How to protect your electric car from cheap and homemade charging equipment
In Ukraine, the boom of artisanal manufacturers of charging equipment for electric vehicles. Most of the domestic charging equipment for electric vehicles is produced “in the kitchen”.
A little from the history of chargers and their cost
The charging station (portable or stationary), prior to the approval of the electric vehicle standards, was part of the inverter (so-called on-Board charger) of the electric vehicle. The decision to take part of the electronics outside the electric car was not accidental. The charging station is paired with the car’s Inverter at all stages of its charging. The quality of the charging process depends on the correctness of the charging station. In addition to the joint charging function, the station has the function of protecting the electronics of the electric vehicle and is responsible for the safety of its users from electric shock. Emergency situations in the power supply (subsidence and bursts) first of all disable the components in the charging device. The electric car can continue to move and charge from other charging stations without problems.
The electric car charge controller is the brain of the charger. Its main characteristics are the accuracy of the tasks set by the Inverter and the correct “answers” to requests about the characteristics of the connection to the mains. The speed and accuracy of the commands, as well as the operation of protections, directly affects the “health” of the battery (the most expensive part of the electric car).Poor quality controllers cause the Inverter to malfunction. In case of emergency deviations, the electric car can fix the “battery charging Error” and stop charging, start driving slowly, etc.
Some global manufacturers of charging equipment (for example, ABL, Germany) do not have their own charge controller and buy them from companies specializing in the development and production of high-quality microcontrollers. The cost of only a proprietary controller commensurate with the cost of the Chinese charging station or domestic homemade.
In addition to the controller, charging stations must have many other mandatory and additional components according to European/international IEC standards. The first stationary and portable charging stations in Ukraine appeared from European manufacturers. The cost of stationary devices varies from 600 to 3000 us dollars, portable — from 350 to 1200 us dollars.
Price range in us dollars for charging equipment by origin:
Equipment Ukrainian Chinese European
Charging cable 130-180 100-200 250-500
Portable station 3.7 kW 130-250 120-250 350-800
Portable station 7.4 kW 200-300 200-350 400-800
Portable station 22 kW 300-350 300-350 600-1000
Wall station 22 kW 400-500 250-400 700-1500
Boom of garage soldering
Over the past year, the number of “artisanal” manufacturers of charging stations in Ukraine has become more than throughout the European Union, and their number is increasing every day. Chinese online stores offer cheap devices and components for their Assembly. Perhaps even the application of the logo on the Board. Such a home business decided to engage a domestic radioelectroniki, able to hold a soldering iron. All manufacturers unanimously declare the development of their device “from scratch”.
Also, many car dealers specializing in the sale of used electric vehicles from America, began to order the Assembly of cheap chargers under its name. Some sellers of such devices switched to the purchase of only components and self-Assembly on the boards. At the same time, many collectors have never even seen the norms and standards for the development and production of charging stations.
Cheap charging components are sold in the same place as homemade charging. Go to any site free ads:
Assembly instructions are already in the ad
Assembly instructions are already in the announcement: button control, power control, display like most devices on the market
The permissible power of such a “control” is limited to 80 Amperes, which corresponds to the power of 18 kW. On cars after 2013 very often “gets” the inverter of an electric car in an accident.
And so, the first domestic devices did not have a separate body and were called “Charging in the handle” or “Blende” from the city of Dnipro. The simplified controller, without additional electronics and protection, is placed in the sawed cavities of the electric vehicle connector and filled with glue.
After many questions from users about the presence of the body in the regular or European stations, “Blende” moved to a small body on the cable. So there were the first Ukrainian devices, similar to the existing European or American.
Such devices are easily sold by entrepreneurs even through the popular online store Rozetka.
A tangle glued (with violation of all norms) electronics easy to invest in the fixed body of any shape. Outwardly, it is impossible for an ordinary buyer to determine what was “invested” in a particular charging station, especially to assess the quality of internal electronic components. Some artisanal manufacturers even order quite a solid printed circuit Board with the logo of a non-existent brand to solder on it the same tangle of components.
The quality of such charging equipment can not be evaluated by the consumer, as the assemblers manage to get all the necessary certificates even for very dangerous devices, but these will be discussed below.
The same, only cheaper!
This argument is the engine of domestic business and of course Chinese. The device often homemade trying to make visually similar to the existing ones, counting on the carelessness of customers. China also offers products similar to existing international brands. For the Ukrainian consumer the price often becomes the only decisive factor when buying such equipment. The BU sellers of electric cars from America do not want to lose their earnings and usually complete them with the cheapest portable stations if the car arrived without a charger.
The Chinese parody of the existing European device from a short distance is not much different from the original. The inscription PRO emphasizes the similarity of models. It is enough to start comparing the characteristics and immediately becomes clear. 32 amperes instead of 40 Amperes and 7 kW instead of 9.2 kW. Degree of protection IP54 IP67 is in the original. And this is without assessing the compliance of the electronic filling.
One of the Ukrainian parodies of the same device is available for sale only on the OLX website from a private person. An unknown manufacturer claims superiority over the European analogue and even the possibility of connecting the station to all Ukrainian operators of the charging business. After the homemade device fell into the hands of one of the operators, it was not possible to contact the seller. For communication were available to only chat in Telegram. A salesman named Edward agreed to the meeting, but he never came.
In European practice, you can often find similar devices under different brands. Usually it is the result of cooperation of production capacities, but not copying of appearance.
The clones quickly filled up with Ukrainian Internet-shops. They are easy to learn at a low cost. But some original European devices leave the Ukrainian market. For example, the German charging equipment ABL Sursum from 2018 has ceased to be available to the Ukrainian consumer. European brands have to reduce retail prices to a minimum in order to sell something on the wild Ukrainian market.