Frequently asked questions for the Electric Car customer

What is car Charging

a. Hybrid : Powered by an ICE (internal combustion Engine), Battery or both.

Charging via regenerative braking and the ICE generated power.

b. Plug in Hybrid (PHEV) : As per Hybrid yet with an external charging capability

Once pure electric range is utilised, reverts back to hybrid capability without range compromise

c. Extended range EV (E-PHEV) : Vehicle has external charging capability 

An on-board ICE generator charges battery if required, the ICE never drives the axle

d. Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) : Powered solely by a battery charged from an external electricity supply

No ICE, sometimes known as pure electric.

How do I choose my charger

Your charger is something that you need to consider seriously as the charging technology changes from year to year, as manufacturers develop new technology to improve battery life and charging times.

IEC 62196 refers to the charging modes defined in IEC 61851-1 which include:

  • "Mode 1" - slow charging from a household-type socket-outlet
  • "Mode 2" - slow charging from a household-type socket-outlet with an in-cable protection device
  • "Mode 3" - slow or fast charging using a specific EV socket-outlet with control and protection function installed
  • "Mode 4" - fast charging using an external charge

 Mode 1

  • Mode 1 entails the connection of the EV to a standard a.c. mains socket-outlet. Current is limited to 16 A and voltage is limited to 250 V single-phase or 480 V three-phase. Earthing is required.
  • Mode 1 connectors do not have extra control pins as described by IEC 61851-1.
  • In some countries including the USA, Mode 1 charging is prohibited. One problem is that the required earthing is not present in all domestic installations. Mode 2 was developed as a workaround for this.

 Mode 2

  • Mode 2 entails the connection of the EV to a standard a.c. mains socket-outlet using a special cable that has built in control box. The control box ensures, among other things, that current only flows if earth is connected. The Mode 2 connector on the EV end has an IEC 61851-1 control pin.[3] The control box must be in the plug or within 0.3 metres of the plug. The supply side of the cable does not have a control pin.
  • In Mode 2 the current does not exceeding 32 A and the voltage does not exceed 250 V single-phase, 480 V three-phase.
  • A possible setup uses an IEC 60309 connector on the supply end of the cable which is rated at 32 A. The cable interacts with the EV to indicate that 32 A can be drawn
Mode 3

  • Mode 3 entails the connection of the EV to electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) which implements the control pilot functionality.
  • Mode 3 connectors have IEC 61851-1 control and signal pins on both ends of the cable. The charging station socket is non-live if no EV is connected. For compatibility, the 32 A plugs of IEC 61851-1 Mode 2 connectors may be used, while fast charging with higher currents up to 250 A require specialized cables enabling the IEC 61851-1 charging mode.[3] The communication wire between car electronics and charging station allows for an integration into smart grids

Mode 4

  • Mode 4 entails the connection of the EV to a d.c. charger which implements the control pilot functionality.
  • In Mode 4 charging, a.c. mains power is converted in the charging station to d.c. The plug type ensures that only a matching EV can be connected. This mode allows for currents up to 400 A.[3] Mode 4 charging station equipment is generally more expensive than Mode 3 EVSE


What is Load management

Load Management is a solution to allow multiple car charging equipment to be installed at your premises that works within your electrical load capability 

We can use static load management where we use a set value 

Or we can use active load management where we use your over load capabilities with metering at the incoming cables to determine what is being used within your building, this will allow us to determine how much power is available to charge the cars plugged in.

