Electric Vehicle Charging Station

An electric vehicle charging station is where you plug your electric car to charge it up while parked. This can be at home, workplace or public locations, which are increasing in number as the world makes the switch to electric mobility. Public charging stations are found in parking garages, shopping centers, restaurants and hotels. Governments and cities are requiring or incentivizing their installation, and many businesses are also jumping on board.

EV drivers want a smooth transition to an all-electric electric vehicle charging station lifestyle, and they are counting on the emergence of a robust network of charging stations to make it happen. But that network is not yet up to the task. In fact, studies and innumerable anecdotes indicate that public EV chargers are frequently out of service or delivering less-than-ideal performance.

Some of these issues can be chalked up to the usual startup snafus. But other problems are more structural. The snags come from the peculiar way that EV charging works, which is far more complicated than pumping fuel from one reservoir to another. The system involves a panoply of players including automakers, charging network operators and route-finding apps that need to coordinate for the system to work. And while some of these systems are improving, they do not yet rival the reliability of Tesla’s network.

The most common public charging options are Level 1 and Level 2 chargers. Level 1 charges a battery to about 30-40 miles per hour and is good for overnight charging at home or while driving around town. Some of these chargers are free while others require payment and have a small fee to use them.

Level 2 charging is the norm at public charging stations, where a car can charge to 80 percent of its capacity in about 25 minutes. These are generally rated at up to 50 kW, and they can be found at service areas, malls and other public access points. These are the type of chargers most likely to be used in a commercial setting, where an employer may install them as part of a sustainability initiative or for employee convenience.

Then there are the fast charging stations, which have a power rating of 50 kW or more and can charge a battery to about 80 percent in just six minutes. They are typically only available at service areas, malls and other public locations and can be quite expensive to use. There are some EV owners who have reported problems with these types of chargers, which can include unresponsive or unavailable screens, payments that fail, connectors that break and other issues. Industry groups such as CharIN have been working to improve these chargers. They have recently released the National EV Infrastructure (NEVI) standards and requirements, which specify open standards for charging connectors and other aspects of the communications and interoperability systems. NEVI hopes that the new rules will help to reduce the cost of future EV charging station installations and improve the overall quality of EV charging experiences across the country.