nitramluap
Posts: 102
Joined: Thu Jul 14, 2016 12:43 am
Location: Not the USA

AC Charger Inlet Types - swappable?

Thu Jul 14, 2016 1:10 am

My wife and I have ordered two 94Ah (non-REx) i3 vehicles here in Australia. They'll be here later in the year. Really looking forward to them.

I note that in Australia, despite us having a 3-phase 240V grid power supply, BMW are using the Type 1 (SAE) connector - the same as used in the US/Japan where it's single phase 120V. In Europe/UK, the i3 comes with the Type 2 (Mennekes) connector after they decided to ditch the Type 1 connector standard. I'm not sure if Australia has settled on any 'standard' for charging EVs and I'm having a great deal of difficulty finding out. I suspect the answer is 'no'. All current i3 vehicles in Australia use Type 1 and the dealers are clueless about anything technical.

One big advantage of the Type 2 connector is the ability to use a 3-phase supply with the one socket, allowing much higher AC charging rates (as well as other benefits to power supply distribution). I currently have a 3-phase supply in my house as well as a solar setup with battery storage which is all 3-phase AC. Type 1 (SAE) can only handle a single phase so the maximum AC charging by this method appears to be about 7.4kW.

I have read/heard that the i3 has the same on-board AC charger and wiring behind the inlet socket regardless of whether it's Type 1 or Type 2. The signalling protocols for the two are the same. So, my question is: if Australia decided to settle on the Type 2 (Mennekes) plug as the 'standard' for all new EVs going forward, is it a simple job to change the inlet socket on an i3 from a Type 1 socket to a Type 2 socket and wire it up accordingly?

Any clever boffins out there that can help? Thanks in advance.

I33t
Posts: 894
Joined: Fri Dec 13, 2013 3:01 pm
Location: Australia

Re: AC Charger Inlet Types - swappable?

Thu Jul 14, 2016 5:03 am

http://www.i3guide.com/charging.html

Seems the Menneke plugs in EU are 32A single phase even if the Menneke system is capable of handling 3 phase.
Additional Cables

Your i3 will come with a standard 3pin (UK) '13amp plug to type-2' charging cable. This is for domestic and slow public chargers. But if you want to use the faster 7kW chargers, you'll need to buy the 'type-2 to type-2' Mennekes 7pin charger cable. Make sure to ask for the 32amp version rather than the older 16amp. BMW sell theirs for *£165 inc. VAT, which is a good price (collect yours at your local BMW parts dealer). Evconnectors.com 32 amp, 3-metre i3 cable works out slightly more expensive, costing *£140 exc. VAT, with the postage on top comes to a total of *£176.50.

*prices October 2015
2014 BMW i3 BEV deposit placed 19th Dec 2013
Delivered in Melbourne 4/12/2014. Arrived locally 11/12/14, with 24km on the clock.

nitramluap
Posts: 102
Joined: Thu Jul 14, 2016 12:43 am
Location: Not the USA

Re: AC Charger Inlet Types - swappable?

Thu Jul 14, 2016 2:52 pm

Thanks for the reply.

Interesting...

Looking at the currently available wallboxes (in all markets), they all top out at 7.4kW. Even the Wallbox Pro's installation manual for a 'three phase supply' shows it only connecting to one of the three phases (although there is a bi-phase feed option - still only 7.4kW):
https://charging.bmwgroup.com/web/wbdoc/home

However, I wonder if the 2017 i3 has an updated on-board charger? This has been mentioned elsewhere:
http://pushevs.com/2016/04/07/bmw-i3-wi ... l-charger/

...and when you look at the updated BMW website on 'Charging' it shows a totally redesigned i-Wallbox for later this year and this text next to it:

"The charging output is up to 7.4 kW in single-phase mode and up to 11 kW with a three-phase supply."


Image

So perhaps they're taking advantage of the 3-phase Mennekes connector in Europe with the updated i3? This seems to make sense with the larger battery capacity, but it's going to mean countries with the Type 1 connecter will be limited to 7.4kW no matter what they do to the on-board AC charger... Unless it's possible to channel 11kW down a single pair of wires from a Type 1 socket (converting it to a single phase 45A supply)? I have no idea about any of this. I'm quite the newbie here!

