|Headquarters Franklin, Wisconsin|
|Products Charging interfaces for battery electric vehicles|
Avcon is a company that manufactures charging interfaces for battery electric vehicles (EV). The lettering convention is Avcon for the company and AVCON (capitals) for the EV charging head.
- Conductive versus inductive charging systems – the historical battle
- Success of the conductive system
- Charging stations
The AVCON conductive interface was used by the Ford Ranger EV truck and the Honda EV Plus. The AVCON conductive EV charging system consists of a rectangular charging head (the male handle) which plugs into an AVCON inlet (the female receptacle) mounted on the vehicle. It is compatible with the November 2001 version of the SAE J1772 "SAE Electric Vehicle Conductive Charge Coupler" recommended practice for surface vehicles.
The American and Japanese plug-in vehicles that came to market in 2011 such as the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf use a round connector based on the 2009 revised SAE J1772 specification for level 2 charging.
Conductive versus inductive charging systems – the historical battle
The AVCON conductive interface was the primary competitor to the Magne Charge inductive charging paddle used by the General Motors' Saturn EV1 and Chevy S10 EV, plus the 2002 Toyota RAV4 EV. Ford and Honda chose AVCON as a more cost effective EV charging solution to transfer the same 6KW AC power to the EV's on-board charging system (208 to 240 VAC, 40 amp circuit into the charging head).
Many public EV charging installations funded by the California Air Resources Board (CARB – money came from DMV fees) had to have both an inductive and a conductive AVCON charging head. This meant twice as much money was spent because the simple, cost-effective AVCON was not adopted by all Automakers. These public EV charging installations did not use Avcon model charging heads; they used the more expensive EVII ICS-200 model AVCON charging heads.
Automakers abandoned their promise to CARB to produce production EVs for public purchase by using a CARB mandate loophole (selling slow neighborhood EVs or carts to obtain their CARB credits) and very few production EVs were actually sold to the public (either inductive or conductive).
Success of the conductive system
CARB now endorses SAE J1772 (SAE J1772-2009), the evolutionary conductive charging successor to the AVCON based on the SAE J1772-2001 standard. Previously in 2002, AVCON was ultimately endorsed by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) over Magne Charge, which caused GM to retire inductive paddle technology.
Since conductive EV charging AVCONs can be used by all EVs by using an AVCON adapter box that provides a 240V NEMA 14–50 outlet, and inductive EV charging cannot, some RAV4 EV drivers have taken to bringing their SPI TAL inductive charger with them. This allows RAV4 EVs with an inductive charging system to recharge from public, conductive, AVCON EV charging heads. This practice will fade away since virtually all 2011 and later production Electric Vehicles are equipped with a SAE J1772 charge port. Drivers of the few 2011 and later or conversion vehicles are either using SAE J1772 adapters that connect to their chargers or are putting SAE J1772 charge ports in their vehicles.
With no current production EVs available using the AVCON standard, EV charging station hosts (the companies giving the free electric power: Costco, shopping malls, etc.) withdrew their support for the cost of repairs of their public AVCON EV charging stations. The Electric Auto Association (501.3c nonprofit) members have stepped up by having EV charging funds the public can donate to so these EV charging stations can be repaired after vandals damage them. This keeps the EVs on the road by extending their range for very little electricity cost to the host.
AVCON stations are being converted to SAE J1772 (SAE J1772-2009) or phased out starting in 2011.