An electric vehicle charging station, also called EV charging station, electric recharging point, charging point and EVSE (Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment), is an element in an infrastructure that supplies electric energy for the recharging of plug-in electric vehicles, including all-electric cars, neighborhood electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids.
As plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and battery electric vehicle ownership is expanding, there is a growing need for widely distributed publicly accessible charging stations, some of which support faster charging at higher voltages and currents than are available from domestic supplies. Many charging stations are on-street facilities provided by electric utility companies, mobile charging stations have been recently introduced. Some of these special charging stations provide one or a range of heavy duty or special connectors and/or charging without a physical connection using parking places equipped with inductive charging mats.
- 1 Overview
- 2 Mode 1: Household socket and extension cord
- 3 Mode 2: Domestic socket and cable with a protection device
- 4 Mode 3: Specific socket on a dedicated circuit
- 5 Mode 4: Direct current (DC) connection for fast recharging
- 6 Charging time
- 7 Infrastructure
- 8 Smart grid communication
- 9 Deployment of public charging stations
- 10 Charging station manufacturers
- 11 Battery swapping
- 12 Renewable electricity and RE charging stations
- 13 See also
- 14 Notes
- 15 External links
As of December 2012[update], around 50,000 non-residential slow charging points were deployed in the U.S., Europe, Japan and China. As of September 2013[update], there were 3,073 quick chargers deployed around the world, with 1,858 in Japan, 897 in Europe and 306 in the United States. As of December 2013[update], Estonia is the first and only country that had completed the deployment of an EV charging network with nationwide coverage, with 165 fast chargers available along highways at a minimum distance of between 40 to 60 km (25 to 37 mi), and a higher density in urban areas.
As of March 2013[update], 5,678 public charging stations existed across the United States, with 16,256 public charging points, of which 3,990 were located in California, 1,417 in Texas, and 1,141 in Washington. As of November 2012[update], about 15,000 charging stations had been installed in Europe.
As of March 2013[update], Norway, which has the highest electric ownership per capita, had 4,029 charging points and 127 quick charging stations. As part of its commitment to environmental sustainability, the Dutch government initiated a plan to establish over 200 charging stations across the country by 2015. The rollout will be undertaken by Switzerland-based power and automation company ABB and Dutch startup Fastned, and will aim to provide at least one station every 50 kilometres (31 miles) for the Netherlands' 16 million residents.
As of December 2012[update], Japan had 1,381 public quick-charge stations, the largest deployment of fast chargers in the world, but only around 300 slow chargers. As of December 2012[update], China had around 800 public slow charging points, and no fast charging stations. As of December 2012[update], the country with the highest ratio of quick chargers to electric vehicles (EVSE/EV) was Japan, with a ratio of 0.030, and the Netherlands had the largest ratio of slow EVSE/EV, with more than 0.50, while the U.S had a slow EVSE/EV ratio of 0.20.
As of September 2013[update], the largest public charging networks in Australia exist in the capital cities of Perth and Melbourne, with around 30 stations (7 kW AC) established in both cities—smaller networks exist in other capital cities.
Although most rechargeable electric vehicles and equipment can be recharged from a domestic wall socket, a charging station is usually accessible to multiple electric vehicles and has additional current or connection sensing mechanisms to disconnect the power when the EV is not charging.
There are two main types of safety sensor:
- additional physical 'sensor wires' which provide a feedback signal such as specified by the undermentioned SAE J1772 and IEC 62196 schemes that require special (multi-pin) power plug fittings,
- Current sensors which monitor the power consumed, and only maintain the connection if the demand is within a predetermined range. Sensor wires react more quickly, have fewer parts to fail and are possibly less expensive to design and implement. Current sensors however can use standard connectors and can readily provide an option for suppliers to monitor or charge for the electricity actually consumed.
Since 2012 there has been known issue where blink chargers were overheating and causing damage to both charger and car. The solution employed by the company was to reduce the maximum current.
In SAE terminology, 240 volt AC charging is known as level 2 charging, and 500 volt DC high-current charging is known as DC Fast Charge. Owners can install a level 2 charging station at home, while businesses and local government provide level 2 and DC Fast Charge public charging stations that supply electricity for a fee or free.
