given area being compatible.Of course, Tesla in the US is an exception, but they also have their own dedicated charging network.
While there are some people who use the wrong charger in the wrong place at the wrong time, they can usually use some kind of adapter where they need it.Going forward, most new EVs will stick to the type of chargers established in their sales regions, making life easier for everyone.
Now the universal charging standard is USB-C .Everything should be charged using USB-C, no exceptions.I envision a 100KW EV plug, which is just a set of 1000 USB C connectors crammed into a plug running in parallel.With the right materials, you might be able to keep the weight under 50 kg (110 lb) for ease of use.
Many PHEVs and electric vehicles have a towing capacity of up to 1000 pounds, so you can use a trailer to carry your line of adapters and converters.Peavey Mart is also selling gennys this week if there are a few hundred GVWRs to spare.
In Europe, reviews of Type 1 (SAE J1772) and CHAdeMO completely ignore the fact that the Nissan LEAF and Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, two of the best-selling electric vehicles, are equipped with these connectors.
These connectors are widely used and are not going away.While Type 1 and Type 2 are compatible at the signal level (allowing a detachable Type 2 to Type 1 cable), CHAdeMO and CCS are not.LEAF has no realistic method of charging from CCS.
If the fast charger is no longer CHAdeMO capable, I would seriously consider returning to the ICE car for a long trip and keeping my LEAF for local use only.
I have an Outlander PHEV.I’ve used the DC fast charge feature a few times, just to try it out when I have a free charge deal.Sure, it can charge the battery to 80% in 20 minutes, but that should give you an EV range of about 20 kilometers.
Many DC fast chargers are flat-rate, so you might pay nearly 100 times your normal electricity bill for 20 kilometers, which is a lot more than if you were driving on gasoline alone.The per-minute charger isn’t much better either, as it’s limited to 22 kW.
I love my Outlander because the EV mode covers my entire commute, but the DC fast charging feature is as useful as a man’s third nipple.
The CHAdeMO connector should remain the same on all leaves (leaf?), but don’t bother with Outlanders.
Tesla also sells adapters that allow Tesla to use J1772 (of course) and CHAdeMO (more surprisingly).They eventually discontinued the CHAdeMO adapter and introduced the CCS adapter…but only for certain vehicles, in certain markets.The adapter required to charge US Teslas from a CCS Type 1 charger with a proprietary Tesla Supercharger socket is apparently only sold in Korea (!) and only works on the latest cars.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=584HfILW38Q
American Power and even Nissan have said they are phasing out Chademo in favor of CCS.The new Nissan Arya will be the CCS, and the Leaf will soon cease production.
Dutch EV specialist Muxsan has come up with a CCS add-on for the Nissan LEAF to replace the AC port.This allows Type 2 AC and CCS2 DC charging while preserving the CHAdeMo port.
I know 123, 386 and 356 without looking.Well, actually, I got the last two mixed up, so need to check.
Yeah, even more so when you assume it’s linked in context…but I had to click on it myself and I guess it’s the one, but the number doesn’t give me any clue at all.
The CCS2/Type 2 connector entered the US as the J3068 standard.The intended use case is for heavy-duty vehicles, as 3-phase power provides significantly faster speeds.J3068 does specify a higher voltage than Type2, as it can reach 600V phase-to-phase.DC charging is the same as CCS2.Voltages and currents that exceed Type2 standards require digital signals so that the vehicle and EVSE can determine compatibility.At a potential current of 160A, the J3068 can reach 166kW of AC power.
“In the US, Tesla uses its own charging port standard. Can support both AC single-phase and three-phase charging”
It’s only single phase.It’s basically a J1772 plug-in in a different layout with added DC functionality.
J1772 (CCS type 1) can actually support DC, but I’ve never seen anything that implements it.The “dumb” j1772 protocol has a value of “Digital Mode Required” and “Type 1 DC” means DC on the L1/L2 pins.”Type 2 DC” requires extra pins for the combo connector.
US Tesla connectors do not support three-phase AC.The authors confuse US and European connectors, the latter (also known as CCS Type 2) does.
On a related topic: Are electric cars allowed to hit the road without paying road tax?If so, why?Assuming a (completely untenable) environmentalist utopia where more than 90% of all cars are electric, where will the tax to keep the road going will come from?You can add that to the cost of public charging, but people can also use solar panels at home, or even ‘agricultural’ diesel-run generators (no road tax).
Everything depends on jurisdiction.Some places only charge fuel tax.Some charge a vehicle registration fee as a fuel surcharge.
At some point, some of the ways in which these costs are recovered will need to change.I’d like to see a fair system where fees are based on mileage and vehicle weight as that determines how much wear and tear you put on the road.A carbon tax on fuel may be more suitable for the playing field.
Post time: Jun-21-2022