Everything You Need To Know About Charging Electric Cars, Types, Connectors And Modes

Everything you need to know about charging electric cars
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CHAdeMo, CCS Combo, or Mennekes connectors; slow, conventional or fast charging; monophasic and triphasic sockets; charging modes 1, 2, etc. Anyone who does something as daily and necessary as recharging the battery of their electric vehicle deals with all this and more. For newbies in this field, it can seem like a world, especially when compared to something as simple as putting gas. But, in reality, charging an electric car is also simple when the different types of charging that exist, the charging modes, and the different connectors available are clear. Thus, we explain it to you step by step so that there are no doubts about how to recharge an electric car.

Types of charging electric cars.

Time is money, so this will be one of the aspects that any driver of an electric vehicle will catch on the fly, since it directly affects the time it will take to recharge the battery. Thus, the different types of load available are the following:

  • Slow charging: It will be the one used, generally, for vehicles with smaller capacity batteries, such as electric bicycles. It can be used for cars, for example to recharge at home. However, it will take quite a few hours of waiting.
  • Conventional charging: It is the one that is carried out through a single-phase socket, which is one of the most common in any home. Provided that a suitable charger is available, it allows the battery to be powered in much less time than in the previous case, although several hours will still be necessary.
  • Semi-fast charging: In this type of charge, the current is switched to three-phase, and from 16 amps of the previous type to 32. More common in recharging units installed in public places, this option shortens the waiting time to less half compared to the conventional modality.
  • Fast charging: In this case, the output power is around 50 kW, which translates into an 80% recharge in around half an hour. In fast charging, the transformation from alternating current to direct current takes place in the charger itself.

Connectors recharge electric vehicles.

As with the plugs for recharging mobile phones, the connectors for charging electric vehicles are not the same. The fact that there is no standard also adds that, depending on the type of connector, the battery can be recharged at a higher or lower speed. Likewise, this aspect will impact on the communication that exists between the vehicle and the charging point since, for example, in connectors such as the Schuko type this is null.

Charger for electric cars
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In general, electric vehicles include two sockets for recharging; one suitable for operating in homes and, the other, prepared for greater power and thus for quick recharging. Thus, the different connectors that exist for this type of load at higher speeds are the following:

  • CCS (Combined Charging System) : Considered as a standard for the European Union, the CCS connector has five terminals, for communications, ground connection and direct current socket. Currently it reaches a power of 43 kW in alternating current and something more, up to 50, in direct current. In Europe, the CCS is a Mennekes or Type 2 connector, while in the United States it is a Type 1 connector.
  • CHAdeMo: It is the model promoted by Japanese vehicle manufacturers (Toyota, Nissan, Mitsubishi, etc.). It is specifically designed for fast recharging in direct current and can generally reach a power of 50 kW.
  • Mennekes: It is a very widespread type 2 connector, which uses alternating current to recharge. It allows both single-phase and three-phase loads, in the first case at 16 amps and, in the second, at 63 for fast charges.
  • Supercharger : Model created and used by Tesla, which allows charging up to 145 kW of power. While, in Europe, a type 2 connector is used for charging in the popular Superchargers of the company led by Elon Musk, in the United States a self-made one is chosen, which is compatible with CHAdeMOs.

Electric car charging modes.

The types of connectors also have an impact on the electric vehicle’s charging mode, which ranges from mode 1 to 4. The difference between one and the other is the level of communication between the car and the charging point. At a higher level, more possibilities to control and program this process and even to return excess energy to the grid.

With a conventional power outlet you would be in mode 1, in which the transmission of information is basically nil. One more step would be taken with mode 2, in which communication remains very low as it is practically limited to indicating whether the connection has been made correctly.

When you switch to mode 3, there is a true exchange of information from one end to the other, as the charging point integrates the necessary control and protection devices. At the next level, which would be for example that of the CHAdeMo connectors, there would be mode 4, which is the one that offers the highest level of communication, and is only available for fast charges.

Single-phase or three-phase load.

In the previous points, reference has been made to single-phase and three-phase load. If you want to recharge your car at home, to know which of these two types is your installation, you will only have to consult the invoice, which will indicate it. Now, if you have tried to charge the car in your home, and this has caused power outages, it is most likely that it is single-phase and, in addition, the power you have contracted is not enough.

Faced with this situation, three-phase installations favor faster charges (and without cuts due to overloads), although they are noticeable in the pocket: the price of the bills will rise due to contracted power and consumption. Also, before opting for one or the other, pay attention to the vehicle, because it is possible that your model only has a single-phase charger, so the decision will already be made.

With this information, a good part of the doubts about recharging electric vehicles must have been dispelled, both for those who want to charge at home, and for those who choose to do so in charging units abroad. For the latter, there will still be another point to clarify. Where is the closest unit? And, for this, there is nothing like surfing the net or downloading some of the many applications available to find out the location of the nearest charging points.

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