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Wallbox systems from automobile manufacturers - Copyright ag visuell @

Wallbox systems

Although it is also possible to charge the electric vehicle at the domestic socket with 230 volts, it is much safer to use a charging station in order to be able to charge your electric vehicle quickly and safely at home. In addition to the wallbox systems from automobile manufacturers, there are wallboxes from independent manufacturers that are suitable for various electric vehicles. Not every automobile manufacturer offers its own wallbox system for its electric vehicle, so the user is left with the question of which charging station is the right one for his electric vehicle. We explain the most important facts about domestic charging stations.

What is a wallbox?

A wallbox is a wall-mounted charging option for electric vehicles (also for plug-in hybrids) in accordance with IEC 62196. It is the interface between the charging cable plug and the mains and usually offers different charging strengths between 11 and 22 kW at. The connection between the car and the wallbox is usually made using a type 2 connector (Mennekes connector); Asian automobile manufacturers prefer the type 1 connector.

The applied current is mostly three-phase current with 400 volts with an amperage of 16 or 32 amperes. Since the applied alternating current has to be converted into direct current for charging the traction battery, a rectifier integrated in the car is required. This has the advantage that no special device for converting the electricity is required when installing a home charging station. Public charging stations are usually equipped with direct current so that the rectifier in the car is not required.

What are the charging times on a home wallbox?

Basically, the charging time of an electric car depends on the charging capacity of its battery and the charging technology used. At a household socket with a charging capacity of 2,3 kW (230 volts / 10 amperes), the charging time of a battery with a capacity of 20 kWh for single-phase charging is between 6 and 8 hours.
A wallbox with an output of 22 kW (400 volts / 32 amperes) can only theoretically transfer 7,4 kW output with single-phase charging. Since so-called unbalanced loads in the power grid are to be avoided, the power per phase in Germany is limited to 4,6 kW. If there is a three-phase charger in the vehicle, the full 22 kW output can be used and the battery is fully charged within an hour. However, not every electric car can guarantee a charging power of 22 kW - the range of power is between 3,7 and 22 kW, depending on the charger installed. When charging, the weakest value determines the maximum charging power - an electric car with a charging power of maximum 11 kW, for example the BMW i3, can of course be charged at a charging station with a charging power of 22 kW, but then only with the vehicle's 11 kW.

So if you have a vehicle with a single-phase on-board charger or a low charging power, you can save the costs of a 22 kW wallbox plus cabling. A three-phase connection with 3,7 or 11 kW is sufficient here. In general, vehicles with a type 1 plug, for example the Nissan Leaf, can only be charged in one phase and with a maximum charging power of 7,4 kW. In order to charge these electric vehicles with type 1 plugs, mostly from Asia, at public or private charging stations, a mode 3 charging cable from type 2 to type 1 must usually be available. Mode 3 charging cables are also available for type 2 to type 2 plugs and allow charging capacities of up to 43 kW.


Source: green car magazine - Issue III - 2017

Cover picture: Wallbox systems from automobile manufacturers - Copyright ag visuell @

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N. Hawthorn
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