Holden Volt - Charging Cable Limited To Six Amps.

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Holden Volt - Charging Cable Limited To Six Amps.

Post by E-STATION » Fri, 28 Sep 2012, 00:36

Looks like the Holden Volt charging cable will be limited to six amps.

The GM Volt has the following requirements.

The Volt can be plugged into a 240-volt/10 amp household outlet.

In order to avoid potential problems based on private electrical installations, we have decided to limit the charging rate of the Volt at ordinary plug sockets to a maximum of 6 A. Before charging at more than 6 A, you should have your electrical installation checked and approved by a qualified electrician.

Experience and testing have shown that the quality of household sockets is not uniform and as such that they cannot support trouble-free 16 A charging on a regular basis. In order to ensure a trouble-free charging experience for our customers, we have decided to limit portable cord set charging to maximum of 6 amps.

All electric vehicle supply equipment (i.e. cord sets and charge stations) communicates its maximum electrical capability to the vehicle and the vehicle limits charging to this value. Since supply equipment is available from other manufacturers, non-Voltec cord sets may not have a 6 A limit. If you buy non-Voltec electric vehicle supply equipment, you should follow the instructions from the equipment manufacturer. However, we always recommend that any cord set plugged into a household socket should draw a maximum of 6 A from the socket, and cord sets not enabled to a 6 A capacity limit should not be used.

Under average temperature conditions, recharging with the cord set at 6 A will take 11 hours. Please note: Recharging with 16 A in less than 4 hours is still possible with the optional home charging station.

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Holden Volt - Charging Cable Limited To Six Amps.

Post by IVI » Mon, 08 Oct 2012, 16:21

As long as:

1. Fuse is rated for, say, 5 Amps, and

2. Owner is patient

I don't a major issue.

Maybe the Volt will be the car for pensioners :-)
or the subest of them, who have time to spare)!

PS Seriously, this may be GM's low-cost "solution"
of the "How to avoid complaints from power genera-
tion companies, eg, that they're not ready for the
new -load- of a generation of EV's...?

At least there's a groweing industry group getting
the ball going for -shared- access to a battery-
swap network (ie, different make / model EV's are
to be designed -compatible- with a single bat-swap
station spec's.

That'd solve it for multiply suoppliers...

I could live with that, so could the EVs makers,
who see Value in Cooperation.

Somehow, makers of white goods, & various electron-
ic products, etc. have managed to stay inbusiness,
despite having to "deal with" 1 standard (per land)
eg, in power point voltage, connector, etc.

I don't think 1 standard in battery swap would
crimp any competent EV maker's design style.

It might help them succeed in their chosen market!

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Holden Volt - Charging Cable Limited To Six Amps.

Post by bga » Tue, 23 Oct 2012, 20:07

6 Amps - does this point to some sort of hyper-conservatism on the part of GM?

I would have expected 10 amps, being the common draw for heaters and the like that operate reliably across the country.
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Holden Volt - Charging Cable Limited To Six Amps.

Post by bladecar » Wed, 24 Oct 2012, 04:34

The conclusion I will jump to is that the official electric vehicle industry being created is being carefully set out.

If the Leaf can only be bought with a commercial charger, this is so that down the track, taxes will be easy to collect because the commercial charger will give the required information.   If you plug your car into a 10, 15 or 32 amp 3-pin plug, no information is forthcoming, other than a higher amount of electricity being used in general by the household (air-conditioning, anyone?).

If a vehicle is limited to 5 or 6 amps, and it takes 11 hours or more to fully charge at that rate, no-one can say that the option wasn't offered. When an owner quickly decides that an 11 hour wait is ridiculous and feels compelled to buy a commercial charger (which talks to "management"), well, that's the customer's choice (and choice is what modern consumerism is all about).    Image

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Holden Volt - Charging Cable Limited To Six Amps.

Post by jonescg » Wed, 24 Oct 2012, 05:16

Agreed. All EVs should come with a 10 A GPO option. It's just the right thing to do.
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Holden Volt - Charging Cable Limited To Six Amps.

Post by acmotor » Wed, 24 Oct 2012, 20:01

1) I think the Volt's 'portable emergency use charging cord' limit of 6 Amps is quite wise.
(If I am correct, the J1772 standard on most EVs can select from 6A up to the limit of the onboard charger via the duty cycle of the 1kHz control signal anyway)
The reason for this 6A is so that the common 10A GPO can be used rather than the 15A requested for iMiEV, Leaf etc with their portable cord.
The 10A GPO is not the issue, it is the other devices on that circuit that give the problem as few 10A circuits are devoted ones.
When you are visiting etc you don't know the situation with the circuits and it is a bad look if your EV shuts down the guests house!
I'm definitely in favour of us forever being able to use a 10A GPO if/when we need to. Perhaps a selectable current on the EVSE ?

