In Europe, Chargers Get Labelled Like Gas (Regular, Plus & Super)

JUL 28 2014 BY MARK KANE 22

ABB Terra 53 CJG

ABB Terra 53 CJG

Different types of fuel requires appropriate signage (regular, plus, premium, super, etc.).

Despite electric energy always being the same (or close to the same), it seems that the automotive industry will mimic the Regular, Plus & Super choice to depict different methods of transfer (DC / AC) or different standards (interface, inlet/connector) .

Above, we see how ABB labels its chargers to identify three types of plugs – blue 3 phase AC (called Type 2), green DC CHAdeMO and yellow DC CCS. In Europe, there is also the Tesla Supercharger DC standard, which in theory could be included to have 4 different options!

All of them are unnatural because this is still the same type of energy provided through electric current and in every electric car energy it’s finally fed to battery pack by DC current. Gasoline and diesel cars never had such an opportunity to have one nozzle.  Electric cars had the chance, but wasted it.

Similar problem we see in the US, however without AC fast charging. The other plus for US is only one AC Level 2 standard, while Europe is struggling with two of them – Type 1 and Type 2 (at least France killed Type 3).

All of those solutions harm badly the pace of market development, because everything is complicated. Chargers are more expensive (and according to our sources some companies already found that the difference is higher than should it be – 5-10% – because manufacturers just charge more for multi-standard units – sometimes over 20% more), drivers can’t use all of the infrastructure and new buyers get lost in the types of plugs on top of different networks.

It’s all too confusing and messed up, when it could have been simple and universal.

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22 Comments on "In Europe, Chargers Get Labelled Like Gas (Regular, Plus & Super)"

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43 kw A/C?
Am I reading that correctly?
That seems high.

It is correct.
Today, although they are having difficulties to stabilize it, the Renault ZOE is able to charge at that rate.

That’s pretty amazing. I thought the Tesla S had the highest L2 A/C charge rate of 20 kw.

The higher rate like 43 kw must just be in europe.

I wonder what the highest A/C charge rate is in the US?

My guess would be about 20kW, which is the top of the J1772 protocol (technically 19.2kW – 240V at 80A and more likely 16.6kW – 208V at 80A). They aren’t common, but they exist.

20kW is the fastest single phase rate (and also the fastest AC rate allowed in the USA).

43kW is the fastest 3 phase rate (which is not possible with the J1772 connector in the US, only the Type 2 connector in Europe.

You’d better believe it, it works great 🙂

That is correct. 3 AC phases, recombined internally by the car’s onboard charger. It is rather nice.

43kw AC is by law european Standard for fast charging besides DC CCS.
Europe has a spermodern 3-phase grid. Each home (my is 10 years old) has 44kw AC. So I charge my ZOE JUST with 22kw but i have headroom up to 28kw, because heating and so on should run as well.

So a simple home connection to the grid, which costs me 1500€ on time charge handles 44kw AC.

A 43kw AC charge Box costs 650€.

43kw AC is standard in Renault ZOE, with 12.500 units sold in Europe.

CCS is not standard in VW and BMW cars, for BMW it costs 1790€ extra.

“Europe has a supermodern 3-phase grid. Each home (my is 10 years old) has 44kw AC.”

Hmmm. . . Governments/countries investing in their infrastructure? Why didn’t the US think of that?

My house (in the US, 50 years old) has 200 A service. So isn’t that roughly 200 * 220 = 44,000 = 44 kW service? So I could do exactly what zoe-driver is doing, or more since I do not have electric heat. I see no discrepancy on the home infrastructure between the US and Europe on this basis.

3-phase continent-wide is far superior than 1 phase. I can use 3 phase 250A as well. No Problem. The Chinese EV Busses use 3-phase 200A and have integrated chargers onboard.

Technically with 3-phases which are “Phasenverschoben” I can use 400V without the need of an transformer, a single Phase can not.

Tesla uses 3-phase chargers as well, as SMART ED with an Option. Model X will and Mercedes Benz B-Class as well.

1-phase will end when batteries become more than 30-40 kWh capacity.

Oh yeah, I forgot about the 3 phase aspect when I was reading that. It would be nice to have 3 phase grid everywhere, but the vast majority of customers don’t need that much power. That makes it not worth the extra cost.

The solution might be to produce affordable home or standby charger with any AC/DC conversion capability to feed standarized DC at the car they are hook to within available power feeding the unit.
Then you choose CHADEMO or SAE
So if you can feed any amount of KW to this charger, so much would be used to charge your EV.
Et voilà!
Is it too simple?

Some cities have existing DC electric systems that are left over from the 1900’s.

Such as San Fransisco

There are also other places where DC power is at 400 volts and 600volts along with 1500volts. It might be possible to tap into this old systems and use them for DC fast chargers. Not to mention it could raise demand for DC power and give these systems a modern use.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

That’s cute, but gas-station-style charging really only starts to become practical at 250kW IMO, and a kW is a kW is a kW. Plus, frankly, the business model would more likely be slower charging costing _more_ since it takes up the space for longer.

True in the sense that one wouldn’t pull up to this thing and stand next to it while the car charges. But if it was located in front of a Starbucks, one could easily charge up while ordering their latte.

I love the idea of 250kW + charging, and it will mostly likely be here within a decade, BUT today that just isn’t going to happen. My threshold for “fast” is 100kW+. CHAdeMO and CCS can both get to this level, and I would love to see 100kW chargers dotting the landscape (with compatible cars for sale). Combined with 150+ miles range, that would be enough for me to go 100% electric. For many others, it would be good for one of two cars. For the full market, well, we aren’t going to see that kind of market penetration this decade anyway so frankly I’m less concerned about them.

I wounder would they had a percentage chart to the plug station to show the amount of renewable energy in the power. In that my car doesn’t agree with anymore then 20% coal fired power going on it.

Good Ira, although it would have to be a digital real-time meter. What you charge with at noon on a windy day won’t be what you charge with at 10pm!

“(at least France killed Type 3)”

Not completely. There are no vehicles with Type 3 inlet, but many charging stations in France have it. You must bring your own Type 3 to Type 2 cable to plug in and charge your car. In the rest of Europe, the stations have a Type 2 socket, so you would use your own Type 2 to Type 2 cable. Of course, there are stations with captive Type 2 cables also, like the one pictured.

That display should have a real-time kW DC delivery readout too. Then people would understand better about charge tapering.

“All of them are unnatural because this is still the same type of energy provided through electric current”

Err, no… AC and DC currents are very different. While the article correctly states that “in every electric car energy it’s finally fed to battery pack by DC current”, it is critical for the EVSE to understand whether to deliver AC or DC current to the EV.

It’s true that we could have a single plug to do it all, e.g. SAE CCS combo plug, but there are still different leads within the plug for AC vs DC current. And that makes the plug, well, pretty large… think about a quad-nozzle fuel pump that has unleaded regular/mid/premium and diesel all in one handle!