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⚡ Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

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What is important to know about the Electric Vehicle charging Stations

To ensure the movement of electric vehicles (electric cars, electric scooters and mopeds), it is necessary to use special charging stations. Complete solutions for charging electric vehicles include a charging station (floor, wall or compact portable), cables with holders and other equipment. Also, to check the performance of the stations, a tester can be used - an electric vehicle simulator with a charging indication and displaying information on the current. Electric Vehicle Charging Stations vary in output power - from 3.7 to 50 kW. Charging can be carried out with both alternating and direct current, there are also single- and three-phase models of stations. Stationary powerful stations are used for commercial purposes in the construction of charging stations. Compact low-power models can also be purchased for personal use in order to charge their own electric vehicles. Electric vehicle charging solutions use a T1 and/or T2 connector. The standard cable length for most electric vehicle charger models is 3.9 meters. The equipment is produced in a metal protected case, the degree of protection of which corresponds to IP54.

Electric Vehicle charging Stations

Where and how can you charge electric vehicles

We have already talked about the design of a modern electric car in general, as well as about the design of modern traction batteries. Let's move on to the operation of the electric machine. The first and most important of them confronts the owner immediately after buying an electric car: where and how to charge it?

  • What are the features of electric car charging
  • In what modes does an electric car charge?
  • Which socket to plug an electric car into
  • How to charge an electric car at home or in the office
  • How much does it cost to charge an electric car


What are the features of electric car charging

When refueling a conventional car, the main rule is to choose a proven gas station in order to refuel with high-quality fuel. The rest is trifles: decide on the type of fuel you need and not spill it when refueling. With modern filling equipment, this is not difficult at all.

With electric cars, it's different. Questions of cleanliness of hands and quality of fuel disappear. It is a little more difficult to determine the conditional “grade”: different sources of electricity are suitable for charging an electric car - household and specialized. But to deal with them, in fact, is not so difficult. As well as with the compatibility of the source and electric vehicle connectors. But the question of where to charge the car is still difficult to answer even for those who live in megacities.

And if the lack of charging points is a national problem that seriously hinders the spread of electric vehicles, then we are ready to answer the rest of the questions. Let's start, as usual, with the basics.


In what modes does an electric car charge?

To charge the battery, it is not enough just to connect it with wires to a source of electricity. Each device requires its own voltage, charging current and time after which the process must be interrupted. Simply put, any battery is charged in a certain mode (or modes). According to the level of complexity and effectiveness, they can be divided into four types.

Mode 1 is a direct connection to the household power supply without monitoring parameters in this circuit. It does not strictly prescribe grounding standards and the level of protection from external influences, and the network and the device do not exchange data. For these reasons, this mode is not suitable for charging electric vehicles and is not used. In some countries, direct connection is prohibited even for much less powerful consumers.

Mode 2 is the basic semi-automatic mode applicable for charging an electric vehicle from alternating current (AC) networks. It also does not use the exchange of information about permissible modes, but the cable connection has an electronic overload protection device that can reduce the charging current if necessary. According to this principle, the charging systems that come with the electric vehicle are implemented. Those that are intended for inclusion in household single-phase sockets provide charging power no higher than 3.5 kW, and those connected to industrial three-phase networks - up to 7-11 kW.

With such power, the process of filling a battery with a capacity of 70-90 kWh is slow and can take a whole day. Among the owners of electric cars, devices of this type received the nicknames “grandmother” (for slowness) or “brick” (according to the recognizable rectangular control unit located directly on the charging cable).

Mode 3 - protected mode of charging with alternating current from the EZS through a special cable with an information bus. Through it, the terminal and the electric car first initialize the check of all connections and leaks in the insulation, “agree” on the permissible modes, and only after that the charging current is started. This ensures complete safety of the process even in the most adverse weather conditions. During the charging process, the electric vehicle electronics can control the current produced by the ECD.

Theoretically, Mode 3 charging power can reach 43 kW, although most stations are designed for 22 kW. Therefore, such charging is also considered “slow” - it will take more than 4 hours to fully charge, for example, the Jaguar i‑Pace crossover. Moreover, the electric car, in turn, can set its own limits on the received power to optimize the charging process, which will further delay the process. The fact is that alternating current cannot be supplied directly to the battery of an electric vehicle - first it passes through the inverter of an electric vehicle, where it is rectified, stabilized and regulated. Restrictions at this stage prevent the onboard electronics from overheating and conserve battery life.

Mode 4 is an advanced, protected direct current (DC) charging mode. A special cable is used here, the machine and the charging station exchange information about the permissible currents and voltages, and charging begins only after a complete check of all systems. Also, conversion losses are eliminated, so the already rectified current from an external station charges the battery almost directly. 

The “weakest” DC stations provide, as a rule, 43–50 kW of power. But in high-speed charging networks operating in Mode 4, there are already terminals with a capacity of 100, 150, 250 and even 320 kW (Porsche Turbo Charging network, for example), which can fill the battery of a powerful electric car in just an hour. A network of such stations on the roads in the future should completely remove the problem of long-distance travel by electric vehicles. After all, they will be able to replenish the power reserve for a couple of hundred kilometers in just a few minutes, during which the driver can warm up a bit and drink coffee. But for all their advantages, DC terminals are much more complicated and much more expensive than AC stations.


Which socket to plug an electric car into

Experienced travelers know how easy it is to be cut off from electricity in another country - simply because the plug of the device simply does not fit into the local outlet. The problem is solved by an adapter, which should be in the luggage.