- Mode 1 - slow charging from a regular electrical socket (1- or 3-phase)
- Mode 2 - slow charging from a regular socket but which equipped with some EV specific protection arrangement (e.g., the Park & Charge or the PARVE systems)
- Mode 3 - slow or fast charging using a specific EV multi-pin socket with control and protection functions (e.g., SAE J1772 and IEC 62196)
- Mode 4 - fast charging using some special charger technology such as CHAdeMO.
There are three connection cases:
- Case A is any charger connected to the mains (the mains supply cable is usually attached to the charger) usually associated with modes 1 or 2
- Case B is an on-board vehicle charger with a mains supply cable which can be detached from both the supply and the vehicle - usually mode 3
- Case C is a dedicated charging station with DC supply to the vehicle. The mains supply cable may be permanently attached to the charge-station such as in mode 4.
There are four plug types
- Type 1 - single phase vehicle coupler - reflecting the SAE J1772/2009 automotive plug specifications
- Type 2 - single and three phase vehicle coupler - reflecting the VDE-AR-E 2623-2-2 plug specifications
- Type 3 - single and three phase vehicle coupler equipped with safety shutters - reflecting the EV Plug Alliance proposal
- Type 4 - fast charge coupler - for special systems such as CHAdeMO
Mode 1: Household socket and extension cord
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (December 2012)|
The vehicle is connected to the power grid through standard socket-outlets present in residences, which depending on the country are usually rated at around 10 A. To use mode 1, the electrical installation must comply with the safety regulations and must have an earthing system, a circuit breaker to protect against overload and an earth leakage protection. The sockets have blanking devices to prevent accidental contacts.
The first limitation is the available power, to avoid risks of
- heating of the socket and cables following intensive use for several hours at or near the maximum power (which varies from 8 to 16 A depending on the country)
- fire or electric injury risks if the electrical installation is obsolete or if certain protective devices are absent.
The second limitation is related to the installation's power management
- as the charging socket shares a feeder from the switchboard with other sockets (no dedicated circuit) if the sum of consumptions exceeds the protection limit (in general 16 A), the circuit-breaker will trip, stopping the charging.
All these factors impose a limit on the power in mode 1, for safety and service quality reasons. This limit is currently being defined, and the value of 10 A appears to be the best compromise.
Mode 2: Domestic socket and cable with a protection device
The vehicle is connected to the main power grid via household socket-outlets. Charging is done via a single-phase or three-phase network and installation of an earthing cable. A protection device is built into the cable. This solution is particularly expensive due to the specificity of the cable.
Mode 3: Specific socket on a dedicated circuit
The vehicle is connected directly to the electrical network via specific socket and plug and a dedicated circuit. A control and protection function is also installed permanently in the installation. This is the only charging mode that meets the applicable standards regulating electrical installations. It also allows load-shedding so that electrical household appliances can be operated during vehicle charging or on the contrary optimise the electric vehicle charging time.
Mode 4: Direct current (DC) connection for fast recharging
The electric vehicle is connected to the main power grid through an external charger. Control and protection functions and the vehicle charging cable are installed permanently in the installation.
The coordinated development of charging stations in a region by a company or local government is more fully discussed in the electric vehicle network article. Currently charging stations are being installed by public authorities, commercial enterprises and some major employers in order to stimulate the market for vehicle that use alternative fuels to gasoline & diesel fuels. For this reason most charge stations are currently either provided gratis or accessible to members of certain groups without significant charge (e.g. activated by a free "membership card" or by a digital "day code").
The battery capacity of a fully charged electric vehicle from electric vehicle automakers (such as Nissan) is about 20 kWh, providing it with an electrical autonomy of about 100 kilometres. Tesla Motors released their Model S with battery capacities of 60 kWh and 85 kWh with the latter having an estimated range of approximately 480 km. Plugin-hybrid vehicles have capacity of roughly 3 to 5 kWh, for an electrical autonomy of 20 to 40 kilometres (the gasoline engine ensures the autonomy of a conventional vehicle).
As this autonomy is still limited, the vehicle has to be charged every 2 or 3 days on average. In practice, drivers plug in their vehicles each night, thus starting each day with a full charge.
