Plugging In Your Volt: Not With Just Any Old Cord

When you imagine plugging an electric or plug-in hybrid car into the wall to recharge, what do you envision in your hand? A standard orange extension cord? Time to change that picture; production electric-drive vehicles will all use a special cord, with a plug and socket on the car end that’s unlike any you’ve seen before.

GM’s much-touted Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid will plug into a wall socket to recharge its 16-kilowatt-hour battery pack for up to 40 miles of travel solely on electricity. It may be many Americans’ first exposure in a century to cars that plug into the wall.

GM plug-in wand

A still-shot from a GM promotional video shows the shape of the plug-in cord.

Next up in the growing lineup of hybrid Saturn Vue models will be the Vue Two-Mode Plug-In Hybrid, which will run up to 10 miles on electricity alone at 35 mph or less. That vehicle is expected to launch late in 2010, at roughly the same time as the Volt. It replaces the nickel-metal-hydride battery pack from the Vue Two-Mode with a lithium ion pack, and it will use the same plug and socket as the Volt.

Both of these cars, and many others, will come with an onboard charger that converts standard 110V (or 220V) household alternating current into direct current of the correct voltage to recharge the battery pack. Every car will come with its own cord, with the special plug on one end to connect to the car, and a standard three-prong plug on the other end to plug into the wall socket in your garage—or perhaps your carport.


A Special Cord, For Good Reasons

Why is a special cable needed? There are several reasons, including predictable charging, better connections, future “smart charging”, and a desire for global standards for auto technology. All of these factors feed into a committee that has been working since August 2006 to agree on the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) J1772 standard, which defines the mechanical and electric specifications for the plug and socket to be used in plug-in hybrid and electric-drive cars. It includes shock protections and an interlock to prevent driving away with the cord in place, and specifies that the equipment must last for at least 10,000 charge cycles. General Motors is one of several “very active” parties in developing this standard.

Trivia

Gasoline hoses last changed in 1975, when cars requiring unleaded fuel were launched with narrower filler necks, so that the wider nozzles that carried leaded fuel wouldn’t fit, preventing the leaded fuel from poisoning the catalytic converters.

An industry-standard plug and socket allows charging not only at home, but at charging stations elsewhere. If all chargeable vehicles have the same socket, then charging stations only need to offer one type of cord—in the same way that all cars have the same pipe for fuel filling, so all gas pumps can use identical nozzles.

Better electrical connections come from the power cord’s positive locking, which keeps the connection between the plug and socket nice and tight, and requires the user to actively disengage the cord to remove it. This eliminates any chance the cord might simply fall out of the car socket, averting a safety hazard.

Among the unknowns, thus far, are the length of the cable (and whether there will be options there), the cost of a replacement cable, and whether it can be extended on its grid-plug end with a standard heavy-duty extension cord. A broader question is whether plug-in cars can practically be used by drivers without garages or carports of any kind—those who park at the curb, for instance.


Let’s Get Smart, About Charging Our Plug-in Hybrids

A standard power cord carries only power, nothing more. But one day, your local utility will want to encourage you to charge your car in their “off-peak” hours, when they have plenty of spare power. The lowest demand for any utility comes from 11 pm to 5 am, and utilities will likely give hefty discounts to owners who agree to let the utility decide when their car should start charging during those hours.

Here’s the vision: You come home, plug in your car, and go about your evening. Through “smart meters” now being installed in many California homes (and in other locations), the utility will know that you’ve connected a car to that particular electric plug. If you’ve signed up for off-peak car charging, the utility will assess its overall load, and then decide when to start sending power to your car. It might start charging the cars in a neighborhood in sequence, to prevent them all switching on simultaneously.

In return for letting your power company control the charging time, you’ll get much cheaper rates on that power. For purposes of reference, by the way, charging an electric car is roughly the same as operating four plasma TV sets.

That’s the vision, anyway. The first Volts and electric cars that roll out in 2010 aren’t likely to take advantage of smart charging, but those cars will last 10 years or more—and by 2020, such schemes will surely be available in more advanced parts of the country.

To make all this possible, the power grid has to be able to communicate with the vehicle. So extra wires, just for communications traffic, are built into the charging cable. The signals that come from the smart meter will enter the car via these channels, and the meter will in turn receive data from the car—on how large the battery pack is, how much energy it will need, and so forth.

And that’s something your regular old extension cord just can’t handle.


  • Bryce

    That’s amazing. Can’t wait.

    Go Electric!

    Go Volt!

