PLUGGING INTO ELECTRIC CARS  car powerplug

Most electric and plug in hybrid-electric cars in New Zealand can be slow charged from a standard 230/240V power outlet, some by 10amp outlets, but most dealers recommend 15amp. A slow charge can be anywhere from say 6 to 12 hours for a full charge depending on the model of car. The cars usually come with their own special cable, standard power point at one end and a specialised socket outlets (the socket that plugs into the car) at the other end.

To reduce charging times to say 3 to 6 hours, higher amperage is required, 32amp (and sometimes 40 amp) may be possible for most cars. 32amp is predicted by some to become the norm in the future. For houses with enough power supply capacity 32amp can be 230/240V single phase. However to improve charging times further and ensure power supply capacity, in some cases 3 phase may be possible. For super fast times of say under 1 hour, an 80amp 3 phase 415V can be used on most vehicles.

For very long range pure electric vehicles like Tesla cars, to achieve reasonable full charge times requires a higher amperage, in fact Tesla's work best with 32amp or 80amp 3 phase outlets.

Higher rated power supplies (particularly 3 phase), for houses or commercial premises, may need proprietary charging stations with built in safety features to provide safe recharging. For charging outside, weatherproof charging stations are also available. Note however, charging stations usually come with their own fitted cable with specialised socket outlets (the socket that plugs into the car) which must be matched to the make of car. There are about 3 basic types of international (Japanese, European, American) standard socket outlet, with variations due to amperage. Of course Tesla have their own unique socket, but an adaptor is apparently available.

Locating the power outlet has it's issues, as you want it reasonably close to the vehicle charge socket. The location of the charge socket on the car varies from model to model, some are at the front, and some are at the side (could be either side) towards the front or back, so it pays to check location and cable lengths. It would probably be best to locate a single power outlet near the front corner of the car, or if possible, future proof with multiple power outlets serving front and side.

So for most electric cars currently available in New Zealand a standard 230/240V 10amp or preferably-15amp power outlet will do for overnight charging. In the future higher amperage like 32amp may become the norm. If your client has an electric car or intends to get one, check the particular model requirements.

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