 Contact us for more information 

What is the difference between AC and DC

  • Electrical Current takes two forms: either in an alternating current (AC) or in a direct current (DC)
  • Electricity or "current" is nothing but the movement of electrons through a conductor, like a wire
  • In DC, the electrons flow steadily in a single direction, or "forward"
  • In AC, electrons keep switching directions, sometimes going "forward" and then going "backward”
  • So, rather than oscillating back and forth, DC provides a constant voltage or current.
  • A Battery provides DC electricity, which is generated from a chemical reaction inside of the battery
  • A chemical battery must be supplied DC electricity to charge, so that it gets a constantly positive
  • One directional charge
  • As mains electricity is AC, we must convert it to DC to be able to charge a high-voltage battery

What is an IEC 62196 Mode Type charging

Mode 1: Slow charging from a household type socket outlet. This is no longer a recommended solution to safe charging your vehicle 

Mode 2: This is a another slow charge solution, with an in-line cable protection device, with intelligent communication that sits in-between the car and the power source, which could be a 13A socket, or an IEC 60309 socket

These can still be found supplied with cars for local use, if you have not got a dedicated charger installed.

Mode 3: AC slow or fast charge solution, this uses a specific EV type plug, which uses a control. protection function using on board charging that communicates with the dedicated charge point.

Mode 4: DC charging using an external OFF-BOARD charging unit. 

Car Charging Plug types

There is a recognised standard with in the UK and Europe for charging plugs IEC62196 (International Electro-technical Commission) 

They come several main standards that serve the UK, Europe and the world market market, these being Type One and Type Two Plugs

Type One: SAE J1772/IEC62196-2 (older models)

The SAE J1772-2009 was adopted by the car manufacturers of post-2000 electric vehicles like the third generation of the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf as the early models. The connector became standard equipment on the US-market due to the availability of charging stations with that plug type in the nation's electric vehicle network (with the help of funding such as ChargePoint America program drawing grants from provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act).

The European versions were equipped with a SAE J1772-2009 inlet as well until the automotive industry settled on the IEC Type 2 "Mennekes" connector as the standard inlet - since all IEC connectors use the same SAE J1772 signaling protocol the car manufacturers are selling cars with either a SAE J1772-2009 inlet or an IEC Type 2 inlet depending on the market. There are also (passive) adapters available that can convert J1772-2009 to IEC Type 2 and vice versa. The only difference is that most European versions have an on-board charger that can take advantage of three-phase electric power with higher voltage and current limits even for the same basic electric vehicle model (such as Chevrolet Volt / Opel Ampera).

Type Two: VDE-AR-E 2623-2-2EC

The connector manufacturer Mennekes had developed a series of 60309-based connectors that were enhanced with additional signal pins – these "CEEplus" connectors have been used for charging of electric vehicles since the late 1990s.

With the resolution of the IEC 61851-1:2001 control pilot function (aligned with the SAE J1772:2001 proposal) the CEEplus connectors were replacing the earlier Marechal couplers (MAEVA / 4 pin / 32 A) as the standard for electric vehicle charging. When Volkswagen promoted its plans for electric mobility Alois Mennekes contacted Martin Winterkorn in 2008 to learn about the requirements of the charging equipment connectors.

Based on requirement of the industry led by utility RWE and car maker Daimler a new connector was derived by Mennekes. The state of charging systems along with the proposed new connector were presented at the start of 2009.

This new connector would later be accepted as the standard connector by other car makers and utilities for their field tests in Europe.

This choice was supported by the Franco-German joint council on E-mobility in 2009.

The proposal is based on the observation that standard IEC 60309 plugs are rather bulky (diameter 68 mm / 16 A to 83 mm / 125 A) for higher current. To ensure easy handling by consumers the plugs were made smaller (diameter 55 mm) and flattened on one side (physical protection against polarity reversal).

Unlike the Yazaki connector, however, there is no latch, meaning consumers have no exact feedback that the connector is properly inserted. The lack of a latch also puts unnecessary strain on any locking mechanism.

Signal Pins:

The function of the signal pins had been defined in SAE J1772-2001 and it had been added to IEC 61851. All plug types of IEC 62196-2 use two additional signals from that standard – the control pilot CP (pin 4) and proximity pilot PP (pin 5) are added to the normal electricity pins for live wires (pin 1, pin 2) and neutral (pin 3) named N (neutral) and PE (protective earth).