  • Eric

    So will the wall plug end be swappable to allow the user to charge off a 220v plug for faster charging? A lot of people already have such a plug in their garages for their hot water heater.

  • TD

    >This eliminates any chance the cord might simply fall out of the car socket, averting a safety hazard.

    Please don’t tell me their engineers are actually stupid enough to have the male end of the connector live!

  • jvoelcker

    @Eric: Whether there will be two cords, or one cord with a swappable plug end, is one of the many details GM hasn’t yet seen fit to release. Good question!

    @TD: There may well be logic within the plug electronics that only turns the power live once the plug is properly connected into the car. And if you look closely at some of the videos on GM’s site, it’s not a traditional “male” end but more like a large-scale computer jack and plug.

  • ex-EV1 driver

    Don’t forget folks, one wants to charge EVs in the rain and slush. Therefore, a good deal of waterproofing and safety is required going beyond standard appliances.
    I hope this standard gets completed soon so manufacturers can start producing equipment.

  • JP

    Why would they need extra wires? Shouldn’t they just use comm over power technology?

  • kv

    wow this is amazing, i can’t wait till i can see one face to face.

  • steved28

    EV1, they just need to incorporate a ground fault design. Same as required in any new kitchen or bathroom circuit in the U.S. Nothing ground breaking here. (no pun intended)

  • Docaaron1

    I don’t get it. Why don’t they hard wire the cord to the car and make it retractable like some vacuum cleaners do? That way you just plug the cord into the house electrical outlet in one step not two.

    While they’re at it why not put the cord behind a fold down license plate like they use to do with the gas cap before they found it wasn’t a safe place for the gas line. An electrical cord with proper fuse protection should be fine there.

    They also need to add a home docking station for those that want it.

    Looking forward to the Volt-age,
    Aaron

  • Dan L

    steved28, the goal is not simply safety in the rain and slush, but to actually recharge in that environment. GFI keeps someone from getting killed, but it also keeps everything else from happening. Imagine building a curb side recharging station that works in a freezing rain, while it is growing a coat of ice. It sounds like a rather challenging problem, actually.

  • Zero X owner

    To whoever wrote the article:

    Err, way to spread misinformation. The article you lifted the plasma quote from in Chief Engineer states that one plasma TV uses the same power as four plug in electric cars. You got that exactly backwards. Plug in hybrid recharging actually uses one-sixteenth the power that you claim.

    My fully electric drive lithium power pack daily commuter vehicle uses a regular cord and plug (no extension cord necessary in my case – I have regular outlets available in my garage, on the outside of my house, in local parking garages (free parking from my city, too) and can also carry my swappable lithium power pack around it’s so light, so I can (and do) recharge literally anywhere there is an outlet). I can already toss on any smart meter, inverter (for vehicle to grid (V2G)), timer, 110 to 220 volt converter, or any other electronic gear I want between the regular plug and the regular outlet. Big whoop. Electric inverters and timers are dirt cheap at any big box hardware store, and are small, light, portable and very easy to use. I know this because I actually use them.

    This article seems to think we don’t already have over a century of experience plugging in appliances to regular household and business electrical outlets when we have them near an outlet and unplugging them when we want to move them. All the fancy interactive stuff you mention is just frosting on the cake.

    The special infrastucture and/or docking stations required is none. Just bonk the three pronged end of your cord (it comes with the vehicle – whichever way of the infinite choices the manufacturer chose) into any regular grounded outlet and there you are. You have plugged in a lamp or appliance (hair dryer, curling iron, clothes iron, cordless power tool or cell phone for recharging, etc.) at least once in your life, right? Same deal.

  • jvoelcker

    @Zero X: Not sure where your info is coming from. The link below (among *many* other references citing Plugin 2008) appears to contradict your assertion that a PHEV uses one-quarter the power of a plasma TV set:
    http://www.cnn.com/2008/TECH/ptech/07/23/electriccars.grid.ap/index.html

  • jvoelcker

    @Zero X: To be absolutely clear, my piece says, “charging an electric car is roughly the same as operating four plasma TV sets”, which is supported by enormous numbers of references. That is,
    1 PHEV = 4 plasma TVs

    I am not familiar with the piece you cite in Chief Engineer, which may have gotten the argument backwards. But your comment above appears to say
    4 PHEVs = 1 plasma TV
    and I don’t believe that is supported by the data.

  • Zero X owner

    http://www.chiefengineer.org/content/content_display.cfm/seqnumber_content/3514.htm

    I also have real world experience of how much power recharging an electric vehicle takes from the production electric drive vehicle that I own and use daily. And the production electric vehicle you own and use is what?

