How to choose a Charging Station

Buying a private charging station is a relatively high investment and your decision must therefore be carefully considered. First of all, it will be important to realize who the charging station is for and where it will be located. You will place different requirements on the company's charging station than on the home one. Based on this, it is then necessary to consider what performance you need, choose smart features and payment system and last but not least the type of connector and cable connection.

Range Rover
Charging station EVECUBE. Author: EVEXPERT

Charging station power

First a little quick theory - two chargers are important for electric cars:

 

On-board chargers are built into the car's interior. Charging stations (EVSE), on the other hand, are external. Charging stations are the source of electricity, which is then sent to the on-board charger. In the case of AC charging, the on-board charger takes care of converting alternating current to direct current and then sends it to the battery. How AC and DC charging works is explained here.

Because current must pass through the on-board charger, its performance is important. EVSE charging stations cannot supply the car with more energy than can pass through the on-board charger. So the minimum required power of the home charging station is therefore the same as the power of the on-board charger.

Scheme of EV
On-board charger. Author: Toyota Motor Europe (Licence CC BY-ND 2.0)

At the same time, however, it is important to realize that technology is still moving forward. A quality home charging station has a long service life and is therefore likely to serve several cars during its life. So it is advisable to consider choosing the charging station with the highest performance.

If the charging station is to be used in companies, it is necessary to choose according to the car that has the most powerful on-board charger and at the same time it is necessary to consider that clients might come to visit. A charging station with the highest possible performance is then almost a necessity.

You can read about how on-board chargers work and how they affect charging here.

Smart computer

Of course, the electric car can be charged directly from the socket using a portable charger. An external charging station is not absolutely necessary, but in addition to simply ensuring the safety of the vehicle and crew, they have many other clever functions. It's up to you to choose the ones you need.

Eveline
Portable charger EVELINE. Author: EVEXPERT

For companies with more employees, it is definitely appropriate for the charging station to have an RFID system that will allow employees, clients or friends of the company to connect to the station and start charging. At the same time, in the case of owning more charging stations and charging more cars, it is good to choose stations that will be able to communicate with each other and provide so-called "load balancing", which means that the stations charge with full power until the capacity of the electricity connection is reached and the power is distributed "fairly" among all vehicles.

It is also advantageous for households to be able to connect the charging station to the house and make it adapt to the house energy requirements. During full operation, smart charging stations use only "free" current and they start charging more when the capacity is released. Or, conversely, it will reduce charging if the need of the house increases. Alternatively, the home charging station can be programmed to charge only during the night tariff, when electricity is the cheapest.

Cable and type of connector

The last variable to consider is the type of cable and connector. There are two options, either a station with an integrated cable or a station that only has a socket, to which everyone then connects their cable that they carry in the car.

As with the development of any new technology, there are several types of connectors for electric cars. In Europe, it is currently possible to find Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 is currently in decline and new cars with this connector are no longer manufactured in Europe (on the contrary, in the United States, it is the dominant type of connector). In Europe most cars already have a Type 2 connector and all new cars are equipped with it.

Phoenix Contact T1Phoenix Contact T2
Connector type 1 and type 2. Author: EVEXPERT

So if there are different cars coming to the station, or if you have a car with a Type 1 connector, you could consider choosing a station only with a socket, which will make its use more versatile. If it is a home station where you are the only one who charges there, and if you already have a Type 2 connector, and so your future car will have the same connector, then the station with integrated cable is much more convenient, as there is no need to always unpack the portable charging cable.

The point is that stations with an integrated cable are more comfortable, because you only need to connect the cable and then just hang it on the station again, which can be very welcome, especially in adverse weather conditions, but at the same time stations without an integrated cable are a more universal option. You can learn more about what connectors exist and what their history was here.

Evecube Column
Charging station EVECUBE. Author: EVEXPERT

Summary

Choosing a home charging station is a responsible decision where many variables need to be considered in addition to the price. The most important of these are the power output, which should be at least as good as the power of the on-board charger and ideally higher, so that it will be sufficient in the future.

Then you need to consider if you need a charging station with a smart system that can communicate with other stations or with the household, and for a company a payment system might come in handy. And the last decision is between the need for the charging station to be universal or enjoying more comfort and buying a station with an already integrated cable.

BASICS OF ELECTROMOBILITY

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