The new Hong Kong CLP triple-combo EV charger test - January 2016 CLP is now installing a triple standard charger from ABB. Before, they were installing ChaDeMo/J1772 dual chargers, while the new one is an AC/ChaDeMo/CCS charger So while (AC) J1772, the American standard, is gone, (AC) Mennekes Type-2 and (DC) CCS have taken the place instead, along with (DC) ChaDeMo. The main J1772 EV in HK is the Nissan Leaf - and since it can use ChaDeMo, that should be OK for this non-American market. I don't think any HK approved EV doesn't have at least one of these three plugs. It is 2016, and hence in the sign of the times, I will write the conclusion first, well knowing already now I will have lost many readers. QUESTIONS: 1) With three charging plugs in one charging unit, how many can be used simultaneously? 2) Is it possible to disconnect or stop other cars from charging? 3) Can the AC cable be extended with a basic AC charging cable? FINDINGS: 1) With one AC and two DC plugs, it was confirmed that only one DC charging plug can be charging. It is interesting to note, however, that when one DC connection is busy, the second one can be connected, recognised and "armed": This means that as soon as the first DC charging connector stops, the second one will start charging. The reason this is very important is because a) As long as there are sufficient parking spots in front of the charger, no car needs to move, and no person needs to stay behind, when two cars want to charge with DC. Simply plug in, press start - and as soon as the first car is either disconnected, or finishes charging *), the next DC charging will start. b) Since AC charging can be used regardless of DC is used or not, it is advised that parking lot management reserves three spots for each of these charging stations. Two cars can charge at the same time (one with AC and one with DC), while a third one can be plugged in, waiting, and will start to charge as soon as the other DC car stops charging. 2) This charging station has a separate octopus payment card reader. As can be seen below in the pictures, it is still wrapped up, obviously not in use yet. At the moment, any user can access the charging unit, and stop any or all of the cars from charging. It will even unlock the plugs (not tested, but that's what it says on the screen), which should make it possible to stop and disconnect another car from charging, even before it finishes, in order to charge another car. (We only tested stopping the charge, plugs were disconnected with owners present and cars unlocked. The Tesla Model S is using an adapter for charging, which obviously can be disconnected) 3) Normally, proper charging cables are protected against daisy-chaining (extending an existing charging cable). Since this charging station is tethered (it has it's own cables), we tested if the AC cable is configured as a cable, or as a socket. As expected, it is not possible to extend the AC cable - see pictures and further details below. *) We didn't actually wait for one car to finish charging by itself, to see the other one start, but only by stopping the charge manually from the charging station. It is, however, expected that an automatic switchover will occur, once the first DC charging car finishes. CONCLUSIONS: I) Up to two cars can charge (one AC and one DC) II) Up to three cars can be connected, two charging and one armed (if they can park close enough) III) Three parking spots should be allocated for each of these CLP (ABB) charging stations. Preferable covering 4 spots (2 pairs of back to back spots), due to the limited length of the cables, although three in-line spots will work, depending on which side of the car the charging spot is (BMW I3 has port on the right, Tesla Model S on the left, Nissan Leaf on the center hood/bonnet) - - - Here are details of the whole test, as it went. I arrived first in my Tesla Model S, which has dual chargers installed. First test was to confirm that I cannot use the type-2 AC "thick blue cable" to extend the tethered cable on the charging unit. In the name of science, there is no "think" or "believe", only "know". Here is my Model S connected to AC, using the blue cable: starting the charge from the ABB/CLP charging station ... ... but as expected, both the car and the charging station ends up with error messages. It does take a while for the charging station to do it's handshake and testing, seems like 30 seconds or so (didn't time it) The reason for testing this is that in case it was possible, it would extend the possibilities of using an adjacent spot for charging. But, "cannot" is the conclusion. Next up, connecting the car correctly, directly from the charging station, to the car - using the AC type-2 "Mennekes" plug (also called IEC 62192 - see IEC 62196 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia ) Now charging is fine, as expected. Dialling it down as much as I can, from inside the car, so the car doesn't finish charging before testing is complete: On DC charging, the charging rate cannot be adjusted. With two on-board chargers (dual charger) in the Model S, up to 22 kW can be charged (3 phases of 16 A each, giving a total of 6 channels with 230V and 16A each, but displayed as 3/32A): (it says 31A above when the picture was taken. Indications were fluctuating between 31A and 32A. The most important, though, is the voltage. Hong Kong grid voltage is as low as 205 V AC at some locations, despite supposed to be 230. A sufficient amount of local solar panels and wind turbines could help fix that! At least, when conditions are right) Charging time now goes from 7+ hours