Sunday, March 26, 2023

EV Ownership: Divided by a Common Language (US vs UK)

Before I go into ownership experience and costs, I thought it would be helpful to lay some groundwork for terminology.

Browsing facebook, forums, youtube, twitter, etc. one begins to see that there is a general confusion between people who DO understand the subject matter, simply because they live in different countries. I want to address this before diving into helping those who have no background in EVs understand the concepts and to provide a reference generally.

The biggest points of confusion? What is 'fast charging' and what do we call various levels (or speeds) or AC charging. 

Additionally, it's worth pointing out that in North America, all chargers come WITH a tethered cable. In Europe, AC chargers may come with or without, leading to tethered (with cable) and untethered (without cable, bring your own) options. DC charging in Europe always has the cable tethered to the charger, same as in North America.

Here's a handy chart that I've created as a basic explanation. The specifics do vary slightly by country.

I've also ignored Tesla entirely: for the simple reason that they aren't consistent globally and are an exception to the rest of the industry. Tesla use a proprietary plug in North America, but use a modified Type 2 plug on older vehicles in Europe, shifting to CCS2 for newer Model 3/7 vehicles. As a result, there are 3 different types of plugs that Tesla may use for AC or DC charging and there may be more than one implementation within a market. Furthermore Tesla use a single wire can (SWCAN) communication protocol, rather than J1772, CHAdeMO, or CCS (Homeplug Green Phy, aka Powerline Ethernet), although their AC chargers can (if configured correctly) fall back onto J1772.

So let's get started here: portable charging:

North America

  • 120 volts AC 60 hz
  • 8-15 amps
  • up to 2 kW
  • This cable probably came with your car and can be plugged into an ordinary wall socket/receptacle. 
  • J1772 connector (Type 1)
  • Known as 'Level 1' 

United Kingdom

  • 230 volts AC +/- 15% (realistically 240-245v) 50 hz 
  •  8-10 amps (if you use a wall socket at 13 amps, prepare to melt your plug)
  • 1.8-3 kW
  • Connector
    • Usually Type 2 Connector (with equivalent to J1772 signalling)
    • Sometimes J1772 connector (Type 1)
  • Known as a 'Granny Cable'
You'll notice that using a granny cable in the UK is not dissimilar from Level 2 speeds in North America. That's why there is a continual debate as to whether or not people should just charge off a wall socket for convenience and cost, or if a dedicated hard-wired charger is a safety requirement.

Moving on to AC charging with fixed, wall or post mounted chargers:

North America

  • 220 volts 60 hz
  • 16-80 amps
  • Single phase
  • J1772 connector (Type 1)
  • 3-20 kW
  • Known as 'Level 2'

United Kingdom 

AC charging in the UK is more complicated, because several vehicles can use 3-phase charging. This includes Tesla, Renault, Vauxhaul, etc. When this happens, more power can be delivered with lower amps, which is why when we get to our higher speed charging, there will be an AC option alongside DC.

  •  230 volts AC +/- 15% (realistically 240-245v) 50 hz
  • 16-32 amps (it's unusual to have a considerably higher amp rating... usually 11kW+ is 3 phase)
  • Single or Three Phase AC
  • Connector
    • Usually Type 2 Connector (with equivalent to J1772 signalling)
    • Sometimes J1772 connector (Type 1)
  • Known as 'Slow Charging' if less than 6 kW (typically below 25 amps), 'Fast charging if 7kW or faster (26-32 kW)
The fastest, most rapid charging speeds:

North America

  • 350-1000+ volts DC
  • 25-500+ amps (can vary by standard)
  • CCS1 or CHAdeMO
  • Known as 'Fast charging', 'DCFC', 'DC Fast Charging', or 'Level 3'

United Kingdom 

There's a slight AC exception in this category, that essentially caters to 1 vehicle: Renault Zoe.

    • 230 volts AC +/- 15% (realistically 240-245v) 50 hz
    • Three phase
    • 64 amps
    • 43 kW
    • Type-2 Connector
    • Known as 'Rapid AC Charging'
    Most people would use a DC option, however!
    • 350-1000+ volts DC
    • 25-500+ amps (can vary by standard)
    • CCS2 or CHAdeMO
    • Known as 'Rapid Charging', 'Ultra Rapid Charging' (if over 100kW), 'DC charging'

    Bonus terms!
    • A place to stop at the side of a motorway or highway
      • North America: Rest Stop
      • United Kingdom: Motorway Services Area (MSA)
    • A physical brake to keep car from moving when parked
      • North America: Emergency Brake
      • United Kingdom: Hand Brake

    No comments:

    Post a Comment