Charging Your Electric Car At Home: What You Need To Know

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Thread: Charging Your Electric Car At Home: What You Need To Know

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    Charging Your Electric Car At Home: What You Need To Know

    Charging Your Electric Car At Home: What You Need To Know
    By Antony Ingram - allCarselectric.com
    August 13th, 2010


    One of the most important aspects of electric-car ownership might not be how they drive, or how far you'll go on a charge, but how you'll actually charge it in the first place.

    That's why we asked "What comes first, the car or the charger?", with many potential EV owners waiting for a public charging network to appear so they can be sure they'll have somewhere to recharge...

    So how will you be charging your own EV? Here we concentrate on home charging - as this will be the place the majority of charging will occur.


    Level 1: 120-Volt

    There will be three levels of charging. The most basic, level 1, will be the typical 120-volt home system that doesn't necessarily require any special hardware. In essence, your EV can be plugged straight into a normal three-prong wall outlet using a special charging cord.

    Every home will have access to such an outlet and it won't need any special installation, nor any electrical safety check. You can hook up your EV and go.

    What level 1 charging won't offer is a particularly fast charge. The typical estimate for a car like the 2011 Nissan Leaf is around 8 to 12 hours, which may just about give you 100-percent recharge if you plug in directly after work in the afternoon and don't set off too early the next morning...


    Level 2: 240-Volt

    If you want a quicker charge--and many potential EV owners probably come under this category--then a level 2 charger will likely be for you.

    Level 2 runs at 240 volts and around 30 amps, cutting the level 1 charge time in half as a result. A 4-6 hour charge time becomes suitable for a great many more applications, including commercial as well as personal residential use.

    For home usage, you'll have to get a charging system installed by a professional, and the installation will then need to be tested for electrical safety by your local authority.

    Steve Schey, director of stakeholder services at ECOtality, tells us that the contractor charged with the installation will request a permit, and once it is granted they will complete the installation, with inspection and approval to follow before you can use the charge point.

    Residential level 2 chargers will all be wall-mounted - inside your garage or car port, for example. Some customers will be lucky enough to have one installed for them: GM, for example, will soon announce their partner in a home-charging setup program. Clean energy company ECOtality will provide 8,300 free level 2 chargers as part of a large study into electric vehicle usage trends.

    We asked the company representatives in the EDTA conference how much customers should expect to pay to get a level 2 charger installed in their homes. Steve Schey told us the chargers they offer retail at $1,195 (you can find more about these on their charging network website blinknetwork.com)...


    Level 3: High voltage

    The quickest charge available at the moment is through a level 3 fast charger. These will largely be used in locations where a quick charge time is of the essence, such as gas stations, rest stops and malls.

    A fast charger running on 50 to 500 Volt DC current at over 100 Amperes can provide 80 percent charge in as little as 15-30 minutes. This should allow you to go on a longer journey with minimum disruption, and time comfort breaks with a quick recharge.

    Most current EVs will be fast-charge compatible, though it's worth noting that the 2011 Chevy Volt isn't yet one of those cars. You'd be hard pressed to view this as a bad thing, though, given that the Volt uses a range-extending gasoline engine to provide its full range.

    We aren't aware what a level 3 charger for the home might cost you, but expect it to be significantly more than the cost of a level 2 charger...


    More at link: http://www.allcarselectric.com/blog/...u-need-to-know
    ----------------------

    From a quasi-blog, but well written, interesting, and informative IMO.
    Last edited by 2648562; 08-13-2010 at 04:05 PM.

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    Re: Charging Your Electric Car At Home: What You Need To Know

    Very interesting. Thanks for posting.

    I really want to consider a pre-owned Model S in the years ahead by the long periods between charging and longevity concerns make me wonder (not to mention the company hasn't built the car yet).

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    Re: Charging Your Electric Car At Home: What You Need To Know

    The problem that this guy doesn't understand is that no current battery technology allows for a level 3 fast charge. You simply cannot just charge a battery faster and faster without a major improvement in technology. Li-chemistry is even more finicky about being charged too fast and will quickly create a very nasty, toxic fire.

    Certainly this aspect of quicker charging batteries will help all electric vehicles become more mainstream and allow Leaf type vehicles to be the only car for more and more people but right now we aren't even close and this guy makes it almost seem like it's available now.

