It’s an understatement to say there’s a global push for electric vehicles. While numbers are increasing, there are still underlying concerns regarding the availability of an E.V. infrastructure—including charging capabilities. We have several options when setting up charging opportunities, and from a logistics point of view, the globe is working in overdrive to provide sufficient and efficient charging.
Experts predict that global electric charging stations will grow approximately 35%, with an expected market size of nearly $18 billion by 2026. Increasing numbers of subsidies and tax incentives to produce electric vehicles are driving this market.
Geographically, China has the world’s largest E.V. charging network. E.V. sales in China totaled hundreds of thousands annually by mid-2010, and by 2018 sales passed 1 million. Public chargers in China reached 1.04 million in 2021.
Governments globally are passing legislation and creating incentives for E.V.s, naturally spurring charging infrastructure as well. This infrastructure must meet global charging standards, such as SAE International standards like SAE J1772. The U.S. values Energy Star certifications. Licensed electrical contractors must handle installations that must comply with state, local, and national codes.
Charging Station Components
An E.V. charging station includes the E.V. charger, power grid, facility meter, energy controller, software, network operating center, and other components. In addition, power storage involves the battery, software, and a power conversion system. Batteries are typically lithium-ion batteries. The power conversion system includes an inverter and thermal management. Software provides connection and monitoring of the charger, fault detection, live meter display, billing and payments, and more.
Types of Electric Vehicle Charging
Level 1 E.V. Charging – Supporting 120 volts, accomplished with a power cord and control box. It can be done at home but takes 16-18 hours to charge a 60-kWh vehicle.
Level-2 EV Charging – Supports 240V A.C. and involves the installation of electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) and electric wiring capable of handling higher voltage power. Charging is faster. A 7 kW E.V. charger takes 7 to 8 hours to charge a 60-kWh vehicle. Homes, apartments, workplaces, and retail stores typically use these chargers.
Level-3 EV Charging (480 Volts), or D.C. fast charging, can power up vehicles in 20-30 minutes. Fleets, electric buses, and facilities that charge multiple vehicles simultaneously use these E.V. chargers.
The application type, location, and charging level dictate equipment cost. Creating the charging infrastructure will introduce further costs, including networking, deterring theft, output power, connectors, operation, payment and data collection, and maintenance.
Equipment installation costs consider the number and type of charging infrastructure, geographic location, site location, trenching, wiring, and required electrical upgrades to accommodate existing and future charging needs, labor costs, and permitting.
According to a recent cars.com article, What It Cost to Outfit 6 Homes with E.V. Chargers, residential installation is tricky and expensive, the average price being $3,817. Of course, public installation tends to be more expensive, and D.C. fast installation costs range from $18,000 to $66,000 based on charger power and the number of installed chargers per site. Federal, state, local, and utility incentives may apply to installation costs.
Effects on the Community
For the most part, properly located charging stations represent an opportunity for communities. Tourist destinations, including parks, national forests, monuments, and more, already encourage visitors to park and charge their E.V.s while enjoying restaurants, gift shops, and other attractions. By 2021, there were more than 140 chargers nationwide in national parks and gateway communities.
Businesses can also serve as site hosts to public E.V. charging stations, as can such transportation-based entities as airports, park-and-ride locations, and parking lots. Community sites, including schools, libraries, and business districts, can provide widespread access to E.V. charging. Publicly available E.V. chargers, such as curbside charging, can also fill the gaps residents that might not have access through their apartments.
The global electric vehicle charging station market is projected to grow from 2,115 thousand units in 2020 to nearly 31,000 units by 2027 (“Global Electric Vehicle Charging Station Market “). Larger batteries can’t improve the range of E.V.s, so addressing the E.V. charging infrastructure is mandatory.
Electric vehicle charging infrastructure is moving towards utilizing renewable sources of energy as well as wireless charging. The reality is that E.V. purchases will not reach full potential until the infrastructure provides for an adequate mileage range—driving charging station installation globally.