Also, do you know if Australia has settled on a standard yet? I can't find any official information on it. Personally, it seems silly to go with the Type 1 connector if we're really looking to the future, particularly with larger batteries and many people wanting to charge at home/work without the expense of installing a DC station.

jadnashuanh
Posts: 5038
Joined: Thu May 22, 2014 2:07 pm
Location: Nashua, NH USA

Re: AC Charger Inlet Types - swappable?

Thu Jul 14, 2016 3:19 pm

You need to understand that the charging circuits are actually IN the car, and the i3 is limited to a maximum of 7.4Kw from its internal power supply. An EVSE is simply a smart, on/off switch with a cord. The only time the car uses an external power supply is if you're doing a DC charge - in that case, you're essentially bypassing the internal power supply and applying DCV directly into the batteries. A larger internal power supply would require potentially more space (not readily available), potentially larger and more capable cooling system, and different power control circuits. From what I've read, BMW specifies a longer charging time for the larger battery in the 2017 which implies they did not change the on-board charging circuit.

While both the Euro Menikes and the US J1772 plugs include 3-phase inputs, the i3 does not have that type of receptacle, so cannot use one of those plugs (3-phase is much more common for things like busses or trucks where they need more power, quicker). Even if you changed the receptacle, the internal power supply is not wired to allow 3-phase power inputs, at least on any models I've seen. I seem to remember someone from either Belgium or Netherlands where 3-phase power is more common complaining, but I never saw any resolution to their issues.

IOW, the i3 is wired to accept single phase 110-240vac inputs.
Jim DeBruycker
2011 535i x-drive GT, 2014 i3 BEV
Soon (hopefully!) A 2021 X5 45e will replace the above

nitramluap
Posts: 102
Joined: Thu Jul 14, 2016 12:43 am
Location: Not the USA

Re: AC Charger Inlet Types - swappable?

Thu Jul 14, 2016 3:32 pm

jadnashuanh wrote:You need to understand that the charging circuits are actually IN the car, and the i3 is limited to a maximum of 7.4Kw from its internal power supply. An EVSE is simply a smart, on/off switch with a cord.
No need for the condescending tone. I'm fully aware that the charger is in the car (except when DC charging) and if you read the thread (and look at BMW's updated website!) it's quite clear that the 2017 i3 has a charger that accepts 11kW via a new 3-phase Wallbox.

Whether that means the Wallbox converts the 3-phase supply into a single phase 45A supply (still 11kW) to the car via either a Type 1 or Type 2 connector, or that the car accepts the 3-phases via (only) a Type 2 (Mennekes) connector is what is unclear to me.

That's what I'm trying to work out.
jadnashuanh wrote:From what I've read, BMW specifies a longer charging time for the larger battery in the 2017 which implies they did not change the on-board charging circuit.
As I've posted, BMW's updated site demonstrates quite clearly that the 2017 i3 has an updated 11kW charger...
jadnashuanh wrote:While both the Euro Menikes and the US J1772 plugs include 3-phase inputs
That's not possible with a J1772 plug/socket as I understand it. You can't have three phases travelling down 3 wires (Live, Neutral & Ground), you need FIVE wires for that (L1, L2, L3, Neutral & Ground) and the i3 in Europe does indeed have a Mennekes socket which is designed for 3-phases, which is why it has 7 pins (five for power, two for data/connection). Whether it actually uses them is unclear... but the answer is probably 'no' by the sounds of things.

I'm starting to come to the conclusion from reading between the lines on various sites (including BMW's) that:
- the updated i3 does indeed have an updated 11kW AC charger
- that the new wallbox will convert a 3-phase supply to a single phase (probably up to 45-50A) for supply to the car via either Type 1 or Type 2 sockets
- that the car currently can't accept 3-phases at the plug (even if the Mennekes plug is designed for it), nor will the 2017 vehicle

jadnashuanh
Posts: 5038
Joined: Thu May 22, 2014 2:07 pm
Location: Nashua, NH USA

Re: AC Charger Inlet Types - swappable?

Thu Jul 14, 2016 4:37 pm

The J1772 only uses the ground pin for safety, it is not part of the powering circuits during recharging. It does not need a separate neutral unless charging using level 1 (120vac) to complete the circuit...that pin becomes the second power lead when using 240vac single phase. To do 3-phase power, it would need only one more pin, and there was a proposal to allow that. Some trucks and busses use that plug, but not cars in the USA.

