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Volt-ampere = volts x amps = watts




Kilowatt (unit of measurement for power)


Kilowatt hours (unit of measurement for amounts of energy)


Alternating Current. The public electricity network is operated with alternating current.


Direct Current. Batteries work with direct current.


Hertz. Oscillation frequency in the AC network. Central Europe has agreed on 50 Hz, i.e. the electricity network switches between + and - polarization 50 times per second.




Combined Charging System (AC/DC charging)


Japanese connector for DC charging. Pronounced “tschademoo”.


European standard


International Commission on Rules for the Approval of Electrical Equipment

CEE16, CEE32, CEE63, CEE125

CEE standardised connector, used worldwide. The number refers to the maximum amps that can be passed through it.


The driver of an electric vehicle


Electric Vehicle

RC circuit breaker

Residual current circuit breaker


RCD that detects AC residual currents and switches off the power, usually from 30mA


RCD that detects DC residual currents and switches off the power, usually from 10 to 30mA. Pointless for use with e-cars as this quantity of DC residual current blinds the upstream RCD A rendering it impossible to trigger.


RCD that detects AC residual currents from 30mA and DC residual currents from 6mA and switches off the power. Specially developed for requirements during EV charging.


International Electrotechnical Commission (Standardisation committee)

Inductive charging

Wireless charging with magnetic fields


International Protection Codes, describes the protection against contact/dust and against water

Capacitive charging

Wireless charging using electrical fields

Conductive charging

Charging by direct connection to a power source via cable


Abbreviation for the phase (“Line”) in cables and connectors. In three-phase connectors, the lines are numbered L1, L2 and L3.


Abbreviation for the neutral wire in cables and connectors.


Residual Current Device


Total Cost Of Ownership




Abbreviation for the protective conductor (potential earth) in cables and connectors.


The power wire in a cable that takes the power from the mains to the switch or outlet. Brown, grey or black sheathing. Marked with “L”.

Neutral wire

Carries power from the appliance back to the source to create a balance. Yellow or blue sheathing. Marked “N”. Often colloquially referred to as the “zero conductor”.

Protective conductor

The conductor that leads the potential shock current away to the earth. Marked “PE”, from potential earth. Colloquially often referred to as “earth”, “earthing” or “earth wire”.

Mode1, Mode2, Mode3, Mode4

Charging modes that refer to the type of EV charging.

Typ1, Typ2, Typ3(a-c)

Connector types that have been specially developed for charging EVs.






VOLT livens things up

Electric voltage is measured in volts (V). If you were to compare the power with the flow of water, volts would be equivalent to the pressure with which the water flows through a water pipe. Electric voltage is the pressure with which electrons flow through an electric line. Throughout Europe by the way, the conventional domestic power outlets produce 230V of AC current. In North America it is just 115V. Wikipedia provides a clear map showing the standards in various countries.

AMP is strong

Current strength is measured in amps (A). Let’s compare that to the water pipe again: the bigger the diameter of the pipe, the more water flows through the pipe and the greater the quantity of water and thus the water or current strength. Amps therefore indicate how many electrons pass through a defined cross section within a specific period of time.

WATT performs the conversion

Watt (W; 1kW = 1000W) refers to the energy consumption per period of time and is calculated from V x A (volts times amps). Back to the water pipe: the greater the pressure and the stronger the water flow, the more energy can be obtained from it.
kWh (kilowatt hours) are then the number of kilowatts times hours of operating time needed to power an electrical device.


kW, kWh or what?

One tip for looking as cool as James Bond slurping his Martinis as an e-driver: get used to using the right technical terms. A lot of people have particular difficulty distinguishing between kW and kWh - it's really quite simple:

kW (kilowatt) stands for the power. Put simply, it is the force.
kWh (kilowatt hours) refers to an amount of energy. So simplified, it is the quantity of energy needed if the force above is exerted for 1 hour.

In other words:
The charging capacity is calculated in kW. “Per hour” is redundant - power is power. A combustion engine is also not referred to as 136 HP per hour. Just 136 HP.
Instead it is true that you can charge 22 kWh per hour. Kilowatt hours are a quantity of energy or work.
How can you remember that? With 22 kWh, you can drive for one hour if you manage to keep the Model S consumption display (orange indicator to the right of the speedometer) at 22 kW (without h). This is the case, for example, at 100 km/h. If you drive faster, the consumption display moves (for example) to 44 kW. This would mean that the same 22 kWh are consumed after just half an hour.
Conversely, with 22 kW charging, I can “fuel up” with the energy needed for this - namely 22 kWh - in one hour. If my charger only has an 11 kW output however, I can only charge 11 kWh in one hour. I therefore need 2 hours to refuel 22 kWh.

An example makes it clearer

A large Tesla Model S rechargeable battery is known to hold 85 kWh. In other words, enough energy for a hairdryer with a power of 1000 W (= 1 kW) to dry your hair for 85 hours.

For technical specialists: self-discharge etc. will be ignored.
For hairdressers: Only dry for 40 hours in the case of brittle hair.


Think for yourself and stay powered for longer

The building’s electrical installation and fuse protection determine how much “power” can be obtained. The supply lines must also have the requisite diameter too of course.
In general, the following applies: All of the information here is provided for reference only. It reflects the opinion of numerous experts consulted, to the best of their knowledge and belief. For legal reasons however, we must also refuse to accept any liability and we must point out that all users are responsible for their own actions. Installations can also vary from venue to venue and can get hot, even with low electricity supply, e.g. due to wear to the contacts, incorrectly fitted outlets or connecting damaged cables. In the worst case scenario, this could result in ignition before any remote fuse is triggered. Common sense is therefore always a good guide and feeling cables and connectors regularly to check heat development is advisable.