down to 45 minutes. As can be seen on the display, the charging station is actually able to offer 3 phase 62A charging, but the Model S is limited to 32A/3~ with dual chargers. One would need quad chargers to get the full 43kW, using AC! Back to 5A/3~ so we don't finish charging too soon. Now J arrives, so we have another Model S for more testing. His car is also with dual chargers, but more important: He has a ChaDeMo adapter (first time for me to try this. Though I don't need it, I want one at some stage). J's car is plugged in and parked next to mine - both cars charge at max rate (although the AC was dialled down to 5A at this stage, to slow charging. It was tested OK later, though, 22kW AC and 43kW ChaDeMo is fine) Next challenge: Since only 2 spots here were reserved for EV charging, we have ICE cars on both sides of the charging station. Now that R arrived in his wife's BMW I3, how can we test charging of three cars? Looking for solutions, I just knew there was a way. J, the other Model S driver, came up with a brilliant solution: So we moved the two Model S out, and R could position the BMW I3 across the two charging spots, up against the charging station. This is where click-bait articles would write "You won't belive what happened next ...". We could probably have done it differently, but in the heat of the moment, this solution made most sense, just as much as it was amusing: With the AC charging cable for my Model S literally passing through the I3, it enabled us to connect all three cars, with only two parking spots and very limited length of the tethered charging station cables. We were told that it was believed the two DC connections (ChaDeMo and CCS) could not connect at the same time - well, it was time to find out. We started my car with AC and the I3 with CCS, which, as expected, didn't present any problems. Then we connected J's Model S with the ChaDeMo adapter. Pressing ChaDeMo on the screen: So we can connect all three cars, and even get a handshake for all - but it tells us there is no charging power available. Yet offers us the option to click "start". What happens when we press start? Brilliant! The first car connected and charging with DC remains charging, while the second DC is "armed". As long at there are enough spots to physically park close enough to the charger, charging will automatically switch to the next car, when the first one is either done, or disconnected. This means two things: a) The person with the car waiting to charge with DC does not have to stay at the car to activate charging b) The car already charging with DC does not need to be moved or disconnected, before the second one can start In other words, the changeover will happen while both drivers are having coffee - maybe even in the same coffee shop This doesn't excuse people from moving when done charging, though. Maybe the next car needs to charge with the same plug? It's time for the BMW i3 to leave - thank you, R, for helping out. Before J, my very patient family and I go for dinner, we swap so I can try the ChaDeMo. As expected, it gives me the full 43 kW (which this charging station is limited to, times two - one AC and one DC). Some ChaDeMo stations offer even higher charging rates - but what is the Tesla ChaDeMo adapter itself limited to? In any case - since charging tapers off towards the end of charging, ChaDeMo won't take much more time than supercharging. This ABB charging unit in a HK CLP setup consists of two "towers", as there is a separate tower for the upcoming payment station (so far, payment is required from 2017 and onwards, unless it is - yet again - postponed by a year). This Octopus payment station is clearly not active yet, as can be seen in some of the pictures above, as well as a video below. It is interesting to note, that as it's working at the moment, any person can stop the charging, of any car. This means that - despite the automatic function of charging the next car - it is possible that an inconsiderate EV owner/driver can deactivate another car, in order to charge their own right away - rather than waiting for it to finish. We didn't test it, but it's even possible that the CCS and/or ChaDeMo can be unlocked this way. For sure, the Tesla ChaDeMo adapter can be stopped AND disconnected. Hopefully, this will not be possible once the Octopus payment station is activated (card needed to disconnect?) - Other than that, the main downside here is - typically for Hong Kong - it's really, really tight, especially with two Model S charging: Thank you, ABB, for making such a nice charging station, and thank you, HK CLP, for installing these. Does anyone recognise this charging station from other markets than Hong Kong - maybe around Europe? The findings we did could possibly be the same, feel free to comment below and I will update this post accordingly. All we need now is for all these locations to allocate at least THREE parking spots, for each of these units. And lots more to be installed, to cater for the ever increasing sales of EVs in Hong Kong. Parking spots located as close as possible to the unit, optimum would be surrounding the charger so it's not against a wall, but in the middle of 4 back-to-back parking spots. I also made a few videos, where I TRY to speak slowly. Yes, I am a bit excited, so it's not always clear what I am saying. All I am saying should already be mentioned in the text above. Science experiments ARE exciting ... If you made it this far - thank you for your patience and interest - - - Updated - - - I can post a maximum of 5 videos in one post - so there are three more videos in the next post.