It is inevitable that electric cars are starting to become part of the transport landscape. More and more automakers are including electric vehicles as part of their car fleets. The main drawback of electric cars is that it takes forever to charge and only a short and sweet ride until the next recharge.
If the electric car was charged using a 120-volt circuit, named as Level 1 charging, is very slow. For a Volt to be fully charged, it takes ten hours to charge the batteries. As for the Leaf, with its larger capacity battery, needs twenty hours to fully charge. A Level 1 charge is best for hybrids with its smaller battery. The next level is called Level 2 charging, which uses a 240-volt circuit and the charging cable is hard-wired to a charging station and the charger is built into the car. These chargers use the SAE J1772 connection.
This is the main problem that electric vehicles have and the car designers are looking for ways to give the electric car boosts in charging. The nearest to the best design is the use of a direct current fast charger for the Nissan Leaf that is able to refill the battery to 80 percent capacity in half an hour. Other carmakers have their own design, which makes the problem all the more complicated.
Thus, the lack of a common or universal design for fast charging points for electric vehicles is the greater issue. Even an agreement on a single design for an electrical connector has been subject to much debate. The most common designs in the market today are developed using the Japanese design, which are used by Nissan, Mitsubishi and Subaru in cooperation with Tokyo Electric Power.
The design is called Chademo, which is Japanese for “charge and move”. The design uses a connector that is very differently designed from the ones in use in most electric cars. Thus, with a Chademo compatible electric vehicle such as the Nissan Leaf, it would require two different sockets to charge the batteries.
Most common electric cars can be recharged to a common 120-volt household electrical outlet overnight. Electric cars have a standardized charging cable that has many safety features. One of them would be the box control in the car which, once turned on, would allow electricity to flow through the cord to the car. Another feature would be a GFCI, or ground fault circuit interrupter, which signals the vehicle when the cable is connected to the charger. This system makes it impossible for the electric vehicle to drive off while connected.
The Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Volt, including many others that may come after them, would be using the 120-volt cords that are designed to the SAE J1772 standard. This standard was instituted through the work of SAE International, which is a consortium of scientists and vehicle engineers that worked in the development of the design specifications for the J1772 standard. The group is composed of 150 carmakers, electrical equipment makers and utility operators. There are other groups that work on these standards, such as the American National Standards Institute.