The Magna-Charge system consists of two parts:
- A charging station mounted to the wall of the house
- A charging system in the trunk of the car
The charging station is hard-wired to a 240-volt 40-amp circuit through the house's circuit panel.
The charging system sends electricity to the car using this inductive paddle:
The paddle fits into a slot hidden behind the license plate of the car.
The paddle acts as one half of a transformer. The other half is inside the car, positioned around the slot behind the license plate. When you insert the paddle, it forms a complete transformer with the slot, and power transfers to the car.
One advantage of the inductive system is that there are no exposed electrical contacts. You can touch the paddle or drop the paddle into a puddle of water and there is no hazard. The other advantage is the ability to pump a significant amount of current into the car very quickly because the charging station is hard-wired to a dedicated 240-volt circuit.
The competing high-power charge connector is generally referred to as the "Avcon plug" and it is used by Ford and others. It features copper-to-copper contacts instead of the inductive paddle, and has an elaborate mechanical interconnect that keeps the contacts covered until the connector is mated with the receptacle on the vehicle. Pairing this connector with GFCI protection makes it safe in any kind of weather. Jon Mauney points out the following:
In the next section, we'll walk through a conversion step by step.