2) The Volt is only a hybrid and will probably end up using a lot more petrol than you'd hope, unless you leave it in the garage. So with the shortest electric range of any commercial EV ? its charge rate should also be low. Image

3) All EVs including conversions should be charged via J1772 or similar compliant EVSE for safety.
This EVSE should be on a devoted circuit. With this, charging to 6A,10A,12A,16A,32A should all be fine.

4) EVSEs or the EV itself should have a timer to take advantage of TOD power rates ( 9pm to 7am off peak rate, although probably better midnight to 7am as the power authorities tell us).
That does tell us that the EV should be able to charge in <7 hours.
iMiEV can, Leaf can't, Focus conversions can etc.
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Holden Volt - Charging Cable Limited To Six Amps.

Post by bladecar » Wed, 24 Oct 2012, 21:01

I hope numerous members respond to each of the points made here so that we can have clarity on the issue.

A few things written here are not so clear to me, so please, I look forward to your replies   :)

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Holden Volt - Charging Cable Limited To Six Amps.

Post by weber » Wed, 24 Oct 2012, 22:13

acmotor wrote: 1) I think the Volt's 'portable emergency use charging cord' limit of 6 Amps is quite wise.
...
The reason for this 6A is so that the common 10A GPO can be used rather than the 15A requested for iMiEV, Leaf etc with their portable cord.
The 10A GPO is not the issue, it is the other devices on that circuit that give the problem as few 10A circuits are devoted ones.
When you are visiting etc you don't know the situation with the circuits and it is a bad look if your EV shuts down the guests house!

You refer to "10A circuits". But 10 A GPOs must be wired with minimum 2.5mm^2 cable which is good for 20 A continuous and typically has a 20 A circuit breaker, so they are on 20 A circuits. The other devices on that circuit would have to add up to more than another 10 A continuous before it would cause a problem. But other heavy loads on GPOs, like kettles, toasters, microwaves, are typically short-term and could easily be allowed to add up to another 20 A (total 30 A on the circuit) for an hour or so without overheating the cable or tripping the breaker. The common exception might be plug-in space heaters in winter.

I believe Jeff Owen has been charging his converted Honda City by pulling 10 A from random 10 A GPOs (including mine) for the past 15 years. I'd be interested to hear how often he has tripped a breaker.
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Holden Volt - Charging Cable Limited To Six Amps.

Post by acmotor » Wed, 24 Oct 2012, 23:44

weber touched on the very point that has concerned the manufacturers of EVs. Just how much load can we/should we draw on a circuit so as not to give EVs a bad rep or be blamed for an electrical fire ? Remeber the load can be for up to 14 hours.

It reminds me of why the crane standards changed their wording from SWL (safe working load) to MRC (maximum rated capacity). People take the wording differently.
If we describe a 10A circuit as a 20A circuit or even a 30A short term circuit then we are pushing the equation as the average user will hear '30A' and go for it.
There is a big difference between an electrical tech knowing what they are doing (or getting away with it) and the general public.

There is also a historical factor of electrical installations to be considered.
The number of appliances and in some cases their current draw has increased over the years such that many household wiring systems are now quite heavily loaded, not to mention the aging of the powerpoints and switches. (we've all melted a 10A socket drawing 10A !)

This all comes back to two points...
Fit an EVSE on a devoted circuit for regular use.
Let us always be allowed to plug into a 10A GPO if we need. (even if that means 6-10A)
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Holden Volt - Charging Cable Limited To Six Amps.

Post by bladecar » Thu, 25 Oct 2012, 14:01

Well, I've read the endless warnings, limitations and "We will not be responsible fors" on anything you can buy. You can't even refill a plastic bottle (even though they continue to sell them anyway Image )

What if people do refill plastic bottles? Is it a risk we should take? Yes, I know it doesn't involve fire, but what about any heater with an element? Why are cigarette lighters, or matches sold. Thy DO cause many fires.

People have had computers, lamps, heaters, phones, clock-radios, multiple monitors, all hanging off one old discoloured single-wall-plug via a multi-board for years now. Do they limit the multi-board to 2 plugs just in case?   No, because it's user beware. How many fires have been caused by this? None that I have seen reported. "There was a big blaze at...A television is suspected...." Have you ever seen a comment that "Too many devices were being used...."   Sure, these things are possible, but they've all slipped under the radar up 'til now. I've visited a residence (a little OLD house) about 20 years ago where there were at least 4 computers of the time with multiple monitors and modems in the one room, because he was running an internet sevice. The whole room was very warm.    

