It’s Time to Plan Charging Network for Electric Vehicles

The decreasing of carbon dioxide and particle emissions caused by traffic is a clear motive for the introduction of electric vehicles. Electric vehicles also form a part of the intelligent network with their electricity-storage function, especially when intelligently charged.

The driving of electric vehicles and building of a charging network will intensify this year. The reasons for this lie in the growing supply of serial-manufactured electric vehicles, the new standards for charging interfaces, and new charging software with various control options. The infrastructure and added services open new business opportunities for energy and network companies.

Almost wherever there are now parked cars, we will see charging points for electric cars. Homes, offices, shopping centres, and parking facilities will offer charging possibilities. For network companies, this will mean added demand for interfaces and create pressure for strengthening the existing ones.

Charging possibilities need to be considered in planning phase

The most logical place to charge your electric vehicle is the residential parking area of your building. But as the number of electric vehicles increases, the capacity of the building’s electricity network might not be sufficient. This calls for a network update: replacing the current cables with new ones, increasing the main fuse rating of the building and agreeing with the energy company on higher subscriber power capacity. The charging points should be installed in a star-like pattern instead of a serial one, thus allowing centralised charging control and metering.

Installation of the charging points and replacement of the cabling in parking areas must be considered when modernizations for the building are in the planning stages, to avoid the costly extra work. For new buildings, the charging poles are an integral element of the building plans and intelligent charging is an essential part of a well-functioning charging system.

Charging requires nearly 16A current for a period of six to eight hours, whereas conventional engine-block heating poles usually offer 10A for a maximum of two hours. It is worthwhile to replace cables and fuses when other electrical or landscaping work on the residential building is being done before the need becomes acute.

Intelligent network evens out load peaks

The long charging time of an electrical vehicle enables the possibility of intelligent charging control in which the load of the electricity network is taken into consideration. Regulating the charging power can smooth out peaks indicated by the intelligent electricity network. This takes into account the load capacity of the local electricity network and balances the power demand over time, which will eliminate harmful power peaks. The driver becomes an operator in the electricity network.

The vehicle can be left to charge itself when electricity is the most affordable, and charging can be suspended when electricity is at its most expensive. This intelligent charging gives the consumer direct financial benefit. When new charging technologies are taken into use, the energy stored by the vehicle can be supplied back to the network.

Market offers a broad range of charging products

The best charging pole is durable, easy to clean, and wall-mountable. Clear indication of charging status and socket-specific metering of charged energy are important characteristics, as is the option for external control. A safe structure and timeless design suit a variety of environments.

Ensto is one of the pioneers of charging technology. The Ensto Chago product family offers solutions for normal and fast electric-vehicle charging for public and private parking areas. Normal 16A charging is easily performed via an Ensto Chago Pole equipped with a kilowatt-hour meter and remote control from, for example, a parking meter. The more robust Ensto Chago Station is also suitable for 32A three-phase charging. It identifies the user via either an RFID card or a cellular phone and contacts external data systems via the GPRS network or an RS485 cable. The Ensto Chago Point is sufficient for charging at home, in residential parking facilities, and at the office.

Electric vehicles are already in use, and intelligent technology is available. The highest priority at the moment is on expanding the network of charging points, and here residential buildings have a crucial role.

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