the swiss army knife for recharging

Choosing a charging cable is not easy. To meet all requirements, Juice Technology offers the Juice Booster 2. A versatile solution at a high price.

There are different charging methods for refueling an electric car. More precisely, behind these designations hide the type of cable used and its way of being connected to a power source.

Mode 1 is the simplest in definition, but is now obsolete due to the apparent lack of a safety device. With an E/F socket on one side and a matching carport socket on the other, you can easily connect without a control module. This is not the case with Mode 2, which has the same sockets but an ICCB box to modulate the current and stop charging in the event of anomalies. For these reasons, however, it is limited to a single-phase maximum power of 1.8 kW (8 A).

The Mode 3 cable goes further, but is no longer suitable for a household socket. Because here it only plugs into end devices with its T2s socket on the infrastructure side. And the latter manage the recharge and the various security parameters. It is therefore without an ICCB module and can increase to a maximum of 43 kW. Finally comes Mode 4, which connects directly to the terminal, typically on fast DC devices.

To charge their car from anywhere on a daily basis, some drivers may need a mode 2 cable to charge at home from a household or boosted outlet and a mode 3 cable to connect to public AC terminals. Manufacturers traditionally offer one or the other of these devices, leaving the different charging mode as an option. This is the case, for example, with the Renault Megane e-Tech, which offers three-phase mode 3 as standard and domestic mode 2 as an option for 300 euros. However, not all cables are equally well equipped, as some Mode 3 only have a single-phase connection, which limits the charging power to 7.4 kW. Even if the car can climb higher or the electrics can deliver more power. In short, two cables in the trunk are almost essential for charging anywhere.

Juice Booster

Above left, a Mode 3 T2s/T2 cable. On the right a Mode 2 EF/T2. Below the Juice Booster and adapter to perform the functions of the other two.

Taking up the idea of ​​the Swiss army knife, the Swiss company Juice Technology has developed the Juice Booster 2, which presents itself as an ultra-versatile mobile charger. His concept? Offer a variety of adapters that can be mounted on the main cable to be able to plug into most existing sockets in Europe. It makes no compromises and offers the best possible configuration with three-phase cabling and a maximum of 32A. It can thus transmit AC power from 1.8 kW single-phase to 22 kW three-phase.

In order to meet all requirements, it consists of two parts. The first is nothing more than the main module with a 4.40 m cable, without the integrated ICCB control module. At its ends there is a type 2 socket on the side of the vehicle (a type 1 socket also exists for compatible models) and a plug. This valve system, called the Juice Connector, allows you to connect all the adapters offered by the company that conform to most existing standards.

Juice Booster

This second part that makes up the cable offers a wide variety of sockets, from Schuko to T2S or Type 3, through P17, Plexo, Green’Up or even Nema sockets, the American standard. The connector plug integrated into the very high-quality valve thus gives the module the information to regulate the current according to the capacities of the weak link in the chain.

Automatic amperage management before each charge

Because if the Juice Booster is presented in the brochure as a mobile charging station or wall box, when it is attached to its wall bracket, it really isn’t. Although the ICCB can handle the load with all the intelligence of a wall terminal (heat detector, earth monitoring, etc.), the whole thing always remains dependent on the socket to which the cable is connected. If the advantage of a wallbox is to get 7.4 kW of power, the Juice Booster does not increase power when connected to a boosted socket: it delivers a maximum of 3.7 kW.

In our test, we carried out a test on a Plexo socket that is common in workshops and garages. After a slight warm-up time, the system went into operation and set a maximum current of 13A for recharging. This corresponds to a charging capacity of 3.0 kW. Enough for the Renault Megane to cover 100 km of autonomy (according to WLTP autonomy) in just under 4h 45. Note that to avoid overheating and complications, the Type E/F socket has pins equipped with a thermal sensor.

Before connecting the vehicle or within 30 seconds after the start of charging, it is possible to modulate the current, but only for technical and safety reasons. Very few users will therefore limit the loading speed. However, in the case of old installations or an electrical cabinet that supplies several cars, it can be interesting to reduce it out of the box.

Outside, the Juice Booster cable is not uncommon in its function as it only makes the connection between the car and the terminal. However, due to its sheathing, it is a little less handy than a simple Mode 3 cable. To prevent someone from uncoupling the cables while charging or theft, the company also offers a padlock. But then you have to think about the handling before and after each refill. At public charging stations, handling is not as interesting as with a simple Mode 3 cable.

Waterproof with an IP67 index, anti-roll and of very good manufacturing quality, the Juice Booster is the perfect ally for those who charge anywhere. But like all extremely versatile products, it doesn’t work as well as those designed for single use.

And this is especially true for its name “mobile charging station”, which can be misleading: The Juice Booster is by no means a power bank, a small portable battery for carrying out an additional charge. Also, it only supplies power from the power source it is connected to. It is then necessary to connect a P17 socket to benefit from the best currents and powers of 7.4 kW, like most wall boxes, at a total price much lower than that of the latter.

However, keep in mind that the use of these sockets in living areas and thus for charging an electric car at home is generally not permitted. In the event of a breakdown, the insurance will not compensate you at best and your responsibility will be assumed at worst. With the current state of the regulations, if we follow the texts, the Juice Booster 2 loses one of its main advantages and cannot replace a wall terminal.

No headaches but a strong price for the Juice Booster

If you change your electric car regularly (for models with different AC chargers) or think about recharging as soon as possible, the Juice Booster is an alternative of choice: it will never be the weak link in the technical configuration while you are using the plug into different sockets. In fact, it will also keep you from worrying about your performance. Like any good Swiss Army knife, the Juice Booster is useful for frequent travelers, including campers where they can use P17 sockets in the rules.

For a more sedentary use, note that this has the benefit of freeing the trunk from two different cables. The fact remains that you have to study your needs carefully in any case, because the price list is steep: calculate from 1,149 euros for the Country Traveler Set (E/F socket, CEE16 single-phase, CEE16 and CEE32 three-phase). ) or even €1,729 for the Master Traveler Kit, which also includes the T2S socket, two padlocks and an extension cord. Also note that manufacturers can offer it as an accessory, as is the case with Peugeot: a kit consisting of a three-phase P17 CEE adapter, an E / F type and a T2S will be priced at 999 euros offered.

  • manufacturing quality
  • Comfortable versatility
  • from 1.8 to 22 kW in a single cable
  • Network and temperature control

  • Unaffordable prices
  • Restricted use of the P17
  • Daily check-in at public terminals

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