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Getting To Know Electric Vehicles: Charging | Connector Modes

Charging Electric Vehicles

As environmental awareness drives technology to new heights, the electricity industry is seeing its fair share of the disruption. Electric Vehicles are just one of the rising technologies that we need to adopt, yet it is one of the most pressing. For the purposes of this blog, when we say EV we mean a fully electric vehicle, not a hybrid of any sort.

Over the next few months we'll look at the different aspects of EVs, starting with the first one most of us will come across: Charging.

Thanks to government initiatives and funding, the national infrastructure for EVs has leaped forward into a state of preparedness for the future. The only question that remains is: are our electricians ready for the increase in demand for EV testing and charger installation?

We can expect EVs to be highly regulated. Governments around the globe are looking to EVs to reduce emissions, so the public opinion on them is extremely important. Safety will be the most important factor - electrical safety that is. Installation and proper maintenance of charging points will go a long way to making EVs common on our roads.

Before we dive into the charging aspect, lets cover some car basics:

All car batteries are DC. Because there are only around 20 moving parts in an EVs engine, as opposed to around 200 in a standard vehicle, alternators are not used for recharging.

This is why charging stations are so important. Without a doubt, one day EVs will come with wireless charging, or some other new tech will emerge to revolutionise charging. For now, most companies are focusing on improving other aspects of EVs (like driving range), so the charging systems we have currently, will stay relevant for a good decade.

EVs - like other vehicles - run off a DC battery. All EVs come with an on-board AC charger that converts to DC, and many also come with a direct DC charge point.

All EVs currently conform to three main modes of charging - labelled 2,3 and 4 internationally.

  • Modes 2 and 3 draw direct from the domestic AC supply, either directly through a 3 pin socket (mode 2) or via an installed charging system (mode 3).
  • Mode 4 uses a DC charge to override the on-board adaptor, providing faster charging, but requiring more powerful and expensive charging systems.

If you're installing a charging station for a customer, you need to decide which system you will use: mode 2,3 or 4.

Mode 1 Mode 2 Mode 3 Mode 4

Not recommended for installation in New Zealand. Mode 1 is not permitted for public installations and there are superior options for domestic installations.

It is not permitted to install a Mode 1 socket-outlet in New Zealand.

Connector Type:

Type 1: BS EN 62196-2 (J1772)

Type 2: BS EN 62196-2 (Mennekes)

Standard Socket(8A)

AC charge to onboard DC converter

Very slow charge time

Use for Home & Travel (hostels, motels, etc)

Connector Type:

Type 1: BS EN 62196-2 (J1772)

Type 2: BS EN 62196-2 (Mennekes)

Caravan Socket (16A)

AC charge to onboard DC converter

Slow charge time

Use for Home & Travel (hostels, motels, etc)

Connector Type:

CHADEMO

Combined Charging System

Dedicated System

Fastest charge time

Use for public & high use spaces (airports, malls, hotels, petrol stations, etc)

NZTA has a great resource for the current charging systems used in New Zealand, and the types of vehicles that use them. For a comprehensive guide on installing charging stations for EVs and all the considerations we need to take, this resource by Vector will see you right.

Next time we'll dive deeper into the standards and regulations you need to be reading up on so you can take full advantage of this huge new market, and stay relevant as we head towards a very interesting and energy hungry future.

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