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Focus on European standards

Standards relative to electric vehicles and charging stations are quite complex and include:

•  Standards for connectors

•  Standards for communication systems between vehicle and charging station and between charging station and the electrical network (Smart Grid)

•  Standards for the safety for recharging systems



Standards for recharging methods ( IEC 61851-1)

According to the IEC 61851-1 standard for charging columns, 4 recharging modes are possible for vehicles, namely:


Mode 1:

Slow recharging in a domestic environment (6-8 hours)

This is possible only in private locations using a maximum current of 16 amps. A simple domestic socket or industrial socket of 16 amps can be used.



Mode 2:

Slow recharging in domestic and public environments (6-8 hours)

On the connecting cable of the vehicle there is a device called Control Box (safety system PWM) that guarantees safe recharging and the use of domestic and industrial sockets up to 16 amps.


Mode 3:

Slow Recharging (6-8 hours) or relatively faster (30 minutes to 1 hour) in domestic or public environments

This method is obligatory in public places and recharging must be carried out using a specially made connecting system with specific connectors. Recharging can also be done with the relatively fast method (63 amps, 400V), (Safety system PWM).


Mode 4:

Fast recharging in public places (5-10 minutes)

This is rapid recharging using continuous current (up to 200 amps, 400V). By this system it is possible to recharge vehicles in just a few minutes using an external battery charging device. For mode 4 the Japanese have set up a committee called CHA.DI.MO for the diffusion of mode 4 recharging with a connector made for the purpose.



There are three cases for how the connecting cable can be attached to the vehicle:


Case A: the cable is connected directly to the vehicle

Case B: the cable is disconnected from both the vehicle and the base column (cord-set)

Case C: the cable is connected to the charging column

Standards for communication systems between vehicle and charging station (IEC 61851-1)


PWM circuit ( annex A standards ):

To guarantee safety during the recharging phase, the stations must exchange special signals with the vehicle and this device is called PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) and is obligatory for mode 3 recharging.

EVSE-> EV: available current (% duty cycle)

EV -> EVSE: loading state (voltage)

. For vehicles without PWM but with resistance, the PMW functions in a simplified way and is limited to 16 amps



Resistor Coding ( annex B.5 reports ):

With recharging mode 3 it is important that the station identifies the connected section of the cable in order to supply the right amount of current for the cable. This is called "Resistor Coding"



PLUG-> IVSI: cutting the cable (voltage)

13A=1,5k? ; 20A=680? ; 32A=220?; 63A=100?


. The current, determined by the PWM, cannot disregard the current determined by the Resistor Coding..

. In the case of greater absorption, the station will stop charging.


Standards for connectors


Connectors for MODE 3 recharging (IEC 62196-1 e 2)

Within the IEC 62196-2 standard there are three types of connectors for recharging electric vehicles: type1, type 2 and type 3 (type 3A and type 3C)



Type 1


Type 2


Type 3a

(Scame and IV Plug Alliance)

Type 3c

(Scame and IV Plug Alliance)

•  Single-phase 32A 250Vac

•  2 pilot contacts IPXXB

Connector only for vehicle side




•  Single-phase 16A, 250Vac

•  Three-phase 63A, 480Vac

•  2 pilot contacts IPXXB

Obbligatory hold system for plug and socket

•  Single-phase 16A, 250Vac

•  1 pilot contact

•  IPXXD on socket

Optional hold system



•  Single-phase 16A,250Vac

•  Three-phase63A, 480Vac

•  2 pilot contacts

•  IPXXD on plug and socket

Optional hold system

The main difference between connector type 2 and connector type 3 is the presence of protection devices against accidental contact with live parts (IPXXD) on all components of the system, plugs and sockets.


Standardization objectives for charging systems

The European Commission has issued a mandate to the CENELEC to define a single European charging system for electric road vehicles by March 2011.

CENELEC has set up specific Focus Groups to study European charging systems and a complete report was delivered to the European Commission in May 2011 but no agreement has been reached regarding the type of connector to use on the charging column so the Commission will soon have to take the decision that is most opportune.


Italian standard for connectors

The experimental standard CEI CT 312 in Italy authorizes only connector type 3, with A or C according to voltage or recharging requirements.







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