    I hope each manufacturer has a built in "safety" so it will only allow their battery to charge at what they know is a safe rate for their particular battery no matter how powerful the actual charger is otherwise this will be an unmitigated disaster.
    Last edited by big swede; 08-13-2010 at 04:32 PM.

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    Re: Charging Your Electric Car At Home: What You Need To Know

    Quote Originally Posted by big swede View Post
    The problem that this guy doesn't understand is that no current battery technology allows for a level 3 fast charge. You simply cannot just charge a battery faster and faster without a major improvement in technology. Li-chemistry is even more finicky about being charged too fast and will quickly create a very nasty, toxic fire.

    Certainly this aspect of quicker charging batteries will help all electric vehicles become more mainstream and allow Leaf type vehicles to be the only car for more and more people but right now we aren't even close and this guy makes it almost seem like it's available now.
    Big Swede, I did some quick research (Googling) and this is what I came up with:

    http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-13746_7-20011094-48.html

    http://www.goodcleantech.com/2010/06..._charger_f.php

    I've only recently become remotely interested in electric cars, and I could be very, very wrong, but it appears the solution will be here in no time. If I've misinterpreted anything please let me know.

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    Re: Charging Your Electric Car At Home: What You Need To Know

    Quote Originally Posted by 2648562 View Post
    Big Swede, I did some quick research (Googling) and this is what I came up with:

    http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-13746_7-20011094-48.html

    http://www.goodcleantech.com/2010/06..._charger_f.php

    I've only recently become remotely interested in electric cars, and I could be very, very wrong, but it appears the solution will be here in no time. If I've misinterpreted anything please let me know.
    The solution definitely will be here no question about it because the amount of money going into battery technology compared to even 3-4 years ago is staggering. My only problem with the article is he kind of words it like you can do it now with slight hints of "not yet".

    I think what he's really getting at is the future will have electric cars that will charge at high powered charging stations across the country which is an obvious truth. This will make purely electric cars a viable option to a majority of the population instead of a minority.

    The problem is that neither the infrastructure nor the battery technology is there to make this a possibility yet. No one is going to build these high powered charging stations until there is a battery that can take these high level 3 charges. Once a battery technology exists that can handle it then it will be a race to get these stations up and going all across the country.

    Even the article admits that when you charge at five times the rate, you get 25 times the heating, and heat is the enemy to these very expensive lithium ion batteries. Until that's solved you will need extended range electric vehicles like the Volt for most of the population that is interested in electric vehicles.

    It is very exciting that's for sure but we are at the proverbial tip of the iceberg in all of this, no doubt about it.
    Last edited by big swede; 08-13-2010 at 08:01 PM.

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    Re: Charging Your Electric Car At Home: What You Need To Know

    Thanks much for that informative post. I think the next ten years will be exciting for people into cars as we enter a whole new paradigm.
    "The only normal people are the ones you don't know well". unknown


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    Re: Charging Your Electric Car At Home: What You Need To Know

    Even with the level 3 stations, when that is feasable and the batteries can handle it, who wants to spend 30 mins or more at a gas ( charging) station? I think the range extender is a better alternative.

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    Re: Charging Your Electric Car At Home: What You Need To Know

    Quote Originally Posted by Ambalanche View Post
    Even with the level 3 stations, when that is feasable and the batteries can handle it, who wants to spend 30 mins or more at a gas ( charging) station? I think the range extender is a better alternative.
    The thing about electricity is it need not be limited to gas stations. Getting groceries? Going to the mall? Going to see a movie? How about dinner at a restaurant? All potential plug-in opportunities.
    Following the band.

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    Re: Charging Your Electric Car At Home: What You Need To Know

    The above information on the cost of level II 220/240 V installation is exaggerated! In California, any Certified Electrician can install a circuit box for around $200.00 dollars. Additionally, power companies such as SC Edison are installing new Smart Grid Meters which will monitor and control recharging cycles. Most of the newer homes (such as mine) were pre-wired for electrical appliances, like Cook tops, Air Conditioning, Electric Dryers, many have plug ins, adjacent to the garage. If an electric car is parked there, it can be connected, Today!

