Electric Vehicle Charging Systems
Electric Vehicle Charging Stations
WHAT IS AN ELECTRIC VEHICLE?
There are several different types of technologies available to drivers interested in electric vehicles. The most basic kinds of EVs are the all-electric vehicles (AEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). The category of AEVs encompass both battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs).
WHY DO WE NEED EVSES?
As more and more people purchase plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and battery electric vehicles, we as a society have a growing need for publicly accessible charging stations. Plenty of public EVSEs provide a faster charge and higher voltages than some residential charging stations. Many on-street stations are provided by electric utility companies and located at retail shopping centers. Frequently these EVSEs are operated by private companies. These charging stations provide special connectors that fit with the various electric charging connector standards.
HOW DO EVSES WORK?
Electric vehicles need access to two different kinds of power: an onboard charger and an off-board charging station, or an ESVE. In order for the battery to begin charging, the vehicle must be plugged into this ESVE; then, the onboard charger uses AC power to finish charging the battery pack.
There are three different levels of charging stations available to electric vehicle users. Level 1 EVSEs can produce approximately 1.4-1.9 kilowatts per hour (the equivalent of 5 miles worth of charge). These units are much smaller, and as such they are ideal for residential areas or hotels.
Level 2 EVSEs can be more powerful, producing between 3.4 and 19.2 kilowatts per hour (up to 20 miles worth of charge.) It’s much more common for these stations to be installed in workplaces or residential communities. They’re more affordable than DC fast charging stations, but they can still efficiently charge a vehicle over the course of a workday.
DC fast charging stations are growing in popularity in urban areas. With the ability to produce up to 90 kilowatts per hour, these stations can fully charge a vehicle in about 30 minutes.
HOW DO YOU INSTALL A PUBLIC EVSE?
The process of installing a public-access charging station is hugely dependent on what kind of EVSE you’ll need. A Level 2 EVSEs are fairly non-invasive installations, as most units are mounted to the wall and connected with the existing electrical wiring. DC fast chargers are a little more involved, as the station must be built rather than mounted to the wall.
WHAT DOES IT COST TO INSTALL A PUBLIC EVSE?
The cost of a public EVSE installation can vary widely depending on a number of factors, including: location, electrical output and capabilities, and any unique features included in the unit. A simple wall-mounted EVSE can be as little as $500, while a larger public-access, multi-station EVSE features can be as much as $50,000. And of course, the cost of electricity involved in DC fast-charging systems is exponentially more expensive than a simple wall-mounted unit intended for one person’s use.