The electric car market is growing all the time, with electric vehicles (EV) representing 18.5% of new cars registered in the UK in 2021. With almost 200,000 new electric vehicles on the road in 2021, it was by far the most successful calendar year for the industry to date.
And with more than 30,000 charging stations now available in the UK, it is becoming more popular by the day – especially with the ever-increasing rise in fuel prices.
But, just how do electric vehicle chargers work, and what are the main components of an EV charging station? Continue reading to find out.
What is an EV charger and how does it work?
Electric vehicles and hybrid vehicles (ones that use fuel and electricity to run) require an EV charger to keep the battery full, just like any rechargeable electronic device. An EV charger pulls an electrical current from either a 240v outlet, or the grid it’s hardwired to, and delivers that electricity to the vehicle. Just like any other appliance or device you charge by plugging it into the wall.
A typical electric vehicle will take up to eight hours to reach full charge from empty at a 7kW charging station. Many electric cars are compatible with ‘rapid’ 50kW chargers, which can add 100 miles to a car battery in just 35 minutes.
When parking in front of an EV charging station, there are a few things you’ll need to understand. Firstly, the station may be provided free of charge, may require a key fob or other access device (like an account to log into), or it could simply require a card payment. The EV charging station should have clear signage detailing how to use it.
For the most part, a J1772 plug is standard for electric vehicles, unless you have a Tesla or are trying to use a Tesla EV charging station. Tesla uses their own connectors from device to vehicle, so a Tesla charger cannot be used on a non-Tesla vehicle. A non-Tesla charger cannot be used on a Tesla vehicle without an adaptor, either.
Fortunately, EV charging adaptors can be purchased online, unlocking access to all EV charging stations.
What are the main components of an EV charging station?
EV charger stations can be installed at your home and in public places, like petrol stations, service stations, shopping centres, workplaces and more.
The EV charging components that make up the station – at any location – are:
- Electric vehicle charger
- Power grid
- Facility meter
- Energy controller
- Software platform
- Network operating centre
- Other components
The power storage system at an EV charging station comprises three main components: battery, power conversion system, and software.
Arguably the main EV charger component is the battery. This is primarily lithium-ion, and consists of cells, packs, and a battery management system (BMS) to manage control of the charge and discharge of the battery.
Power conversion system
Another main component of an EV charging station is the power conversion system. This comprises an inverter, its enclosure, and thermal management (HVAC) for batteries to maintain the battery at a specific temperature.
Electric vehicle charging software is an essential EV charging station component because it’s an integral part of the EV charging infrastructure. It helps charge point operators and service providers to manage the EV charging stations and their customers.
Some key features of EV charging software are:
- Connect and monitor the EV charging station and components
- Automatic fault detection
- Live meter display
- Billing and payments
- Track costs
- Manage users
- Provide an interactive dashboard
EV charging stations in different environments
As previously mentioned, EV charging stations and components can be set up almost anywhere, and the network is continually growing. The different locations – residential, public, and fleet – have different requirements, both in terms of power consumption and the type of EV charging station.
Residential EV charging station components
Electric vehicle charging solution vendors provide easy-to-install EV charging stations for individual houses and residential buildings. Home chargers are well integrated with proper safety features for people and electric vehicles.
The chargers are compact, lightweight, have AC input cables and DC output cables attached, and provide flexibility to be used as portable chargers or to be wall-mounted. These chargers have more than 95% conversion efficiency, which lowers the total cost of ownership of battery-powered vehicles.
Public EV charging station components
Public EV charging stations tend to use AC Type 2 chargers, which are suitable for general applications at places like shopping centres, workplaces, hotels and public commercial charging. These EV charging systems are robust, durable and can be managed by a centralised management system.
These types of EV charging stations allow for simple plug-and-play use. Also, the admin is able to create user authorisation and remotely manage energy costs through software. For example, at a workplace, the admin (the company owner or manager) can control how often the charging station is used.
Fleet EV charging station components
EV fleet charging station components require a DC charger to support all types of vehicles and charging needs. These fast DC chargers possess cutting-edge technologies in hardware design and application software. They also allow seamless integration with payment platforms and are capable of firmware and software upgrades over-the-air.
These DC chargers can accommodate between 30kW and 300kW of electric vehicles.
EV charger components at Hitaltech
At Hitaltech, we pride ourselves in our ability to manufacture high-quality connecting technologies and enclosures suitable for electronic and electrical applications, such as EV charging station components.
We are a multinational company with expert knowledge and experience in connecting technologies. Using this experience and knowledge, our talented team has developed a range of superior products, which are manufactured to the highest of standards.
If you’d like to discover more about the EV charger components we make – and more – don’t hesitate to contact us today on +44 (0)1253 899910.