    The name of this site should maybe be “Spreading FUD about hybridCARS.” What is FUD?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fear,_uncertainty_and_doubt

  • Bryce

    Maybe to settle this little bout……I have heard that recharging a PHEV is like using your refrigerator. Can you guyus agree on that. : )

  • jvoelcker

    @Bryce: Here are the annual kWh usages projected by the Volt team based on 15K miles a year.

    Caveat: I don’t know the details of their model, so I don’t know if it’s 40 miles or less daily, how much the gasoline engine is switched on, etc. But here’s what their model says:

    Home heating 3524 kWh
    Central air conditioning 2796 kWh
    Refrigerator-freezer 2610 kWh
    Water heater 2550 kWh
    CHEVROLET VOLT 2520 kWh
    Clothes dryer 1079 kWh

    So in fact recharging the Volt (under this set of unknown assumptions) IS roughly equivalent to the load of one fridge.

  • Zero X owner

    @ the writer:

    Thank you for putting the manufacturer’s unspecified guess in terms that folks are familiar with (most have a fridge and know this is not a huge part of their electric bill compared to heating or cooling, where many folks do not have plasma TV, regardless of the # of plasma TVs per Volt).

    To put the Volt into a real world persceptive, my fully electric vehicle uses 300 kWh annual based on 15K miles a year, based on actual real world use in aggressive, commuter traffic and careful data collection over 1,170 miles. I have a 2kW power pack in my vehicle. I’ve heard the Volt plans on a 16kW power pack, which would be 2400 kWh on all electric if it was as efficient as my vehicle. The Volt looks way more aerodynamically efficient than my vehicle, but it’s hauling around a lot more empty space and extra weight (including engine and gas) most of time, so that would probably explain why the planned 2010 Volt seems 4.8% less efficient than my 2008 production electric vehicle when the difference in power pack size (8 times) is controlled. Still, the numbers you provided from the Volt team are close enough to the pure electric equivalent of my real world electric vehicle use experience that I believe them. If that use is equivalent to 4 plasma TVs, then I bow to that (EPRI just had a new statement that it’s equal to 7 plasma TVs). To put that in perspective, the annual “fuel” bill for my electric vehicle going 15,000 miles is $36.00.

    Thank you for sharing actual numbers that I can compare with my real world production electric vehicle. I like the turn the discussion has taken away from the false uncertainty that the original article implied about plugging in electric vehicles, which for every production one that I’ve seen (and I’ve now seen dozens) is like plugging in any regular electric appliance.

    The major point that this article leads with, that you can’t use just any old cord with a plug in electric vehicle, is dead wrong so long as the vehicle has a standard three prong plug at the consumer end, which every current, real world production electric vehicle that I’ve seen, including the one I own, does have. That means that you absolutely can plug a plug in electric vehicle into a standard orange extension cord (I’ve done it, just to show it’s possible, though not necessary for me) , so long as as the extension cord is as beefy as the cord you are using it with (common sense – an example would be for a heavy duty electric weed trimmer). It’s irritating that you show the wrong end of the cord on the Volt. Who cares how it attaches to the device being powered, so long as it does attach? It’s the end that the consumer has to plug in that matters. And that end can be just a regular plug, which you insist on not showing.

    You youself say that “Every car will come with its own cord with … a standard three-prong plug on the other end to plug into the wall socket”, which contradicts your headline and the misleading photographs.

    In the other picture, you have the person’s hand hiding the plug that they are plugging into some uncessesary pole thing. We have hundreds of millions of electrical sockets already in the country, millions of them already outdoors. How about we start with those? I do with my production electric vehicle.

  • Zero X owner

    @ Eric

    I suspected that one hidden debate here was 110 versus 220. The huge after market selection of cheap, small, light, easy to use adaptors makes that a total non-issue, even if it’s not already built into the end product. I can (and do) easily use either and so can you.

  • jvoelcker

    @Zero X: Thank you for acknowledging the plasma TV/EV charging load ratio. I had not seen the latest EPRI figures, but perhaps newer plasma TVs are designed to use less power.

    This is not an article about whether or not a PHEV’s charging cord can be plugged into a standard extension cord. As noted, the consumer end has a standard three-prong male plug. It can be plugged into any standard three-prong female plug.

    However, charging will not automatically go live at that point. The car-end connector will run various safety routines and test logic beforehand.

