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Tricky terminology: Battery vs Cell & Charger vs EVSE

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by TEG, Dec 15, 2011.

  1. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    Just some comments for posterity:

    I notice, even for people in the EV industry for a long time, a tendency to struggle to use the term "battery" and "charger" correctly.

    Charger is confusing because for most AC charging, the "charger" is in the car, and the "EVSE" (electric vehicle service equipment) is in the pedestal/box outside which people frequently call the charger by mistake. For high speed DC, the big box outside really IS the charger, but not for more "run of the mill" AC connections. Since EVSE doesn't exactly roll off the tongue too easily, and isn't the most memorable term, I find some are trying to coin different terms to avoid falling into the "charger trap". Calling it the "connector box" for instance.

    In terms of "battery", the term really means a group of cells, so a typical EV has a battery box, with lots of cells inside. People make the mistake of saying "the batteries (plural) are in there", because they are used to calling individual cells "batteries" by mistake / old convention. Well, in the case of consumer power cells, there are "9V batteries" which have a stack of cells inside them so the term "battery" is correct for at least the 9V, but for AAA/AA/C/D/18650 the proper term is "cell".

    So when someone asks "how many batteries in your EV?", the correct response ought to be "one" with some number of cells inside. (e.g., "The Tesla Roadster ESS is a large battery box with 6831 18650 format cells inside.")
    Or if you want to be really picky, for many EVs, you would say "two" as there is likely also an aux 12V battery which has its' own internal structure of cells.
    (So 2.x Roadsters have 2 batteries, but 1.5s only have one.)
     
  2. JRP3

    JRP3 Hyperactive Member

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    I think "Charge cord" or "charger cord" might be good, since the "box" is basically a switch that allows the cord to provide power. It's really just a more complex and powerful 110V extension cord, the basic function is the same, connecting the in car charger to the grid.
     
  3. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    Well you could call it "pilot signal generator" or "safety interlock" or some-such.

    In some cases it could have other functions like "charging timer", or "energy monitor" too...
     
  4. Tech26

    Tech26 Member

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    I like how specific you are about the EV terminology. I know what you mean and I prefer to use the correct names for things whenever I can. However, I'm probably not going to waste any time trying to explain this to someone who calls the EVSE a charger or says they think one of the batteries in the pack might be bad. As long as I know what they're refering to I'll be just fine.

    We've all been trained by our cell phones and lap tops to call the cable plugged into the wall a "charger". It's a nice two syllable word that we're all familiar with. I'm probably going to keep calling it a charger unless they come up with something besides EVSE.

    We've also been trained for decades to call a "cell" a battery. So, you've got quite the uphill battle on your hands here. Good luck!
     
  5. JRP3

    JRP3 Hyperactive Member

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    Except a cell phone charger is indeed a charger, as is a laptop charger, in that it regulates voltage and current from the wall to the correct parameters for the battery. An EV charger is in the vehicle, and the cord and control box simply allow the wall voltage and current to travel to the vehicle. It's basically an extension cord with a switch. Maybe call it a "Smart cord", but since it cannot regulate voltage and current it is in no way a charger.
     
  6. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    I would call the EVSE a "charge connector".
     
  7. JRP3

    JRP3 Hyperactive Member

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    Make it "Charger Connector" and we're good :biggrin:
     
  8. doug

    doug Administrator / Head Moderator

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    I think you give those power bricks too much credit. They're just AC to DC converters. I'm sure part of the "charger" function is contained in your phone or laptop. I often charge my phone via USB. Would you call my USB cable a charger?
     
  9. JRP3

    JRP3 Hyperactive Member

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    Fair point, but the bricks do more than just convert from AC to DC, they reduce and cap the voltage and current, while a USB cable just transmits power from the computer directly with no change, as far as I know. I do agree that there is probably some limiting function in the devices themselves, so the charging duties are shared. You obviously can't charge a cell phone by plugging it directly into the wall socket.
     
  10. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    Sometimes, out of old habit, I call those cellphone "wall wart" things a "transformer", even though most modern ones are mini switching-power supplies instead of transformers.
     
  11. Kevin Sharpe

    Kevin Sharpe Active Member

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    not sure if relevant to this discussion but the term "charge point" is a Coulomb Technologies trademark in the US.
     
  12. doug

    doug Administrator / Head Moderator

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    Of course they're voltage regulated, but that's pretty much it. They provide a fixed voltage up to a specified current, which is basically what I get when charging from a USB cable. I suppose you can compare that to the camera model, where the battery is removed and placed in what's appropriately referred to as a charger.
     
  13. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    Switching supplies have transformers, so the description is still somewhat accurate.
     
  14. GSP

    GSP Member

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    EVSE is too clunky, so I try to use "charging station." This is my preferred term. However, it would be better to have a good two syllable word, and I sometimes revert to just "charger."

    GSP
     

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