Our quick guide to EV charging

March 22, 2018

As you all know, Electric Vehicles contain a Lithium Ion high power battery. While you can safely charge using a 3 pin plug, it is recommended that you install a certified EV charger. This is because care is needed in charging this battery pack as is contains a huge amount of energy and has specific charging requirements. EV chargers are designed to do this properly and safely.

 

The amount of energy required by an EV is slightly more than the battery capacity due to some losses in charging. For domestic use there are two charging rates 16 amp and 32 amp. Each car has different charging capabilities, but generally PHEV's can only charge at 16 amp, whereas most BEV's can utilise the full 32 amp. The ESB has recommended that for the average home, installing a 16 amp charger would be best. To use the higher charger rates (32 amp), a priority device may need to be installed. This switch ensures only one high power device is active at any one time. For example, if you have an electric shower you may need a priority device.

 

When examining a home for an EV charger installation there are a few factors to be considered such as; the position of the main distribution panel, the wiring route to the charger and the protection circuitry for the device. The rules governing electrical installations is based on national standards which were updated in 2015. The latest update requires mechanical protection for wiring such as needed in installing an EV Charger. Our electricians can advise on this (check out our previous blog post - "Which EV Charger is best for me?).

 

Things to check :

  • Where the main panel is located

  • State of the house wiring

  • Path for the wiring

  • Location of charger (access, safety)

  • Type of vehicle (affect duration of charge)

  • Operation of Charger

 

Using a charger is straightforward, and the operation manuals will guide you through any issues. Chargers are in standby mode initially, usually indicated by a blue light. A sensor for cable presence triggers the charger to life. The Vehicle and charger then communicate to each other to ensure the current for the vehicle, cables, charger are all aligned. Then the electric contractor closes and charging begins. The light will turn to green to indicate correct operation.

 

If anything is deemed not right, the charger light will flash red. This can be from many sources, electrical transients, cable being pulled without switching off the charge or a failure inside. Resetting the unit will show whether there is a glitch or something more serious. The cables are locked in position when connected to a charger and a pin holds the cable. Forcing the cable out will break or damage this lock and is to be avoided.

 

If you have any other questions, please do get in contact!

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