    You may not be aware that many third-party PHEV converters use a standard male three-prong plug on the vehicle. In this case, a standard extension cord *is* the only one needed to charge, and it can be plugged *directly* into (or onto) the car.

    That will not be the case for production PHEVs, EREVs, and EVs from GM, Ford, and Toyota. Those firms have all agreed to fit the SAE J1172 (revised) standard plug described and shown in the article. Many PHEV enthusiasts do not realize that; the article is intended to address that misconception.

  • jvoelcker

    @Eric: According to a member of the Volt team, some electrical codes *may* require that a 220V charging cable be hard-wired in place.

    That is, if your garage (or carport) has 220V power, you would have a fixed cable with a charging plug on the end permanently attached. The 110V cable would be detachable and travel with the car.

  • steved28

    Dan wrote:

    “the goal is not simply safety in the rain and slush, but to actually recharge in that environment. GFI keeps someone from getting killed, but it also keeps everything else from happening. Imagine building a curb side recharging station that works in a freezing rain, while it is growing a coat of ice. It sounds like a rather challenging problem, actually.”

    GFI keeps everything else from happening???? Like what? It simply detects current passing via a path it should not be taking. I have GFI outlets on outside receptacles on my house, that I power an electric shovel with in the middle of a blizzard. They don’t trip. This is not rocket science or new technology.

  • Zero X owner

    @ the writer

    Sorry to quibble, but small confusions lead to major frustrations.

    I’m using (unecessarily) an orange extension cord from my garage to make my point.

    I still find your first sentence highly misleading. When you ask me to “imagine plugging an electric … car [vehicle in my case] into the wall to recharge, what do you envision in your hand”, what I ienvision in my hand is a regular three prong (110 or 220) plug (on the consumer end), because that’s what I actually do. I’m doing it right now. I’m looking at my hand and in my hand is a three prong plug on a regular orange extension cord that I’m plugging into the wall. The other end of the cord is connected to my power pack charger. In the case of the Volt, it could be an orange extension cord plugged into the Volt charging cord (consumer end). My power pack charger says my power pack is full. Time to commute to work on it…

    Now if you had said “imagine plugging an electric CORD into an electric or plug in hybrid VEHICLE to recharge”, you would have had me at hello. Once people have more experience actually using plug in electric drive vehicles, they won’t make such simple descriptive errors.

  • jvoelcker

    @Zero X: I’m sorry you were confused. With respect, I doubt that more than a very few of our readers have ever driven or plugged in a PHEV or EV–and so they’re likely to have fewer concrete images to draw on than you do.

    In any case, I’m glad we at least understand each other’s arguments now.

  • Bryce

    hooray for the refrigerator analogy. 15,000 miles a year is a lot though, I know I don’t drive that much. : )

  • EV Tester

    Was just reading the thread and wanted to add my two cents. In SAE Standard J1772, there are three charge levels that are designated for electric drive over the road vehicles (8500 GVW and below). Level I – is 120V @ 15/20 amp with nominal being 15 amps. NEC code only allows max. of 80% of rated outlet for 1.44 Kw max charging rate for typical OEM production vehicles and PHEV conversions currently offered. Level II – covers 240V charging and under the new SAE J1772 definition could go as high as 70 amps, but typical is 40A with 32A actual draw (NEC max.). That provides for a 6.6Kw max charge rate. The Tesla is the only vehicle so far that has a charging system that can take the full 70A @ 240V. Under the NEC 625, the 240V charging requires an approved “electric vehicle supply equipment” (EVSE) that has a hard wired vehicle coupler/connector. The EVSE provides a safe charging system providing information to the car over the pilot wire (one of the wires in the charging cordset) on available voltage, current capacity and ground fault protection. Only when the vehicle gets all the necessary information over the pilot wire will the car start charging. Future vehicle to EVSE information needed for other charging functions and smart charging will use PLC communications. Level III- is charging at over 14.4Kw and is generally using an off-board DC charger, charging at approx. 300VDC directly to the battery but communicating with the on-boaqrd charge controller.

    The direction seems to be that most OEM product will probably use Level II charging for shortened charge times and better battery conditioning and management, though most will provide a convenience cordset that will allow you to connect to a 120V outlet.

    Hope this helps clarify the charging questions.