    However, if your home was built during America's Founding, and it is unimproved, forget the thought of an Electric Car, fix your home, or move! Renovation will require complete rewiring, which will cost a fortune.

    My regular driver the 98 STS is only driven every 2 or so days, and for about 5-20 miles at a time, therefore the likelihood I would run out of power while driving could only happen if there was a malfunction! While I will not purchase a first generation EV, perhaps by 2015 when technology has increased the range and shortened the recharging time, who knows? I could probably be satisfied with a quality Hybrid.


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    Re: Charging Your Electric Car At Home: What You Need To Know

    Quote Originally Posted by 2648562 View Post
    Charging Your Electric Car At Home: What You Need To Know By Antony Ingram - allCarselectric.com
    August 13th, 2010


    Level 1: 120-Volt

    There will be three levels of charging. The most basic, level 1, will be the typical 120-volt home system that doesn't necessarily require any special hardware. ...

    What level 1 charging won't offer is a particularly fast charge. The typical estimate for a car like the 2011 Nissan Leaf is around 8 to 12 hours, which may just about give you 100-percent recharge if you plug in directly after work in the afternoon and don't set off too early the next morning ...


    Level 2: 240-Volt

    If you want a quicker charge--and many potential EV owners probably come under this category--then a level 2 charger will likely be for you.

    Level 2 runs at 240 volts and around 30 amps, cutting the level 1 charge time in half as a result. A 4-6 hour charge time becomes suitable for a great many more applications, including commercial as well as personal residential use.

    ...

    Level 3: High voltage

    The quickest charge available at the moment is through a level 3 fast charger. ...

    A fast charger running on 50 to 500 Volt DC current at over 100 Amperes can provide 80 percent charge in as little as 15-30 minutes. This should allow you to go on a longer journey with minimum disruption, and time comfort breaks with a quick recharge.
    I see no fundamental problem with what Antony Ingram presented in his article.

    There is one point that most seem to overlook however ... "faster/higher recharge rates" can be predicted to be less efficient.

    IF for no other reason than I^2xR losses! There is a HUGE difference in resistive losses between 15 Amps and 100 Amps ... particularly when the current (I) is "squared" ... 225 to 10k!

    The second problem with rapid recharging is battery-pack heating during recharge.

    Regardless, 120 VAC 20 Amps "up converted" to say 480 VDC and 5 Amps for a roughly 2.5 kW recharge rate is radically different than 240 VAC, 30 Amps driving 480 VDC 15 Amps (7.2 kW) or 480 VDC at whatever current needed to accomplish an 80% charge in less than an hour is going to generate HEAT in the battery-pack ranging from a little over a LONG period of time to VERY LARGE AMOUNTS of heat over a VERY SHORT PERIOD of Time!

    That heat (thermal loss) is "lost/non-recoverable" energy, i.e., a loss in overall system efficiency ... that will mean MORE kWh/mile will have to be PURCHASED FROM the GRID for RAPID CHARGING.

    This SHOUTS to me that ALL plug-in vehicles that potentially use RAPID CHARGE capability REQUIRE an INDUSTRY WIDE STANDARDIZED "battery pack temperature monitoring and CONTROL interface/system to prevent battery pack overheat, damage, and/or fire.

    I just hope ALL parties have taken this in to consideration for their designs ...

    What if the Leaf, Volt, and Mini-E all required different public rapid chargers?

    JMO ....

    You will have to draw your own conclusions about what this means to the plug-in technologies.
    Last edited by 44 mpg by 2010; 08-16-2010 at 02:30 AM.
    It is important what WE use as our "moral compass" and ...
    the "measuring stick" chosen for judging progress/success as well.


    44 mpg by 2010 ... 2013?

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    Re: Charging Your Electric Car At Home: What You Need To Know

    I assume the #2 220V charge requires a "charger" installed NOT simply a 220V "dryer" plug installed in your garage and if so hopefully the industry HAS standardized with the E-transit/leaf/iMiev/MiniE/volt/prius plug in/ BYD E6 all in 2-4 years

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    Re: Charging Your Electric Car At Home: What You Need To Know

    Quote Originally Posted by richmond2000 View Post
    I assume the #2 220V charge requires a "charger" installed NOT simply a 220V "dryer" plug installed in your garage and if so hopefully the industry HAS standardized with the E-transit/leaf/iMiev/MiniE/volt/prius plug in/ BYD E6 all in 2-4 years
    No! No charger required for 110/220V, just 440V DC.

