News item | 2012-10-01 | 11:45 AM

E-mobility news: Domestic outlets undergoing tests for vehicle charging

Already existing electrical socket outlets of the domestic type (schuko) are of special interest for the introduction of electric cars. Especially for the cars with rather small batteries that are installed in plug in electric vehicles (PHEV) with a driving range up to about 50 kilometres with no need for charging at high power or long time, using these schuko outlets is convenient, cheap and the outlets can be found everywhere. R&D E-mobility has now initiated a cooperation in the E-mobility industry.

The electricity branch including Vattenfall is interested in guidelines for safe use of schuko outlets for car charging. The existing standards for testing domestic socket outlets are made with house hold appliances in mind and there is an ongoing discussion on how well they fit with charging of electrical vehicles. There is a need for better understanding of possible additional requirements at EV charging and how to test and state under what prerequisites schuko outlets are able to use in a safe way, not charging with too high current.

Elforsk, the Swedish utilities R&D association had tests carried out during spring 2012 that indicated that schuko outlets may fulfil also the new EV connection standard IEC62196-1. However, French not standardised tests of long-term charging indicated over-heating problems for some types of outlets.

Within the Elforsk committee for E-mobility a special team, co-ordinated by Vattenfall (Peter Herbert), has taken the initiative to develop a test that is suitable for testing schuko outlets for EV charging use and to propose initial tests for some outlets of different qualities. In the team there are representatives for Garo, ABB and Schneider Electric (equipment manufacturers) and Intertek-Semko (testing institute). Experiences will be taken in also from other experts, for example insurance companies, standardisation committees and other stakeholders dealing with electrical safety. The ambition is to be able to propose a test method that can help to select outlets suitable for EV charging.

Contact person:

Peter Herbert
Vattenfall Research and Development