I think the authorites, with their speed in regulating almost everything, would have brought the matter up by now (although they soon will if enough dollars are spent on it).

In this case, there is too much downside for the consumer (as a precautionary measure) and too much upside for the manufacturer (commercial wall plug (that's what they are)) and downside for ev's in general (Do you know how long it takes to get back on the road??).

If I ever own a Volt, I will be charging it at 10 amps (I know my wiring is good) and I think it would be rare for me to charge it anywhere else anyway).

Don't let them hobble the future with scaremongering - or, read the warning labels on everything, and refuse to use or buy them (and this includes cars) until a remedy is found. Image

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Post by bladecar » Thu, 25 Oct 2012, 14:10

Weber said:

"I believe Jeff Owen has been charging his converted Honda City by pulling 10 A from random 10 A GPOs (including mine) for the past 15 years. I'd be interested to hear how often he has tripped a breaker."

And that's the thing, Weber didn't say "I'd be interested to hear how often he has caused a fire...."

There are still houses out there without breakers. People who cannot afford electrical safety equipment probably can't afford an ev. People who can afford and wish to buy an ev probably are aware of what they should and should not plug into.

I'd surmise that the people who probably know the least about ev's are the salespeople who are supposed to be selling the things and the industry that still really doesn't want to know.

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Holden Volt - Charging Cable Limited To Six Amps.

Post by bladecar » Thu, 25 Oct 2012, 14:39

ACMotor said:

"This all comes back to two points...
Fit an EVSE on a devoted circuit for regular use.
Let us always be allowed to plug into a 10A GPO if we need. (even if that means 6-10A)"

I say, a devoted circuit would be the plug you mostly use (3pin or otherwise) and make sure it is not actually defective physically.
(even if that means 10A-10A).

Remember, the EV industry is just starting. You don't have to end up with a million different plug standard or only what they will let you use, must have an upgrade next year, whatever else they can think of.

KISS. It will cost you a lot less, and you will be in control of your own lives.

I'd like a few anecdotes of fires PROVEN to be caused by ev s charging, and the follow-up studies showing this to be the case. A garage fire was mentioned recently, but that was not a complete car, as I understand it, and no case-study was pointed to. We're talking about properly made vehicles, here, not workshops of bits.

By the way, all vehicles should have a top speed of 120kph, turbo, V8, V12, sports, luxury or economy. There is too much risk and no real downside (other than a small hit to the industry). Hey, it's safety we're talking here, fella.   Image

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Post by coulomb » Thu, 25 Oct 2012, 18:42

bladecar wrote: There are still houses out there without breakers.

When I were a lad (that's pronounced "Wen aaah wur a lud" Image ), we didn't have no fancy schmancy breakers. We had fuse wire, and there was always a screwdriver in the meter box and a card with two gauges of wire; 8 A for lighting, and 15 A for power. They went into ceramic fuse holders that hardly ever exploded at all. And it kept us just as safe as your fancy breakers, thank you very much. And we bought our fuse wire from the local hardware store, just down the road, not 5 kilometres away in a bleeding warehouse. Aaaand we enjoyed it.

And we had no need for safety switches, which I think is what you are referring to. Our cotton covered three core rubber insulated cables with their brass earth pins in a bakelite plug did just fine, thank you.

Actually, bakelite was just being phased out when I was a kid, and I don't think we had too many rubber insulated cables, thank goodness.
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Post by Johny » Thu, 25 Oct 2012, 19:21

Yup, those were the days when a 5 year old kid could cut through the power cord of the mantle radio with a pair of scissors and get a satisfying lump blown out of the blade ("no Mum, it wasn't me" - I had to start somewhere).

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Post by jonescg » Thu, 25 Oct 2012, 21:36

Or as a 6 year old attaching a 3 V DC hobby motor to 240 V AC. Didn't turn over much, but let out a giant green spark Image
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Post by acmotor » Fri, 26 Oct 2012, 01:30

Yep, the need for the 270k current limiting resistor feeding a neon lamp was clearly demonstated to one wee lad. At least any parts of the now faulty neon were nowhere to be found as incriminating evidence ! Image

Back on topic. I think all plug boards 4way or more now must have a 10A circuit breaker fitted internally. You can plug in as many computers to daisy chained plug boards as you like but the total load on the first plug board's input plug is limited to 10A. Wasn't always so, thankfully.