Many people consider the EVSE as a charger...if you were offended by me clarifying that for you and the others reading this, sorry...
Jim DeBruycker
2011 535i x-drive GT, 2014 i3 BEV
Soon (hopefully!) A 2021 X5 45e will replace the above

nitramluap
Posts: 102
Joined: Thu Jul 14, 2016 12:43 am
Location: Not the USA

Re: AC Charger Inlet Types - swappable?

Thu Jul 14, 2016 4:58 pm

jadnashuanh wrote:The J1772 only uses the ground pin for safety, it is not part of the powering circuits during recharging. It does not need a separate neutral unless charging using level 1 (120vac) to complete the circuit...that pin becomes the second power lead when using 240vac single phase.
That's still not three-phase. My point - which I was simplifying to make it - is that the J1772 is not designed for transmitting 3-phase power (only single- or split-phase) whereas the new Wallbox takes a three-phase input and the Type 2 (Mennekes) socket is designed to handle a 3-phase supply.

What the new Wallbox does with a three-phase supply and a J1772 is unclear at this point. I'm hoping it will still allow a 11kW charge.

Once these vehicles start arriving in dealerships I'll know for sure what kind of charger it has installed and whether the J1772 socket can make the most of it, or if only those in Europe can charge at 11kW.

I33t
Posts: 894
Joined: Fri Dec 13, 2013 3:01 pm
Location: Australia

Re: AC Charger Inlet Types - swappable?

Thu Jul 14, 2016 9:13 pm

No standard for EVSE plugs in Australia. We already have at least two common types but the J1772 seems to be the most common.

Interesting if BMW is actually upping the charge rate on the new battery pack. That would mean a higher rate onboard charger. Sounds like a good move.

If they stay with the J1772 (be surprised if they don't) you can get a 75A Juicebox:

https://emotorwerks.com/store-juicebox- ... oot-cable/
JuiceBox Pro 75 - SPECIFICATION
Output Power (max.)

• 75A, 18kW
• Circuit load balancing - configure two or more JuiceBox charging stations to never exceed the limit of your electrical supply circuit

Input Voltage

• 100-250 VAC, single phase

Input

• 4 FT pigtail; outdoor rated 6 AWG cable; ready for hardwire

Output Cable & Connecto

• 24 FT standard length
• SAE J1772 standard plug

Web Portal & EV JuiceBox App

• Set up various automatic notifications
• Access your data & control your charging anytime, anywhere

WiFi

• Built-in wifi connectivity, with easy setup

Product Dimensions

• 11 x 7 x 3.5 inches (H, W, D - main enclosure)

Shipping Dimensions

• 16 x 16 x 8 inches (H, W, D - dual walled box)

Weight

• ~21lb fully equipped (with cables)

Certifications

• CE, NEMA, and SAE compliant

Warranty

• 3 year manufacturer's warranty for residential usage
2014 BMW i3 BEV deposit placed 19th Dec 2013
Delivered in Melbourne 4/12/2014. Arrived locally 11/12/14, with 24km on the clock.

nitramluap
Posts: 102
Joined: Thu Jul 14, 2016 12:43 am
Location: Not the USA

Re: AC Charger Inlet Types - swappable?

Thu Jul 14, 2016 9:20 pm

Thanks for this.

I'm considering something like this, not only to charge my new i3 but to also allow others to use the EVSE. If it's going to be 11kW or higher that will have some appeal. My solar array should mean that I'm not going to use the grid, even with an 11kW charger onboard.

I33t
Posts: 894
Joined: Fri Dec 13, 2013 3:01 pm
Location: Australia

Re: AC Charger Inlet Types - swappable?

Thu Jul 14, 2016 11:07 pm

How much solar have you got?

We have 10Kw but the winter production goes down a lot. Probably average of about 14kWh avg at worst. If we poured that into a battery, it wouldn't be enough to charge the i3 from empty. Also, remember that you lose some putting it into and pulling it out of a battery, so you would have a double loss if you went solar -> battery -> i3

Ours went in when there was still premium FIT, so we maximise daily feedin, and charge overnight from the grid. Over the year we are kWh and dollar positive.
2014 BMW i3 BEV deposit placed 19th Dec 2013
Delivered in Melbourne 4/12/2014. Arrived locally 11/12/14, with 24km on the clock.

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