    Here's the video which will give the information if needed.




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    Re: Charging Your Electric Car At Home: What You Need To Know

    Quote Originally Posted by richmond2000 View Post
    I assume the #2 220V charge requires a "charger" installed NOT simply a 220V "dryer" plug installed in your garage and if so hopefully the industry HAS standardized with the E-transit/leaf/iMiev/MiniE/volt/prius plug in/ BYD E6 all in 2-4 years
    I am glad someone sees the problem in the absence of a STANDARDIZED 220 VAC 30 Amp "home charging system". UNIQUE for each make AND MODEL?

    IF ... you think that is bad ... can you imagine what a mess "public rapid charging" systems will be?

    How about hotels/motels?

    What if a friend drops over with their EV and needs to "top-off" before heading home?

    WITHOUT INTERNATIONALLY STANDARDIZED charging systems ... thing are going to get out of control very quickly!!!

    Just something to think about ...
    It is important what WE use as our "moral compass" and ...
    the "measuring stick" chosen for judging progress/success as well.


    44 mpg by 2010 ... 2013?

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    Re: Charging Your Electric Car At Home: What You Need To Know

    Quote Originally Posted by 44 mpg by 2010 View Post
    There is one point that most seem to overlook however ... "faster/higher recharge rates" can be predicted to be less efficient.

    ...

    That heat (thermal loss) is "lost/non-recoverable" energy, i.e., a loss in overall system efficiency ... that will mean MORE kWh/mile will have to be PURCHASED FROM the GRID for RAPID CHARGING.
    given that that were an industry charging standard, in your opinion, how would this compare to the engine heat loss, other engine energy loss, and fueling loss (spills, evaporation, etc.) of gasoline engines?
    Last edited by khefer; 08-16-2010 at 12:30 PM.

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    Re: Charging Your Electric Car At Home: What You Need To Know

    Quote Originally Posted by khefer View Post
    given that that were an industry charging standard, in your opinion, how would this compare to the engine heat loss, other engine energy loss, and fueling loss (spills, evaporation, etc.) of gasoline engines?
    EXCELLENT QUESTION!!!

    At this point there are FAR TOO MANY UNKNOWN variables!

    Model Specific
    • recharge "grid" demand/mile
    • vehicle thermal losses during recharge
    • how recharge rate influences thermal losses
    • charger technology, ultimate design, and execution
    • to name a few


    IF you want a really rough guess ...

    I suspect that "trickle charging" results will be roughly the following:

    Energy consumed (released) Btu/mile = HEAT = thermal pollution?
    note: 1 Btu raises 1 pound of water 1° F

    = 3420 --- Volt with 50% coal & 25% NG/mile (12.5 kWh/40 miles grid demand)

    = 2800 --- Astra * http://www.vcacarfueldata.org.uk/sea...s.asp?id=24330

    = 3111 --- Insignia (Regal?) * http://www.vcacarfueldata.org.uk/sea...s.asp?id=24829

    = 3500 --- S-Max (a moderate sized SUV?)
    http://www.vcacarfueldata.org.uk/sea...s.asp?id=25604

    = 2211 --- Fiesta * http://www.vcacarfueldata.org.uk/sea...s.asp?id=25511

    = 2261 --- Focus * http://www.vcacarfueldata.org.uk/sea...s.asp?id=25545

    = 6222 --- average US light vehicle in 2008 at 22.5 mpg combined (Monroney)

    = 4999 --- predicted average for 2016 US CAFE compliant fleet at average 28 mpg combined (Monroney)

    RAPID CHARGING could potentially increase plug-in grid demand kWh/mile ... 20% ... OR ... more ...

    A great deal more information/data is needed before that will be general known/understood even by those currently working on these technologies.

    Why do you think DTE is providing "smart chargers" to some early plug-in adopters?

    JMO ...
    It is important what WE use as our "moral compass" and ...
    the "measuring stick" chosen for judging progress/success as well.


    44 mpg by 2010 ... 2013?

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