In practice, in Europe we mainly encounter the following configurations:

  • 230V 10A (mainly in Switzerland). If the building is not very old, you can load up to 13A.
  • 230V 13A (virtually all of Europe, including all new buildings in Switzerland).
  • 230V 16A (with almost all Schuko outlets in Europe and with the single-phase CEE 16 blue connectors (so-called camping plugs))
  • 400V 10A three-phase (there is also the T15 connector in Switzerland, but lines are almost always fused to 16A)
  • 400V 16A three-phase (in Switzerland there is the T15 and the similar looking T25 connector)
  • 400V 16A three-phase CEE 16 (fortunately the round red connector is a new EU and even worldwide standard)
  • 400V 32A three-phase CEE 32 (fortunately the round red connector is a new EU and even worldwide standard)

Alternating Current and Direct Current

There are two types of current. There is no difference in how they are used however, only how they are obtained. Any flow of current has two poles: the positive pole, to which the (negatively charged) electrons are attracted, and the negative pole, which returns them again. But exactly what is the difference and why is it used?


Alternating current

Alternating current changes its direction and polarity periodically. It has been used in current transmissions since the early 20th century and is most commonly used for current transmission worldwide. Since AC power lines can be switched, they are suitable for use within meshed networks. The benefit of alternating current is that the voltage can be increased and decreased using a transformer. High voltages, which are then transformed to a lower voltage by the time they reach the end appliance, are used for transmission over long distances with the minimum of loss.

Direct current

With direct current, the electric current does not change its direction. The disadvantage of direct current lines is that they are only switchable with complex and expensive technology and are therefore not suitable for use in a meshed network. They are therefore currently used for point-to-point connections and are connected to the 50Hz supply network via transformer stations. These convert the energy to be transmitted from alternative current to direct current and, at the end of the transmission path, back from direct current into alternating current, so that the power can be transported back into the alternating current network.





Protection and Standards

“The device conforms to the standards” – what does that mean for customers and how can it be verified?
The sobering fact in a nutshell: The CE marking that indicates conformity with the standards, is so far only a self-declaration by the manufacturer. More and more critics are saying: “No complainant, no judge."

So, to help you judge for yourself better what one is used for, here is a little basic knowledge.

Residual Current Protection (Residual Current Circuit Breaker)

Officially called “RCD” today (Residual Current protective Device)

An RCD must be present in electrical installations, most people know that much. But what is the purpose of this device and how does it work?
Residual current protective devices prevent dangerously high residual currents and can prevent fatal injury due to electric shock.
The RCD is installed in any electrical circuit. Within that electrical circuit, it measures the amount of electricity flowing in and out. If these two values are identical, there is no risk. If one value is greater than the other, that means there is a defect somewhere in the electrical circuit in which power is being channelled out of the circuit - and can therefore be transmitted to people or objects. If this difference reaches a certain value, the RCD is triggered and the electrical circuit is interrupted at lightning speed.

Type A RCD

Type A records AC residual currents and pulsing DC residual currents. This is the standard RCD and is inexpensive. It interrupts the electrical circuit as soon as residual currents of over 30mA (milliamps) are reached.

Type A RCD (EV)

A residual current protective device (RCD) - specially designed for electric vehicles.
It is actually a combination of RCD A and RCD B. The latter trips earlier than the standard RCD B however to prevent any other upstream RCD As from being blinded. In the case of a standard RCD B, these would in particular be premagnetised and lose their protective function. An RCD A (EV) interrupts the flow of electricity in the case of AC residual currents of over 30 mA and DC residual currents of over 6 mA.

Type B RCD

Compared with type A, in addition to AC residual currents and pulsing DC residual currents, type B also registers DC residual currents that are still smooth.
Type B RCDs are also usually triggered with 30mA and therefore also blind upstream RCD As (e.g. installed in the building). If smooth DC residual currents can not be ruled out, an RCD B is required - even though we recommend an RCD A (EV) as stated above. So, for example, if the Renault Zoe (known for its DC residual currents due to the lack of galvanic separation) is charging and the hairdryer falls in the bath at the same time, mum really shouldn’t get into the bath because even the house RCD A will no longer be triggered.

Each charging station must also have its own RCD. The line can not have a splitter (i.e. no other consumer can be connected). If multiple charging stations are being supplied, the cumulative total must also be protected by an RCD to intercept cumulative residual currents. Instead of a costly type B RCD, we recommend a type A RCD (EV) with DC residual current detection.



Official standards determine the standards in terms of quality and safety. Although they have no legislative value, they are still binding in many sectors. They are often also a requirement for correct product approval - particularly in the electrical sector.

In the fledgling electric mobility sector, many of the standards in this respect had only achieved recommendation status by around late 2015. These stipulations have now been improved very practically however and hence in early 2016 they now represent a kind of minimum quality standard.

By applying the well-known CE mark, manufacturers are declaring that they are vouching for the fact that their product satisfies the applicable requirements and meets the relevant standards.

Electrical standards are set worldwide by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) headquartered in Genf. At a lower level, the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardisation (CENELEC) defines the European standards and each country in turn sets the country-specific standards.

These standards indicate how a device must be constructed to be regarded as “safe”. The standards predominantly relate to the following aspects:

- Ensuring the protection and safety of goods against all risks (overload, short circuit, voltage drop)
- Ensuring the protection and safety of people (risk of electric shock)
- Ensuring the durability of the system and simplifying its operation.