% IMO, a 14-50 plug on a 3kW EVSE for use @RV parks is dumb/a waste of
hours. If the EVSE were 6 to 10kW, then a 14-50 plug makes sense. Else, a
6-20 is the least expensive 3kW outlet to install at your work place parking
lot, or at home. The few drivers that use RV parks for several hours of slow
3kW charging can obtain a 6-20 to 14-50 adaptor.
IMO, all dual AC-input voltage L2-3kW/L1 EVSE should be uniform and have the
same 6-20 plug, with (pigtail) adaptors offered as an option. %
Dual-voltage electric-car charging cords: plug confusion for 240 volts?
Nov 22, 2017 John Voelcker
TurboCord Dual 120V and 240V adapter
2016 Volvo XC90 T8 with AeroVironment TurboCord Level 2 charging cord
NEMA 6-50 plug
NEMA 6-50 socket
NEMA 6-50 plug in socket
When the first few thousand electric cars went on sale in California in the
mid- to late 1990s, they used various different charging methods, each with
its own dedicated charging stations.
Given the high cost of installing different infrastructure for different
makes of car, that proved a not-inconsiderable impediment.
When electric cars returned to the market in 2011, that mistake was largely
All plug-in vehicles sold in the U.S. except Teslas now use the familiar
round charging connector, known as J-1772.
Even Tesla provides an adaptor cable so standard public charging stations
can be used with the special receptacle it fits to its cars (except in
Starting in 2011, every electric car came with a charging cord in the trunk
to use North American 120-volt wall current to recharge the battery. That
was known as Level 1 charging.
Dedicated Level 2 charging stations, meanwhile, used 240-volt
current—effectively the same setup and wiring as an electric stove or
In due course, third-party companies had the idea that a charging cord that
could handle not just 120-volt wall current but also 240-volt power would
give electric-car drivers faster charging and extra flexibility.
It might also save them from the expense of installing their own Level 2
Thus the Aerovironment TurboCord, and later other similar portable EV
charging cords, were born. They consist of the standard charging cable,
attached to a plastic box containing the electronics.
Instead of a wire with a plug coming out of that, they offer a pair of
interchangeable plugs, often on cords known as "pigtails." One has the
standard three-prong grounded 120-volt plug, while the other has a different
plug that fits into a 240-volt wall socket.
That's where the problem comes in: more than one 240-volt wall socket exists
in the U.S. In fact, there are a few.
We surveyed the carmakers that now provide charging cords that handle both
voltages with their plug-in hybrids—specifically Audi, BMW, Nissan, and
Among the four brands, they use three different 240-volt plugs, all of them
standards created by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association,
known as NEMA.
BMW and Volvo both announced they will offer the TurboCord as original
equipment, with a NEMA 6-20 plug for 240-volt charging.
Audi's dual-voltage charging cord comes with a standard NEMA 6-50 pigtail,
but the option of ordering a NEMA 14-50 pigtail at additional cost.
Finally, Nissan will offer the 2018 Leaf with a pigtail using a NEMA 14-50
With the exception of Nissan, the three other makes come from countries that
use standard European 230-volt current—meaning a U.S. 120-volt connector is,
if anything, a downgrade to their standard charging cord.
Electricians will tell you that different plugs are used for different
applications, depending on the power of the appliance to be connected and
the maximum amperage of the dedicated circuit leading to it.
The problem of an electric-car driver arriving at a destination—often RV
parks, marinas, or even friends' homes with 240-volt appliance outlets—to
find the wrong NEMA outlet for 240-volt charging with their car's cord could
It's not, however, anything like as challenging as it was in the 1990s, when
some EVs used inductive paddle charging and others used cords and plugs.
With a bit of preparation, in fact, it's an eminently solvable problem.
All that's needed is for other makers to follow Audi's lead and offer a
choice of pigtails.
[© 2017 Green Car Reports]
[links searching 120 240v ac j1772 for dual L2-3kW/L1 EVSE
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