When buying an electric vehicle (EV) charger for the first time, there are many factors to consider. With EV charging still being a relatively new concept for both retailers and customers alike, it can be confusing. Two big technical factors should be considered when purchasing an EV charging system.
The speed of a charging station is the question most EV drivers want to know when looking for a location to charge their vehicle. Of course, charging a vehicle as fast as possible is generally favored, but may not be necessary.
In EV charging, there are different levels that correspond to the speeds that EV chargers have to offer:
Time to Charge*
Slowest charging level, typically only used in home applications
Considered a destination charger, popular in lodging areas where drivers stay overnight.
10 Minutes to 2 Hours
Fastest charging speeds. Usual applications are shopping centers, gas stations/c-stores, and places where the customer will not be staying for too long.
*Charge times will vary depending on the vehicle and the charging system
Level 1 chargers plug into a standard wall outlet and are likely not the ideal solution for a convenience store or fueling station, but it is worth mentioning as this is where the charging levels start.
Level 2 chargers are mainly used in lodging areas, workplaces and homes, and are considered a destination charger. Level 2 chargers can typically fully charge an EV overnight.
Level 3 chargers are the fastest available chargers in EV powering. There is a wide range of speed in the Level 3 category, but they typically can charge a vehicle from 0 - 80% within an hour or less, depending on both the charging system and the vehicle. These systems are typically used in locations where drivers are only there for a short amount of time.
For c-store retailers and fueling center owners, it is critical to service customers in about 15 minutes to keep a consistent experience for customers. To do this, charging rates of 175 kilowatts (kW) or greater must be achieved. This will enable customers to recharge about 125-150 miles of range and utilize the facilities and concessions available.
Maximum current output
Another key factor for operators to consider is the maximum current output of the chargers. Most of today’s new vehicles need 400 amps or greater to charge as fast as possible and can sustain rates of charge at 120 kW or greater and the newer vehicles can get 150, 180 or even 250+ kW. Without this, the published charge rate cannot be achieved. These charge rates can only be accomplished with liquid-cooled cables. These cables serve more customers in less time, are much lighter weight than standard cables, accommodate the ever-changing EV technology and have a reduced cost of ownership. Forty-five percent of today’s EVs will benefit from liquid cooled cables.
For more information on EV charging systems, please visit BTCPOWER.com.
This post is sponsored by BTC Power