Connectors on the Move

availability, relieving so-called range anxiety – the idea that drivers could get stranded between charge points. The growth in charge point availability, and the fact that now some EVs boast a range of 500 miles or more, is relieving that fear. However, for the charging infrastructure industry, deploying planned charging stations that can service every type of vehicle is still a big challenge amid supply chain shortages. Home charging is another option for EV owners. An EV can be charged using slow or fast charging technology, depending on the vehicle and the owner’s investment in charging equipment. Charging a car from an everyday domestic socket is known as Mode 1, or Level 1 charging. It is limited to the socket rating, which in the U.S. is 120 volts at 15 or 20 amps, just 2.4 kW maximum. In the UK, sockets are commonly rated at 240 volts at 13 amps, a little over 3 kW. Level 1 charging takes about a day to fully charge an EV, but it is sufficient for a battery top-off. To fully charge a Tesla Model 3 without a dedicated charger at home or work could take 24-36 hours, but charging rarely begins at zero, and overnight charging, say 12 hours, will often be enough to top up a battery. Level 2 charging requires homeowners to install a dedicated 240 volt charging device, similar to the power supply needed for a stove or clothes dryer, but it delivers a much faster charge. Commercial installations commonly offer AC charging at up to 22 kW – something that is only possible with a three-phase AC in a domestic environment. Not many homes have this option. As EV analyst Loren McDonald pointed out, “Most cars are parked for 22 to 23 hours each day, so EV parking means EV charging.” That works well for those close enough to an outlet at home or work, but in many places, for example, on-street parking is the only available option. These EV owners rely much more on

charge points or charging stations, which employ Level 2 or Level 3 charging. Level 2 technology employs a dedicated 7 kW charger and cable, and the time to fully charge drops to 1 or 2 hours. Level 3 charging, also called direct current fast charging, can fully charge a vehicle in 30 minutes, depending on the vehicle. Ultra-fast Level 4 charging at 1.5 MW is an emerging option that is currently only available to very large commercial vehicle battery packs, such as the Tesla Semi. EVs connect to charging equipment via a Type 1 or Type 2 connector (see Figure 1). Type 1 connectors feature 5 pins and Type 2 connectors have 7 pins. Both types are in widespread use today, but most carmakers are moving towards the Type 2 format. Tesla, an EV maker with about 50% market share across Europe and North America, also uses the Type 2 connector for higher power Level 4 DC charging. A few vehicles, such as the Nissan Leaf and the Mitsubishi Outlander, use a Japanese- developed standard called CHAdeMO, a Level 2-type connector for DC charging.




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