  • Paul819

    I’m not really buying this “Special Cord, For Good Reasons” bit. I mean, the advantage to driving an EV is the ubiquity of electricity and standard plugs, and the potential for electricity to eventually be generated by renewables rather than fossil fuels. There’s an obvious waste of energy that comes with turning a fossil fuel first into e-, and transporting that electricity rather than the more direct use of power that currently comes direct or from burning non-renewables. Similarly there would be a waste in having to switch to the gas engine after 40 miles because I’m not near a charging station when standard electrical outlets are everywhere. Doesn’t having a special plug mean unnecessary and expensive changes to the infrastructure so that utility companies and can continue to regulate and profit from new sources of power, wind and solar that besides the initial investment in infrastructure and maintenance are essentially free? People will be making adaptors to be able to plug their car in anywhere.

  • Ross Nicholson

    First: GM spent millions on this, making a plug look like a gas pump? Wow. Talk about stupid! It’s big, it looks heavy, so I’ll have to drag the silly plug to plug around with me? No way, Jose. GM really does need to lay off 1/4 of their engineers. If they insist on it, I’ll just rip mine out and put in a standard receptacle. I have a garage and I’m not dumb enough to plug in something in a rain storm. A GFCI I could understand, but Jeez guys! Don’t make up a problem where none exists! USE STANDARD PARTS that already work. For instance, you don’t need the big, elaborate gas tank cover, either. USE standard outdoor parts. People will know how to use standard electrical plugs and cords. We know how to be careful with them. We know how to repair them already, too. (Or we call an electrician.) This whole concept is by some kindergarten moron. If this took half a day of some first day puppy, I’d be surprised.
    Second: Primary duty to recharge the car’s batteries will be near the road anyway (via a non-contact Tesla coil while the car is moving), so the plug is not going to be used that much eventually. LEAVE A SPACE UNDERNEATH DOWN THE MIDDLE OF THE CAR TO PUT THE RECHARGE COIL.

  • Zero X owner

    @ Paul819 – Thanks for seconding that the article is confusing, mostly due to to the logical flaws between the first three sentences, in my opinion. The use of a special cord with a weird thingy on the vehicle end will not prevent you from using a regular orange extension cord on the consumer end, nor will it prevent you from plugging into a regular wall socket anywhere, nor will it require a special adaptor.

    Here’s your answer from the writer, in a response above:

    “This is not an article about whether or not a PHEV’s charging cord can be plugged into a standard extension cord. As noted, the consumer end has a standard three-prong male plug. It can be plugged into any standard three-prong female plug.”

    Orange extension cords and wall sockets have standard three prong female plugs.

    In other words, the cord, on the consumer end, works exactly as normal with existing electrical infrastrucure, as is.

    For clarity, I think the headline needs to be different and the photographs need to show both ends of the cord, with both 110 and 220 plug setups on the consumer end. For real clarity, the first and second sentence should be deleted and the third sentence should read something like ‘”[P]roduction electric-drive vehicles will all use a special cord, with a plug and socket on the car end that’s [standard, yet] unlike any you’ve seen before”, while the “the consumer end [of the cord]” will have “a standard three-prong male plug”, that “can be plugged into any standard three-prong female plug”, such as “a standard extension cord” or existing electrical outlets.’.

    If what I and the writer have claimed will not be true for the consumer end of the cord, Volt better get the details out to the media ASAP and do a massive education campaign.

    The first paragraph of the article, the title and photographs, as they are, simply frighten and confuse some readers who then won’t bother to read or understand the excellent remainder of the article.

  • Zero X owner

    Separate from my above comments, I very much appreciate and applaud the plans to have smart grid charging, with vehicle to grid capabilities, timing sophistication for power load smoothing and power pack management and maintenance systems automated. I stongly feel, however, that should be a separate article. The writer is trying to cover too many topics at once and that’s just going to confuse the general public who have limited or no experience with plug in vehciles due to major manufacturers’ refusal to make, market and distribute them properly in the past.

    Even sophisticated enthusiasts need regular reassurance on the basics, that the design can and will work with the existing infrastrucrure as is, even with the special frosting (V2G, etc.) later planned for that cake.

    How I’d divvy the information up:

    article 1) The cords for all future production plug in vehicles will have normal consumer ends that consumers can plug into existing outlets exactly as they do any appliance – brainlessly easy. Oh, by the way, the vehicle end will have a standard weird thingy that attaches to the vehicle, just as your cell phone recharger cord has a standard weird thingy attachment to your cell phone when you recharge it.

    article 2) Follow up to article 1. Future plug in vehicles will have internal and cord vehicle end features that will allow for interactions that will maximize your battery life. The consumer end of the recharging cord will be a standard male plug that plugs into existing outlets exactly as with any appliance – brainlessly easy.

    article 3) Follow up to article 1. Some gory details that the average plug in vehicle user won’t care about. This is for those people who want detailed information on how the condensers and coils in their refrigerator work. The vehicle end of all future plug in vehicle recharging cords will assist in V2G, smart grid interface, timers, peak v. off-peak, power smoothing, cost savings to consumers from more efficient and intelligent grid use. The consumer end of the recharging cord will be a standard male plug that plugs into existing outlets exactly as with any appliance – brainlessly easy.

