Thursday, 3 March 2016

Charging electric vehicles

Charging electric vehicles 

The main advantage of an electric vehicle is that it does not emit any polluting gases during operation.

There are studies that show that with the introduction of 1000 electric vehicles in a city, 30,000 kg of polluting gases and more than 2 tons of CO2 would not be emitted per year.

The main disadvantage of these vehicles is that they are expensive and their range is usually short (100 km approximately).

Another problem that arises after purchasing an electric vehicle is where to plug it in to charge its battery. There are still insufficient charging points on urban roads, and we would need at least a regular charging point adapted for connecting a SAVE (Sistema Alimentación Vehículo Eléctrico) (Electric Vehicle Power System).

Domestic infrastructure

Each type of battery requires charging in a specific way. This means that there are a large variety of different chargers on the market, the manufacturer should be consulted for the one that is most suitable for your vehicle.

The more electrical power you have contracted, the less time will be required to charge the battery.

Depending on the electrical power available, we can define three types of charging:

- Conventional charging
- Semi-fast charging
- Fast charging

Conventional charging

Uses the standard electrical voltage and current in a home: 3.7 kW, 230 Volts and 16 Amps. 

Charging time 8 hours

The electrical installation used must be adequate for withstanding this power and type of charging as the majority of power control switches (ICP) are designed for powers between 5 and 15 A.

The battery takes approximately 8 hours to charge (from battery fully discharged), it is recommended to charge the battery overnight when there is a lower energy demand.

NOTE: some manufacturers require a minimum power of 5.5 kW to be available for charging, otherwise the vehicle will not receive the necessary current and it will not be possible to charge the battery.

Semi-fast charging

At a domestic level, the electrical power required for this type of charging is higher than normal: 32 Amps at 230 Volts, delivering a power output of 7.3 kW.

The electrical installation of the home may have to be adapted and different power terms contracted.

With this power, the battery charging time is reduced to approximately 4 hours.

Fast charging

This type of charging is not intended to be carried out at home, the power necessary for this type of installation is equivalent to that required for a 15 residence building.
Fast chargers work with 125 amps at 500 Volts, which provides a power output of around 50 kW.

Fast Charge Station

This charging must be viewed as range extension or convenience charging.

The battery charging time is estimated at 15 minutes, however, the battery can only be charged to 65%.

Charging modes

Irrespective of the electrical power that is available, there are different ways of connecting the vehicle to the electrical grid.

In accordance with standard IEC 61851, the electrical charging of vehicles can be carried out in four different modes.

Mode 1

This is the simplest system, all that is required is a cable with two connectors, one the standard type of home plug (Schuko type) and the other adapted to the car model.

This mode is approved up to 16 amps, its use is recommended for motorcycles and bicycles, i.e. vehicles for which battery charging is under 2 hours.

Cable for charging of up to 2 hours at 16 A

If the two-hour charging time is exceeded, line overheating problems may arise.

Mode 2

The wiring incorporates a control box with a protection system, which allows:

- Verification of correct connection to the grid
- To turn the system on and off
- Selection of the charging speed

This can be purchased at the dealers.

Cable with control box

This allows charging at 16 amps, although it is recommended not to exceed 10 amps.

This mode will be allowed up until 2017, from this time it will be mandatory to switch to mode 3.

Mode 3

Charging terminal

In this case, the connection is not by means of a conventional Schuko type connector but by means of a charging terminal that must be installed by a qualified technician.

NOTE: This terminal must be approved by the vehicle's manufacturer.

Mode 4

This mode only refers to fast chargers that are found on the road or in charging stations.

These types of chargers continuously control the current to the vehicle, and reduce charging time to approximately 15 minutes.

Charging terminal for charging stations

In order to use these types of chargers, the vehicle must accept the CHAdeMO type connector.

Types of connectors

There is no standardisation as regards the charging connectors for electric vehicles.

Below are shown some of the most common.

Sae K1772 or Yazaki
Sae K1772 or Yazaki connector

This is the American standard and is fitted to the following models, among others:

Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Volt, Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid, Mitsubishi i MiEV, Honda Fit EV, Ford Focus Electric, Smart electric, Tesla Roadster, Renault Kangoo Z.E, Renault Fluence Z.E, BMW ActivE


European standard
Currently, it is not being used on many vehicles, but it is desired to make their use on models sold in the European Union mandatory.
- Renault Zoe

Mennekes for fast chargers (Combo T2)


  1. Very Informative & Interesting article. I really enjoyed reading it.

  2. We have found two sides of any electric vehicle both advantage as well as disadvantage. These are beneficial for environment purpose, reduce vehicle emission and many others. Apart from that, it has some disadvantage also such as; lack of charging stations, low performance, and weak chargeable batteries. Therefore vehicle manufacturing companies are installing different several charging stations in different locations to provide suitable charging support to the users.
    Mini Service San Francisco, CA


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