Checklist: what features should a charging station have?
Time is precious, especially when it comes to our leisure time. It is therefore no wonder that efficiency is the top priority when it comes to charging electric cars. In order to charge in a way that saves as much time and power as possible, charging stations are the obvious choice. But what kind of charging station is the right one for your needs? We answer the most important questions about charging stations in this article.
#1 Who are the manufacturers?
When purchasing a charging station, quality should definitely be the decisive factor. Therefore, you should choose a certified quality manufacturer that is listed with leading car manufacturers, for example. This way, you can ensure that you will also have access to spare parts and service at a later date.
#2 What type of charging station should you purchase?
It is best to consult the manufacturer of your electric vehicle. The basic categories to choose from are upright charging stations and wall-mounted charging stations. The latter is called a Wallbox. There are further distinctions in terms of performance and suitability for indoor and outdoor use. Electric cars can be charged with alternating current (AC) and/or with direct current (DC). However, a DC rapid charging station is much more expensive than an AC charging station and is mainly used in places where very short charging times (30-60 minutes) are necessary, e.g. at motorway service stations. If there is sufficient time for charging, e.g. at home, then an AC station is more suitable.
#3 A charging station with or without a cable?
First of all, there is the question of whether the charging station should be accessible to several people or used privately. While a socket is mandatory at charging stations in public spaces, it is often easier at home if the charging station already has a cable. The advantage of a charging station with a socket is that every vehicle can be charged with the appropriate cable.
#4 Which charging plug does my car have?
Since there are no adapters, your car’s charging plug is crucial. In Europe, type 2 charging plugs are widely used, and public charging stations are often equipped with these. Therefore, a charging station with a type 2 socket offers the greatest flexibility. This type of plug was specially designed for electric vehicles and not only enables charging of the battery, but also communication between the vehicle and the charging station. In private charging stations, the maximum achievable charging power is 22 kW (400 V, 32 A).
The CHAdeMO plug, which was developed in Japan and is used in vehicle models from Honda, Toyota, Citroën and Peugeot, is also frequently used. The system allows charging up to 100 kW, but usually only 50 kW is available to users at public charging stations.
The Tesla Supercharger is an exception: the modified form of the type 2 plug only works with models from US manufacturer and achieves a charging power of 120 kW.
#5 What is the charging power of my car?
Electric cars have chargers built in by the manufacture called on-board chargers. The charging power depends on these chargers. The power here can vary from 3.7kW to 22kW. How fast the car actually charges also depends on the charging station and charging cable. A vehicle with 3.7kW charging power can generally be charged at any charging station, even at stations with faster charging power. However, only a charging power of 3.7 KW is then possible.
The formula for calculating your personal charging time:
Capacity of the battery in watt hours / charging power in watts = charging time
#6 Installation of a smart charging station
With a smart charging station it is now possible to use other functions in addition to the actual charging process. Additional features can include:
- Load management for electric cars: If the connected load remains constant, several electric cars can charge at the same time. The available power is automatically distributed among the number of electric cars being charged. Above all, companies, hotels, car parks, etc., with several charging stations avoid expensive power peaks and prevent an increase in the power price through load management.
- Billing: if not only you but also other people are charging at your charging station, a digital tool for billing the electricity is advantageous. This way, all users are billed for the charging time they have used. As a driver of an electric company car, you often have the option of conveniently billing your employer for the charged electricity at home as well as at work without much effort.
- Access restriction: if charging stations are located in company car parks or hotel garages, it makes sense to restrict access. RFID chips or cards are suitable for this purpose. This way, the station can only be used by persons authorised to access it.
- Integration of a photovoltaic system: with the right additional functionality, you can use the self-generated solar power of a photovoltaic system to charge your electric car.