The charging station will send a 1000 Hertz square wave on the contact pilot CP that is connected back to the protected earth PE on the side of the vehicle by means of a resistor and a diode.

The live wires of public charging stations will always be dead if the CP-PE circuit is open although the standard allows a charging current as in Mode 1 (maximum 16 Ampere).

If the circuit is closed then the charging station can also test the protective earth to be functional.

The vehicle can request a charging state by setting a resistor – using 2700 Ohm a Mode 3 compatible vehicle is announced ("vehicle detected") which does not require charging. Switching to 880 Ohm the vehicle is "ready" to be charged and switching to 240 Ohm the vehicle requests "with ventilation" charging which does not have an effect outdoors but the charging current will be switched off indoors if no ventilation is available.

The charging station can use the wave signal to describe the maximum current that is available from the charging station with the help of pulse width modulation: a 16% PWM is a 10 A maximum, a 25% PWM is a 16 A maximum, a 50% PWM is a 32 A maximum and a 90% PWM flags a fast charge option

What does it cost to get a car charger installed

A car charger installation cost can depend on many factors.

In the commercial market where there is options for multiple site locations, power is key.

Power if not available can restrict the amount of charging availability within the site, and if many chargers are required, then a load management system will be required to distribute power as required across the many chargers.

In the domestic market, where power is also restricted we are limited and and so is the choice without a large investment, which is not truly required as the car can be charged overnight with no major rush.

So installation cost will depend on the following factors:

  • What charge rate you want to achieve
  • how far the charger is from the electrical source
  • what the condition of your electrical installation is currently in
  • Ground works, these can be very costly, always best to think on this when deciding on a location


Can I get any help towards this cost

The Government dept OLEV (Office for Low Emission Vehicles) has a limited fund which will help pay towards the home charger unit

more detail can be found: OLEV Grants


Frequently asked Questions for the car mechanic

What is An Arc Flash

An arc flash is the light and heat produced from an electric arc supplied with sufficient electrical energy to cause substantial damage, harm, fire, or injury. Electrical arcs experience negative incremental resistance, which causes the electrical resistance to decrease as the arc temperature increases. Therefore, as the arc develops and gets hotter the resistance drops, drawing more and more current (runaway) until some part of the system melts, trips, or evaporates, providing enough distance to break the circuit and extinguish the arc.[1] Electrical arcs, when well controlled and fed by limited energy, produce very bright light, and are used in arc lamps (enclosed, or with open electrodes), for welding, plasma cutting, and other industrial applications. Welding arcs can easily turn steel into a liquid with an average of only 24 DC volts. When an uncontrolled arc forms at high voltages, and especially where large supply-wires or high-amperage conductors are used, arc flashes can produce deafening noises, supersonic concussive-forces, super-heated shrapnel, temperatures far greater than the Sun's surface, and intense, high-energy radiation capable of vaporizing nearby materials.

Arc flash temperatures can reach or exceed 35,000 °F (19,400 °C) at the arc terminals.[2] The massive energy released in the fault rapidly vaporizes the metal conductors involved, blasting molten metal and expanding plasma outward with extraordinary force.[2] A typical arc flash incident can be inconsequential but could conceivably easily produce a more severe explosion (see calculation below). The result of the violent event can cause destruction of equipment involved, fire, and injury not only to an electrical worker but also to bystanders. During the arc flash, electrical energy vaporizes the metal, which changes from solid state to gas vapor, expanding it with explosive force. For example, when copper vaporizes it suddenly expands by a factor of 67,000 times in volume.[3]

In addition to the explosive blast, called the arc blast of such a fault, destruction also arises from the intense radiant heat produced by the arc. The metal plasma arc produces tremendous amounts of light energy from far infrared to ultraviolet. Surfaces of nearby objects, including people, absorb this energy and are instantly heated to vaporizing temperatures. The effects of this can be seen on adjacent walls and equipment - they are often ablated and eroded from the radiant effects.

