Unlike internal combustion engines, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) and battery electric vehicles (BEV) use an electric traction motor to drive the vehicle’s wheels. The onboard charger charges the traction battery pack, and the energy stored in the battery is then used to power the electric motor.
When an electric vehicle is plugged into a household outlet or a level 2 charger, the charging cable pulls alternating current (AC) from the power grid and sends it to the onboard charger. In order to store the electric power in the battery, the onboard charger must then convert AC to direct current (DC).
Additionally, the onboard charger monitors voltage, current, temperature, and state of charge while charging for the safety of the electrical system and the driver.