In the world of electric vehicles, there is also no single standard for charging connectors yet, and a simple adapter can no longer solve the problem. True, there are fewer options for sockets for electric cars than for consumer electronics: only seven.

Type 1. A single-phase connector (sometimes also referred to as J1772), which in 2009 became the first standard for specialized connection of electric vehicles. It is designed for AC charging only in Mode 2 and Mode 3, and is used mainly in the US and Japan. The maximum charge power is 9.2 kW.

Type 2. Combined (single-/three-phase) connector, adopted for connecting electric vehicles in Europe. Developed by Mennekes and capable of charging 43 kW in Mode 3.

CCS Combo 1 (pictured below this paragraph - on the left) and CCS Combo 2. Understanding the shortcomings of the Type 1 and Type 2 standards, automakers initiated the creation of more advanced connectors. They have additional wiring designed for DC charging (Mode 4) up to 400 kW. It will not be possible to charge an electric car with a Type 1 / Type 2 cable from such a terminal, but there is backward compatibility - a “combo” electric car can be connected to a slow charging station.

Tesla Supercharger. As the name implies, this connector was introduced by Tesla, which is developing its own network of charging stations in order to bypass the power limitation of the American Type 1 standard. up to 135 kW. And the new version of the Supercharger V3 liquid-cooled cable allows you to increase the charging power to 250 kW.

Tesla vehicles for export markets are equipped with Type 2 connectors, making them compatible with European charging terminals. And from the local Tesla Supercharger station, the car can also be charged with powerful direct current.

CHAdeMO. A standard that is actively used in the US and Japan by Tesla competitors. This sophisticated connector, in version 2.0, developed in 2018, provides up to 400 kW of DC charging power (with liquid-cooled terminals), but is also able to separately feed the 12-volt electric vehicle network. True, most electric vehicles equipped with such a “plug” (mainly Japanese and Korean) today are able to accept only 50 kW. With the help of a special adapter, Tesla electric cars can also be connected to the CHAdeMO standard terminals.

GB/T. This connector (more precisely, two connectors at once - for AC and DC) was created in China, adopting some proven solutions from existing standards. GB/T delivers DC charging power (Mode 4) up to 237 kW, and in the new liquid-cooled version it promises to reach a fantastic 900 kW.

If you decide to buy a car that is not intended for the European market, then you will have to take care of purchasing a cable with different connectors at opposite ends or special adapters for Type 2. But be aware that the first one will be useless on EZS, which are already equipped with their own fixed cable instead of a socket. And the second one introduces an additional connection into the circuit, which can cause failures and even damage to the charging equipment. In addition, adapters are quite expensive - for example, a Tesla adapter for CHAdeMO costs several hundred dollars.


How to charge an electric car at home or in the office

The paradox is that most of today's electric vehicles hardly need powerful charging stations. World experience shows that the best terminal is the one that stands right at the home of the owner of the electric car. Or at work. That is, in those places where the car spends most of the day or night. So, the problem of power and charging speed disappears by itself. All you need to do when you return home is to plug the electric car into the socket and in the morning, you can hit the road again with a full battery.

Home charging is good for several reasons. Timed connection allows you to receive electricity at reduced nightly rates. It can warm up or cool down the electric car from the network by the time of departure from the house without wasting battery power. At the same time, the problem of connector compatibility is being solved - in his garage or on the site in front of a private house, the owner is free to put the terminal with the desired outlet. The fourth plus in using its “slow” recharge is that it wears out an expensive battery less by removing the critical loads that public high-speed charging stations can create.

When the daily mileage does not exceed 50–100 kilometers, to charge a not very powerful electric car, you can safely get by with a 220 V home outlet. will limit the charging current). Even the slowest "grandmother" in a night will replenish the battery with a charge sufficient to cover such a distance.

If daily recharge is required for 150-200 km, then it is better to contact the local electric company so that a three-phase connection is made to the house (or garage). Then the electric car can already be charged with a power of 7-11 kW and the night will be enough to replenish the battery charge up to 100 percent.

Even better, install a special wall terminal (they are produced by a large number of manufacturers) that charges the electric car in Mode 3 mode and provides power up to 22 kW. Such a device in six hours will ensure the filling of the battery, which is enough for a distance of 200-400 km. The main problem is to get permission to consume such power and the corresponding connection from the local power supply company.

There is another way to speed up charging at home - use an external inverter that converts the alternating current of the home network into direct current and supplies it through the appropriate connector (CHAdeMO, GB / T, CCS Combo). Manufacturers of such devices claim that the charging speed with this connection increases by almost four times relative to Mode 2. But the load on the wiring at home also increases.

So, very briefly

  • The main difficulty with charging an electric car is to find a working Electric Vehicles Charging station with the right charging mode and connector.
  • There are 4 types of charge modes, depending on the level of process control, power and type of current supplied. The fastest is Mode 4, which charges the battery directly with direct current.
  • Charging capacity depends on the type. In Mode 2, it cannot exceed 11 kW, in Mode 3 - 22-43 kW. Only Mode 4 today can provide power up to 350–400 kW. However, it is not very useful for an electric vehicle battery that is under high load.
  • In the world there are now several standards for charging connectors, each designed for its own type (or two types) of charging. In some cases, adapter cables help to make charging more versatile.
  • In order to get rid of all the problems according to the standards, it is better to purchase an electric car that will have European Type 2 / CCS Combo 2 ports.