What is Arc Clothing

Any amount of heat delivered within a long enough time interval will have no impact on the fabrics' integrity while a limited amount of heat delivered within short enough time interval may ignite or melt the fabric.[9] With recent increased awareness of the dangers of arc flash, there have been many companies that offer arc flash personal protective equipment (PPE). The materials are tested for their arc rating. The arc rating is the maximum incident energy resistance demonstrated by a material prior to breakopen (a hole in the material) or necessary to pass through and cause with 50% probability the onset of a second degree burn.[10] Arc rating is normally expressed in cal/cm² (or small calories of heat energy per square centimeter). The tests for determining arc rating are defined in ASTM F1506 Standard Performance Specification for Flame Resistant Textile Materials for Wearing Apparel for Use by Electrical Workers Exposed to Momentary Electric Arc and Related Thermal Hazards.

Selection of appropriate PPE, given a certain task to be performed, is normally handled in one of two possible ways. The first method is to consult a hazard category classification table, like that found in NFPA 70E[11] Table 130.7(C)(15)(a) lists a number of typical electrical tasks by various voltage levels and recommends the category of PPE that should be worn. For example, when working on 600 V switchgear and performing a removal of bolted covers to expose bare, energized parts, the table recommends a Category 3 Protective Clothing System. This Category 3 system corresponds to an ensemble of PPE that together offers protection up to 25 cal/cm² (105 J/cm² or 1.05 MJ/m²). The minimum rating of PPE necessary for any category is the maximum available energy for that category. For example, a Category 3 arc-flash hazard requires PPE rated for no less than 25 cal/cm² (1.05 MJ/m²).

The second method of selecting PPE is to perform an arc flash hazard calculation to determine the available incident arc energy. IEEE 1584 provides a guide to perform these calculations given that the maximum fault current, duration of faults, and other general equipment information is known. Once the incident energy is calculated the appropriate ensemble of PPE that offers protection greater than the energy available can be selected.

PPE provides protection after an arc flash incident has occurred and should be viewed as the last line of protection. Reducing the frequency and severity of incidents should be the first option and this can be achieved through a complete arc flash hazard assessment and through the application of technology such as high-resistance grounding which has been proven to reduce the frequency and severity of incidents.

Can ARCS travel over space

The radiant energy released by an electric arc is capable of permanently injuring or killing a human being at distances of up to 20 feet (6.1 m).[13] The distance from an arc flash source within which an unprotected person has a 50% chance of receiving a second degree burn is referred to as the "flash protection boundary".

The incident energy of 1.2 cal/cm^2 on a bare skin was selected in solving the equation for the arc flash boundary in IEEE 1584.[14] The IEEE 1584 arc flash boundary equations can also be used to calculate the arc flash boundaries with boundary energy other than 1.2 cal/cm^2 such as onset to 2nd degree burn energy.[15] Those conducting flash hazard analyses must consider this boundary, and then must determine what PPE should be worn within the flash protection boundary.

Remote operators or robots can be used to perform activities that have a high risk for arc flash incidents, such as inserting draw-out circuit breakers on a live electrical bus. Remote racking systems are available which keep the operator outside the arc flash hazard zone.

 Frequently Asked Questions about buying from our site

What is the difference between Retail and Trade

Retail customers are your personnel non business customers, who pay VAT on purchases directly and have consumer rights when purchasing goods.

You can look at these rights here: ConsumerRightsAct-QA  

You can also look at some examples here: cra2015-practicalexamples

Trade customers are  buyers who are business based and are able to re-sell and install to third party or use for their business applications.

As a Trade Customer what do I get

If you are a business customer you can apply for a trade account through our site

You will have a credit check carried out, and if successful a credit limit will be applied to your account where you will have 30-days from end of current month to pay for your goods.

You will also have access to bulk buying discounts, please ask for details.

I am a Retail customer, can I apply for a Trade account

Afraid not, you can only buy goods through the retail portal.

By continuing to use the site you agree to our privacy & cookies policy