Plug-In 2011: Integro's Tutor is okay with your charging station cable breaking away

Today's electric cars are designed to be immobile when they are charging. But let's not forget that cars have wheels, and there are times when you can't stop a few thousand pounds from rolling away. If your EV is plugged in when it decides to go coasting away, something will have to give – and most likely that will be the charging cord. This is the problem that Integro is trying to solve with its Tutor break-away cable for plug-in vehicle charging stations.

The Tutor was introduced at the Plug-in 2011 Conference this week and so is not quite ready for sale (it should be available in two to three months). Right now, the expected price could be between $100 and $150 – it is too early to say for sure – which includes the break-away assembly and the J1772 connector. That break-away assembly is a two-stage device designed to protect the charging station from damage and theft. Under 50 pounds of pressure (say, if someone comes along and pulls on the cable), an initial separation occurs and stops the charging process and shuts down the charging station but the cord stays intact. With 500 pounds of pressure (i.e., more than a person can apply, but easily caused a car that keeps rolling away) the assembly snaps apart.

Today, most EVSE units have breakaway connectors built into the box, which would obviously require a more complicated and costly repair process than replacing part of the cable. Whether or not charging station operators think adding another safety device is warranted is something that should be clear now that the Tutor is coming to the market. (This post has been slightly edited since it was first published.)

[Source: Integro]

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