A certain gentleman in 'the revenge of the electric car' blamed arson for his shed fire. Me thinks electrical issue is also a candidate.

Google electric vehicle fire.
I'm not intending to scare munger. Just suggesting you use best safety practice.
I'd hope for good practice well before we have millions of EVs.

Fire is not the only issue. Electrocution is probably a more important topic.
The emergency use EVSE/power cords for EVs are not overly convenient to use. The EVSE box (that by design standard should be no more than 300mm from the 3 pin inlet plug) needs supporting and its cables get flexed and tugged in use. It is not intended by manufacturers to be the general use charge cord.

Another way to look at it is that an EV will likely be the biggest power consumer in a house. 10,20,50,100 !!! kWh per day. Please don't think of it as being able to be plugged into any power point. Take it seriously. Set up a devoted circuit with 15 or more Amp EVSE.

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Post by bladecar » Fri, 26 Oct 2012, 14:13

Hi acmotor,

Yes, I can see where you are coming from and I think there's a lot in what you say.

I did get myself a dedicated garage, wiring and plugs to handle an electric car.

I think it is up to us to make sure that what we do is sustainable, and also to steer things as best we can in order to give ourselves the most control over our financial and private lives   Image

I think it is an important and worthwhile aim to be able to charge our future cars outside of an official structure. We do it with our mowers (yes, I have one), our drills, you name it. These just happen to involve a lot more power. As you say, we must always be careful. But we have to be very careful with lots of things in life. Thanks for you comments   Image

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Post by Johny » Fri, 26 Oct 2012, 14:40

In related news, Leighton Contractors has purchased ChargePoint.
I wonder at the real reason.
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Post by acmotor » Fri, 26 Oct 2012, 17:06

bladecar wrote:
I did get myself a dedicated garage, wiring and plugs to handle an electric car.


Yep, that is the way. Image
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Add solar panels, a wind turbine and a 20+kWh battery pack and you have set yourself up for sustainable independence.
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Post by acmotor » Fri, 26 Oct 2012, 17:15

Well in my thinking, a 3 pin socket in the open is not a charge point, just a 3 pin socket in the open.
A charge point is an EVSE and a J1772 connector or something similar with the electrical safety (including ability to operate wet, in the rain) that protects the user.
It is worth research on the features of J1772 etc to see how safety has been built in.

Good on them for providing the charge option. I hope it is more than just image. Image
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Post by E-STATION » Fri, 26 Oct 2012, 19:43

Safety

The J1772 standard includes several levels of shock protection, ensuring the safety of charging even in wet conditions. Physically, the connection pins are isolated on the interior of the connector when mated, ensuring no physical access to those pins. When not mated, J1772 connectors have no voltage at the pins,[15] and charging power does not flow until commanded by the vehicle.[14]

The pins are of the first-make, last-break variety. If the plug is in the charging port of the vehicle and charging, and it is removed, the control pilot and proximity detection pins will break first so that the Power Pin relay in the charging station will be shut off and no current will flow.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SAE_J1772

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Post by Jeff Owen » Sat, 27 Oct 2012, 04:31

weber wrote: I believe Jeff Owen has been charging his converted Honda City by pulling 10 A from random 10 A GPOs (including mine) for the past 15 years. I'd be interested to hear how often he has tripped a breaker.
Hasn't happened, so far.
bladecar. wrote:And that's the thing, Weber didn't say "I'd be interested to hear how often he has caused a fire...."
Neither has this.
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Post by acmotor » Sat, 27 Oct 2012, 06:48

Never say never. Image

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Post by Jeff Owen » Sat, 27 Oct 2012, 16:20

acmotor wrote: Never say never. Image

Good point, correction made.

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Post by Faz » Sat, 27 Oct 2012, 22:03

weber wrote: You refer to "10A circuits". But 10 A GPOs must be wired with minimum 2.5mm^2 cable which is good for 20 A continuous and typically has a 20 A circuit breaker, so they are on 20 A circuits. The other devices on that circuit would have to add up to more than another 10 A continuous before it would cause a problem.
Good in theory but in reality any resistance in the connection of the cable to the outlet makes the 20A capability of the cable meaningless.
I have a solar battery charger limited to 30A. I recently noticed charring on the insulation of an 8AWG cable where it enters a brass distribution bar. The cable is over 7mm^2 and is rated for 60A yet gets noticeable warm carrying less than 30A.
The length of time involved in charging an EV increases the chance of a heavily loaded cable getting hot enough to start a fire.
Last edited by Faz on Sat, 27 Oct 2012, 11:07, edited 1 time in total.

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