We've arrived at an interesting point in history, where for the first time, a large number of people are buying their next electric car, and they're asking me a lot of questions.
Will it charge the same way, with the same gear, as my current or last electric car?
If only it were so easy as putting a lamp into a socket at your house.
But it is not.
Okay the first thing I got to break to you is that something that you though all this time is not true that thing on the wall in your garage or the one you plug in to at the mall it's actually probably not a charger.
It's called an EVSE, an electric vehicle service equipment adapter.
It's basically not a lot more than a smart AC outlet.
The actual charger for your electric car is in your electric car.
That's because batteries hold DC power.
But oddly enough, we charge them with AC power.
So the AC has to be converted to DC on it's way to the battery and that is done and regulated by a charger inside the car.
The exception to that AC to DC dance is when you plug into a DC charger.
Those are the ones that do the really fast charge, like a Tesla Super Charger So now lets talk about the three kinds of charges you can get on these different types of charges.
The first and most basic is level one.
This is basically a survival charge, a trickle charge.
To charge a car this way takes an entire day or longer.
It's just to give you enough charge to get to a good charger.
It runs on 120 volts ac normally.
That's like an average household outlet.
So you can see There's not a ton of power.
It can deliver up to two kilowatts.
I'm gonna quote these in kilowatts because that relates to the capacity of your car's battery, which is kilowatt hours.
A kilowatt hour is a kilowatt of power delivered for one hour or any varying combination of those two.
It's kinda the coin of the realm when you're thinking about batteries and chargers relating to each other.
Things gets really interesting when you step up to a level 2 charger.
Now, we're talking about the broad majority of real world EV life.
Now, level 2 runs off 240 volt electrical sockets.
Also commonly found in your home like an electric dryer or an electric range, but also found widely in commercial installation.
This is not too hard to find but it does give you a [UNKNOWN] power up to 90kW as which you can see is dramatically more than we saw with level 1.
When you see a car like Nissan, [UNKNOWN] say a full charge can be done overnight in 7 or 8 hours level 2 is what they are talking about.
The ultimate level is level 3 an d this one kind of hard one
Now, as you've noticed, our levels have been taking the voltage of the previous level and doubling it, and as a result, level 3, yes, can be a 480 volt AC circuit going into the charger of your car.
We keep doubling the available voltage.
But typically, that's not what it is in the US.
A level three charge normally refers to a DC charger.
So this is a terminal you plug into that is already delivering DC to your car.
A messy and efficient conversion no longer has to happen on the way to the battery.
That is part of why it's able to charge the battery dramatically faster.
It's talking the same language and it's got a ton of power to do so.
DC level free charging is a key part of the main trend and acceptability of ease right now because it universally takes the charge time from being measured in hours to being measured in minutes.
That is a hugely better matter.
Passage in the market place.
Now we get a decent look at the kinds of juice you can get into your EV, it's time to look at the rather bewildering array of connectors that do that, starting with the grand daddy of them all, and this is all for US market by the way.
Asia, Europe, they've got their own connectors, but I'm talking US J1772.
Sexy name isn't it?
That's the technical speck it was given by The Society of Automotive Engineers.
And this is a very solid standard.
What you see here are five pins.
If you look at one of these connectors end on, this is what you'll see.
The three big ones are line, neutral, and ground.
Just like a three pronged plug in your house
And these two smaller pins down here are basically communications pins.
One makes sure that this thing is plugged into your car securely, and the other one is kind of saying stop or go, in terms of sending electricity into the charger Now, know there is nothing in here that provides DC Fast Charging, these can only go up to level two AC charging, so, to add DC Fast Charging which I've just told you was such a hot topic.
They've come up with something called CCS This is a stepchild of 1772.
As you can see there's your 1772 at the top and they have literally grafted on a pair of high current additional pins for DC positive and DC negative on the same handle.
This, for example, is the same connector [UNKNOWN] in the new take on, which promises to raise the bar and charge potency running up to 350,000 watts through it.
Next up we get to a connector that started in the Japanese EV market and picked up quite a bit of global adoption It's called the CHAdeMO connector.
This is an oddball.
Don't even ask me what that name means, something to do with the time it takes to drink a cup of tea.
Which is how fast they envision this charging your EV.
Something like that.
Note you've got two big conductors, two large pins that carry high current, plus and minus DC voltage Then you've got two sets of small four pin quadrants, and all of those are analog or digital communications.
So all this does is DC fast.
There is no provision in here at all for level one or level two coming into the car.
