Choosing the right EV Charging Infrastructure

8 November 2019

Choosing the right EV charging infrastructure is vital. Using EV charging stations efficiently will ensure that operational needs, such as charging speed and the number of electric vehicles capable of being charged at any given time, are met. The specifications of charging infrastructure must also address any electricity supply constraints whilst minimising the cost of installation.

What needs to be taken into account when choosing EV chargepoints

Consideration should also be given to the ongoing reliability, monitoring support of the EV charging infrastructure as well as the back-end management systems needed to provide EV charging, BIK and payment information.

For fleet managers and car park owners it is important to understand the existing EV charging technology options including: • Fast and rapid charging infrastructure • Smart charging • Load management

As well as being aware of emerging technology solutions including: • Vehicle to grid (V2G) • Inductive charging • Energy storage

Understanding how to manage electricity supply limitations

If electrical capacity limitations are identified on a site where many EVs are planned to be charged, it is important to consider these limitations at the outset as they could quickly become an issue.

Charging technology is rapidly developing to meet the varied needs of the market with solutions such as smart charging and load management providing options for car parks and fleet operators as an alternative to expensive connection upgrades.

The benefits of smart EV charging

Most chargepoints currently installed, simply supply power at a rate determined by the vehicle until fully charged. A number of chargepoint systems now on the market feature ‘smart charging’ able to manage charging systems and demand in real time, potentially decreasing or removing the need for expensive upgrades by the Distribution Network Operator (DNO). Smart charging can also assist in reducing energy costs by preferentially charging electric vehicles when lower time-of-use (ToU) tariffs are in effect (if subscribed to).

EV chargepoint load management

Load management allows multiple chargepoints to be operated without exceeding the power available at a site. It is ideal for sites where there is limited power and a need to charge multiple vehicles such as apartment blocks, workplaces and car parks.

The use of load management can avoid costly upgrades to the electrical supply. For example KeContact P30 load management is achieved by dynamic power management of the chargepoints. At all times available power, even when power is limited, is optimised to deliver the fastest possible rate of charge to each vehicle. This includes  the ability to set different maximum rates of charge for different chargepoints. 

Load management reduces the speed of charge, where necessary, to individual chargepoints. This moderates the total electrical demand to ensure a balance of power between the chargepoints.

The load management system can also be set up to control the proportion of a sites total energy supply that EV chargepoints can use. This is again to prevent the electricity needed by the chargepoints exceeding the total electricity supply.

Accessing and controlling Load Managed smart EV chargepoints

Smart chargepoints also come with features such as remote access functionality through the use of back office integration. This is also useful from a fee earning and payment perspective. Back office software also includes the ability to remotely control the chargepoints, for example to end a charging session, as well as allowing monitoring and reporting on the usage of charging infrastructure over time.

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