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Read this before buying an EV

Mark Policarpio · Nov 27, 2022 12:00 PM

Read this before buying an EV 01

Just like how different cars use different types of fuels, Electric vehicles use different types of chargers to accommodate different types of charging speeds and methods.

Level 1: Typical wall outlet charger

The original, and by far the slowest, is charging through your regular wall socket with a 220V slow charging system. With our current Output voltage and frequency of 220V and 60Hz, the fastest we can charge a typical vehicle on a wall socket is around 3 to 4 hours for a small battery like the ones in the Wuling Hongguang Mini EV and the Renault Twizy, and up to 8 hours to charge something like the Nissan Leaf. This is the type of charger normally included in every EV purchase. The Kia e-Niro we test-drove was charged with its own wall outlet charger.

Level 1 EV chargers also work well with Plug-in Hybrid EVs because they have smaller batteries and require less time to top up. 

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Read this before buying an EV 01

Level 2: Dedicated wall box for home and commercial use

Level 2 charging appliances can be installed at homes with a dedicated line to the breaker box and are recommended for faster battery charging rates versus a Level 1 wall outlet charger. A typical Level 1 charger with a 1.2 kWh rate will charge a mid-range EV from empty to 100% in 11-20 hours, while a Level 2 unit can do so in 6 to 8 hours. 

Thankfully, the recently constructed EV chargers around Metro Manila, like the one found in SM Megamall in Ortigas, uses 7.4kW AC Chargers with Type 2 connectors. Unfortunately, EVs from China, like the Weltmeister W5 don’t use a Type 2 Plug. It uses  China’s standardized GB/T plug, which may look like a Type 2 Plug but is wired differently.

Read this before buying an EV 02

The Weltmeister W5's GB/T plug. Also similar to the BYD Dolphin's.

Level 3 and 4: DC Fast Chargers

Some cars are capable of using Type 2 DC Fast Charging and what’s called Super Fast charging, which makes use of the CCS Type 1 and 2 charging plugs. In essence, two additional pins are coupled with the original plug, which helps it withstand upwards of 300kW of power, whereas the original plugs could only safely use up to around 80kW.  The ability to use such chargers is also dependent on the vehicle's charging rate. Tesla superchargers can top up an empty battery to 80% in around 45 minutes.

So far, because these are expensive and can cost millions of pesos and require high voltage and electricity grid access, there are no such chargers in the Philippines, unfortunately.

Charger plug types

If you go to Japan and notice that they use a different plug, the CHAdeMO plug was developed by the Japanese to compete with the Type 2, but they failed to gain the same following. Now, while the rest of the world is using the Type 2 and the CCS Type 2, the Japanese are working with the Chinese to develop the CHAdeMO and GB/T further to support charging systems up to 900kW of power. Such an astronomical charger will require huge infrastructure, beefed-up car batteries, and a dedicated water cooling system, but it would mean charge times of 5 to 15 minutes.

With the wide range of EVs available in the Philippines, switching chargers is relatively easy on the manufacturing level, as the charger can be the last thing installed in a vehicle. It’s why cars sold in the US can still use the original Type 1 socket, while their European and Asian counterparts can use the Type 2 sockets.

In summary, here's a graphic of the different types of plugs used in other regions and for either AC or DC charging applications. It would be best to know what kind of plug your EV or PHEV comes with before your purchase to plan where to charge them when needed.

Read this before buying an EV 03

Graphic from EVExpert

Since the Philippine charging network has started using CCS Type 2 plugs (there's no official government-mandated standard yet), it would be no surprise to see that a good number of EVs sold in the country would use CCS Type 2 plugs. Even Plug-in Hybrids like the Chery Tiggo8 Pro PHEV uses a CCS Type 2 plug instead of the Chinese GB/T plug to adapt to the evolving network. Only gray market and low-volume imports like the Wuling Hongguang Mini EV,  BYD Philippines' Dolphin EV, and the various Teslas we’ve seen on our roads use the GB/T and Type 1 plug, respectively. This makes it difficult for them to use the available EV charging stations unless owners can provide adaptors to make the plugs from the charger to the vehicle compatible.

Ayala is rolling out some 20  EV charging stations at its malls, offices, and other properties. There are locations with GB/T plugs available such as the one in Greenbelt basement parking in Makati.

Still, it’s one more step on the road to electrification, and you know what they say about the journey of a thousand miles, right?

Mark Policarpio

Contributing Writer

Mark has been into cars since he was in kindergarten, and he carried that into his college life studying as an Engineer. His outlook on life is the same as his outlook on cars - "When in doubt, power out!"

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