This has become a bit of an orphan at least of in the US where it's kinda now relegated to the Nissan Leaf This one's big on this guy.
And then of course, there's Tesla.
Tesla has earned the right to do things their own way in many ways Luckily their own charger is about the most elegant connector out there.
This is their own proprietary charge connector.
And it's a thing of beauty I got to admit it, slim, the packaging is nicely done.
It's not this horsy clunky grafted on to thing like.
Some connectors we've seen.
What we've got here are two main pins that can be used either for a positive and negative DC for DC fast charge.
Or those can also pass A/C line and A/C neutral in combination with the center bottom pin Functioning is ground again there you're three conductors for level two.
Just like you have in your house and then of course the two bottom side pans are once again the pins you need for basic communication.
Like we've seen in other connectors but this one is so nicely packaged it's small it's beautifully done if you look at the port the way it's rounded on those shoulders it almost wants to find its way into the car.
Now that's all great except you are not going to find this at the end of any cable of a charging station out at the Mall, let's say.
So that's where this adapter comes in.
This adapter as you can see will take the traditional J1772, At the public mall or the grocery store.
Plug that in there, and turns it into a tesla plug on the other end.
It's very simple, but it's compact and very elegant.
Okay, so you say this is all hunky dory, everything works beautifully on the Tesla, until the asterisks arrive.
It turns out if you were to hook up a public charging station in any manner to a model three to get a DC fast charge.
It won't happen.
It's not because the pins aren't there to transfer the DC, it's because the communication is not allowed with a model three.
That's different from a model S or a model X, I am told.
Now I learned about this little hiccup from some public charging infrastructure companies who told me we can't fast charge a model Three because the electrical communication, The hand shake, the authorization isn't allowed.
The theories and these are theories, are that Tesla has recently made its super charger network of fee based revenue source.
It's not free anymore unless your grandfathered in.
As a result they want you to bring your charging money their way when you want a DC fast charge, not to the other guys.
So there's the world of voltage sources and voltage connectors to charge your EV.
The question you have now, I'm sure, is this.
Hey Coolie, how does that tell me how fast I can charge my car?
It's not that simple because it will depend on the size of your car's battery, measured in kilowatt hours, as we mentioned.
And the design of the charger in your car and how it aggressively or intelligently it can ram volts into that battery.
It varies by vehicle.
A couple of related topics as we wrap up.
What about wireless charging?
None of these silly connectors, At all.
It is a holy grail.
However it's got an issue.
It's easier but the trade-off is it tends to transfer power less efficiently.
As a result, your charge is slower.
There are companies like plugless that offer adapter kits for a number of EVs if you wanted to retrofit this on and just have a pad in your driveway, you park over at night And a big German manufacturer called Mala which supplies to a tone of car companies recently licensed technology from WiTriCity to start developing something like this for carmakers that's an interesting development.
The last question I get in this area frequently is what about battery swapping?
This seems perfect fright?
You pull in to a EV service station and in about three minutes maybe five, your car gets a battery dropped out and a fully charged fresh one plugged in.
What could be wrong with that?
Well it turns out a number of things make it kind of hard to do.
Number one is the charge state issue.
When you go to a gas station.
You can quickly go from whatever level of fuel you have to a 100 % it doesn't matter.
There's no inneficcient to it, that's the beaty of liquid fuels.
When you pull into a charge station and swapp your batteries, unless you run the batteries down to almost nothing which is nerve lacking, you are giving back a batteries that has a fair amount of charge in it and that's kind of unmanagement task.
That isn't very efficient.
The other concept is, what about universal fit?
To have really this scale ideally every EV would use the same battery just like all of our electronic use either double A or maybe C sales or triple A's.
There's universality there, there's not that in the electric car business at all.
And thirdly residual value A lot of EVs are leased, and even if they're not, you want to know residual value in terms of the total cost of ownership.
And when the most valuable single part of the car is being pulled out and sent off who knows where, it becomes much harder to predict the residual value of the car.
Imagine if you didn't know what engine a car was gonna come back off lease with The less so I would say, we gotta lower the residual to cover ourselves, that raises your lease payments and that's not ideal.
So this area was abandoned by a company called Better Place in 2013.
Tesla was playing with it, they gave up on it in 2016 in favor of super chargers [UNKNOWN] are coming electrical turn on this car company out of China is still big on the idea.So we will see if its got some life.
So until we give batteries swapping a wireless charging, learn the three major Kinds of charge level and the four major kinds of charge connector, kinda get familiar with those in the market cuz I think you're gonna be handling fussy connectors and [UNKNOWN] cables for a while.