What should you look out for when buying an EV charger? These are the points of interest!
EVs are becoming more advanced by the day. Their use is no longer limited to just supplying power, making solar power a real possibility, for example, and EV owners are starting to think about charging options and speeds. In this article, we tell you how to choose the right EV charger.
1. Type 1 or type 2 charger
Type 1 connectors (Yazaki / J1772 connector) are generally only found on US and Asian vehicles. European vehicles usually have a type 2 connector (Mennekes / 62196-2 connector). Should your electric car have a different connector than what is on the charging cable of your charging station, adapters can be bought for that.
EVs nowadays almost all come standard with at least two different cables. A Mode 2 and Mode 3 cable. These allow you to charge at public and home chargers (Mode 3) as well as at a regular wall socket (Mode 2).
Choosing the right EV charging station depends on how far you want to travel, and how much time you want to spend charging. The faster the charger, the more voltage, amperage and kilowatts, but on the other hand, charging is a lot faster. If you charge your EV with a so-called smart charger, you can make use of converted solar energy, and work with charging schedules to save as much money and the environment as possible through off-peak charging.
2. Single-phase or three-phase
Standard home power sources from the past are often single-phase alternating current, while commercial connections and newer homes can supply three-phase alternating current to EVs. A single-phase charger provides electricity at only a third of the power of a 3-phase charger, and thus takes three times as long to charge. If you connect your EV to a standard single-phase AC outlet, with the 2.3 kW power output it will take around 8-12 hours to fully charge a small 24 kWh battery when empty.
Charging cables are available that automatically switch from 1-phase to 3-phase charging. Most EVs can therefore be charged with a type 1 (slow, 2.3 kW) charger, or a fast (11 or 22 kW) charger. For business use, fast chargers of at least 11 kW are worth the investment, because of the higher charging speed and that you therefore need less time.
3. 16-amp or 32-amp
Charging time also depends on how high the amperage you use is, which in turn can depend on the model of EV you drive. At public charging stations, charging is usually done at 11 kW, which corresponds to a current of 16 amps on 3-phase. If your EV's built-in charger only has a capacity of single-phase 3.7 kW, it will only accept current of 16 amps or lower, and take about seven hours to charge the battery when it is empty. You can also charge your EV with a standard household socket that provides about 10-16 amps, and then it will take eight hours or longer to fully charge.
You can use a 32-amp EV cable if your EV has a larger (40 kWh) battery pack and an on-board charger (6.6 kW). Charging time at a 7.2 kW charge point is then reduced to four hours or less, provided of course your meter box can handle this speed. The cable is likely to be more than twice as expensive, but it can offer significant savings in the long run. Public charging stations provide 16- to 32-amp current for 11 kW-22 kW chargers.
4. Equipped with a fixed charging cable or not (tethered/untethered)
Charging cables are either attached to the charging station with a fixed connection or they are separate cables, with a type 1 or type 2 connection. Most common on recent EVs is the universal type 2 cable, which can also be bought separately. Chargers that do not have a fixed cable (called untethered chargers) are more flexible, as you can connect either a type 1 or a type 2 EV to them. If there is a chance that you will buy a new EV in the not too distant future with perhaps a different connection or if the charger is going to be used for multiple EVs of different brands, then a charger without a fixed cable is the best choice as you will have maximum flexibility.
If you only charge one type of EV and are unlikely to share your power source with other users, a charger with fixed cable (tethered charger) is the option that offers the most convenience. This is often a charger with Type-2 plug, as this is the standard in Europe. This means that the cable with Type-2 plug is permanently attached to your charger, and then you only need to plug it into your EV to charge. For home users, this means you don't have to move the cable around, it doesn't get dirty in your boot and doesn't take up space in your boot.