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84 posts

Master Geek
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# 210398 25-Mar-2017 22:25
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I'm a bit confused about how a Leaf should be charged. It seems that they come with some kind of "travel pack" charger that is supposed to be plugged into a normal socket, but apparently this is not the best thing to do on a permanent basis, and a special home charging point needs to be installed?

 

I'm also a bit confused on whether these NZ "travel pack" chargers are legit... Dealers say that their cars come with a NZ charger, but are these safe with respect to NZ standards? I've had one dealer saying that most must be dodgy and he's the only person he knows supplying legit safety-checked chargers. Another (dodgy?) dealer showed me an adapter that fits into both sockets of a double wall-socket (and this charger had a larger earth pin, or something?). I saw a nice Leaf today that I would probably like to buy, except it doesn't have a NZ charger, and it seems there might be a few weeks wait to obtain one.

 

So... Leaf owners of NZ... How are you charging your vehicles? Is it safe?

 

I'm in Christchurch.


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5473 posts

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  # 1747870 26-Mar-2017 08:16
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An adapter that plugs into 2 power outlets will almost certainly allow the pins on one plug to be live when only one plug is connected - extremely dangerous. It also doesn't prevent (and probably increases) the chances of the actual circuit being overloaded, assuming you plug both into the same circuit. If each plug was connected to a different circuit, then you could back feed a circuit whose overload protection had disconnected it, causing the circuit to be live again. Imagine if the circuits were on different phases.

 

That device seems dangerous. I'm sure @gregmcc can offer more, but I wouldn't go near it, and the dealer shouldn't be offering such a thing for sale.

 

Remember with an EV, the charger is built into the car, not external. The LEAFs have a single phase charger with a maximum current draw of either 16A (3.3kW) or 32A (6.6kW). Other EV's may have 3 phase chargers (BMW i3 & Renault Zoe, but not 100% certain?), but will also charge (slower) from a single phase connection.

 

The EVSE (charging cable) is essentially a cable to plug the car into the mains AC supply that has some smarts. The smarts tell the charger in the car what supply capacity is available (number of phases, and current per phase) as well as some safety interlock circuitry to prevent things being live until the car is properly connected.

 

In the OP's case, it is the EVSE that you are looking at.

 

It is important that the EVSE you have is compatible with the car (kinda obvious!), and will generally have either a type 1 (single phase, used on the LEAF) or type 2 (single or three phase) plug for the car end. EVSEs advertising up to 10A can be used in theory from a standard power point, however given they draw so much power for a long period of time that power point should be in good mechanical condition, and fed from a suitable circuit to prevent overheating. The ones that draw 6-8 amps would provide more of  a safety margin, at the expense of increased charging time. A plug in EVSE up to 16amps are often fitted with a blue caravan (commando) plug, and a matching caravan outlet fitted to the charging area.

 

The next step up is a permanent installation of a wall mounted "charger". These may or may not have a detachable cable. In this case, the box mounted to the wall is the EVSE, and the cable connecting it to the car is a simple cable only.

 

What EVSE you use is going to depend on what power you have available at home, and what is available in other places you may want to charge. As @Linuxluver mentions, the blue commando plug with a 16A EVSE is pretty common, but if your LEAF has a 6.6kW charger on board, you are selling yourself short only supplying it 16A, not 32A. An 8A EVSE with a normal 3 pin plug is pretty universal, and will get you going anywhere, albeit slowly - a good idea to have one, but will be frustratingly slow for full time use.

 

@RUKI may also offer some insight here.

 

 


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