    Article 4) If you want to use a 220 outlet for your plug in vehicle in your home in some areas, you may need a regular residential electrician do a little inexpensive work to mount a particular dedicated outlet/cord in your garage or wherever it makes sense. This is no more complicated than if you had a stacking clothes washer/dryer installed where you weren’t set up for one before and may even be much simpler than that depending on your particular house eletrical set up and your local codes.

    etc., etc.

  • Brian Fisher

    I suspect that the reason the car manufacturers want to have “weird thingys” that plug into their vehicles is that there may be more money to be made. Imagine if the smart plug was incorporated into the car. Then all one would need to charge the battery would be an ordinary extension cord.

    The advantage of a weird thingy is that it can break or get lost or stolen. Also who wouldn’t want one for the home and office rather than having to pack it up each time the vehicle is charged? And because it’s high tech imagine how much they can charge for a replacement?

    Prior experience has shaped my thinking on this one: When I misplaced my key fob for our 2001 Prius I found out it was going to cost over $200 for a new one. Beats me why it was more than 3 times the price of a normal Toyota key fob. I never could get a straight answer on any of the Prius lists when I asked the question.

  • Zero X owner

    @ Brian

    Good point. Why not just have the smart plug, like the charger, incorporated into the vehicle, so that a standard, existing extension cord works? That’s how most existing production vehicle models that I’ve seen (Zap, Zenn) work (special electronic bits are part of the vehicle when possible).

    At last, some clear writing that recognizes that most manufactures may be more concerned about gaming immediate aftermarket revenues (pricey custom designed replacement parts) than about getting broad market penetration through a new product benefit (electric drive performance) into an otherwise saturated domestic market (automobiles in general). It’s all about replacement rates at this point – come up with a better moustrap (electric drive linear torque – once you’ve experienced what it can be, you’ll never want the herky-jerky bottom of gear slowness of gas only again) and everyone will mostly (we still have 9 million horses) replace their old mousetraps, with significant market penetration starting after about a decade.

  • FEDLPPDCV

    To the writer – I would just like to let you know I read this article and was not confused in the least about your article. I was surprised to find that others were confused. Just wanted to let you know there are some of us that understood your article at face value and did not feel “mislead”.

  • Lenny Stoltman

    I say get rid of the plug – what we really should use is an inductive charger that automatically connects/dis-connects when you pull your car into/out of the garage. Communications/info could be piggybacked on the power cable. The system could also be set up to power the house from the car in the event of a power outage with a little planning. No fuss, no muss, no problem.

  • Maria Hana

  • Joe the Electric Vehicle Owner

    @ FEDLPPDCV

    Perhaps my confusion came from the fact that I have real world, daily experience with a plug-in electric vehicle and can use any old cord, including an orange extension cord to plug it into the wall and into the charger that goes to my vehicle.

    No weird, special cord is needed and that idea just seems like another unnecessary, artificial barrier to consumers from a clueless industry to me. Regardless, from over a century of using household elctrical appliances, users confronted by any cord, n omatter how weird, will bonk each end into whatever fits that end (wall outlet and appliance, separately).

    I do appreciate the writer’s telling us what’s coming and also appreciate how difficult it is to generate excitement over: Look! A cord that you use to plug in an electrical appliance.

    Gotta run – having trouble figuring out how to fit my electric shaver into its recharger unit. :)

  • Larry M

    As these plug-ins become more common, and apartment dwellers demand external outlets for charging, what will prevent the theft of this metered electricity? does the J1772 cord allow a thief to simply unplug your cord from your car and attach it to their car?

  • mark yates

    This is electricity used in a year kiloWatt hours hWh.
    In terms of actual load when charging:
    20 inch LCD = 60 watts
    40 inch LCD = 120-200 watts
    50 inch plasma = 300-400 watts
    fridge freezer 100-300 watts (when cooling)
    1 bar fire = 1000 watts
    kettle = 3000 watts
    water heating shower = 8500 watts
    halogen hob = 3000-4500 watts per ring.
    Volt = 2200watts aprox (based on their own maths of charging 60% of a 18,500watt battery in about 6 hours.

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