For normal charging (3 kW), car manufacturers have built a battery charger into the car. A charging cable is used to connect it to the electrical network to supply 230 volt AC current. For quicker charging (22 kW, even 43 kW and more), manufacturers have chosen two solutions:
- Use the vehicle's built-in charger, designed to charge from 3 to 43 kW at 230 V single-phase or 400 V three-phase.
- Use an external charger, which converts AC current into DC current and charges the vehicle at 44 kW (e.g. Nissan Leaf) or more (e.g. 120 kW Tesla Model S).
|Charging time||Power supply||Voltage||Max current|
|6–8 hours||Single phase - 3.3 kW||230 VAC||16 A|
|2–3 hours||Three phase - 10 kW||400 VAC||16 A|
|3–4 hours||Single phase - 7 kW||230 VAC||32 A|
|1–2 hours||Three phase - 24 kW||400 VAC||32 A|
|20–30 minutes||Three phase - 43 kW||400 VAC||63 A|
|20–30 minutes||Direct current - 50 kW||400 - 500 VDC||100 - 125 A|
The user finds charging an electric vehicle as simple as connecting a normal electrical appliance; however to ensure that this operation takes place in complete safety, the charging system must perform several safety functions and dialogue with the vehicle during connection and charging.
Charging stations for electric vehicles may not need much new infrastructure in developed countries, less than delivering a new alternative fuel over a new network. The stations can leverage the existing ubiquitous electrical grid and home recharging is an option. For example, polls have shown that more than half of homeowners in the USA have access to a plug to charge their cars. Also most driving is local over short distances which reduces the need for charging mid-trip. In the USA, for example, 78% of commutes are less than 40 miles (64 km) round-trip. Nevertheless, longer drives between cities and towns require a network of public charging stations or another method to extend the range of electric vehicles beyond the normal daily commute. One challenge in such infrastructure is the level of demand: an isolated station along a busy highway may see hundreds of customers per hour if every passing electric vehicle has to stop there to complete the trip. In the first half of the 20th century, internal combustion vehicles faced a similar infrastructure problem.
Smart grid communication
Recharging a large battery pack presents a high load on the electrical grid, but this can be scheduled for periods of reduced load or reduced electricity costs. In order to schedule the recharging, either the charging station or the vehicle can communicate with the smart grid. Some plug-in vehicles allow the vehicle operator to control recharging through a web interface or smartphone app. Furthermore, in a Vehicle-to-grid scenario the vehicle battery can supply energy to the grid at periods of peak demand. This requires additional communication between the grid, charging station, and vehicle electronics. SAE International is developing a range of standards for energy transfer to and from the grid including SAE J2847/1 "Communication between Plug-in Vehicles and the Utility Grid". ISO and IEC are also developing a similar series of standards known as ISO/IEC 15118: "Road vehicles -- Vehicle to grid communication interface".
Deployment of public charging stations
Charging stations can be found and will be needed where there is on-street parking, at taxi stands, in parking lots (at places of employment, hotels, airports, shopping centers, convenience shops, fast food restaurants, coffeehouses etc.), phone booths, as well as in driveways and garages at home. Existing filling stations may also become or may incorporate charging stations. Stations can be added onto other public infrastructure that have an electrical supply, such as phone booths and smart parking meters.
Vehicle and charging station projects and joint ventures
Electric car manufacturers, charging infrastructure providers, and regional governments have entered into many agreements and ventures to promote and provide electric vehicle networks of public charging stations.
The EV Plug Alliance is an association of 21 European manufacturers which proposes an alternative connecting solution. The project is to impose an IEC norm and to adopt a European standard for the connection solution with sockets and plugs for electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
Members (Schneider Electric, Legrand, Scame, Nexans, etc.) argue that the system is safer because they use shutters. General consensus is that the IEC 62196 and IEC 61851-1 already have taken care of safety by making parts not touchable when live.
Charging station manufacturers
The principal suppliers and manufacturers of charging stations offer a range of options from simple charging posts for roadside use, charging cabinets for covered parking places to fully automated charging stations integrated with power distribution equipment
DC charging stations (fast)
These companies (among AC slow-charging stations) design and manufacture DC Fast charging stations (less than 30 minutes). These systems may offer a restricted charge (stops at 80% SOC), or changes charging rate to a lower level after the 80% SOC is reached.
- EVTRONIC (Stations with CHAdeMO, ISO61851 and SAE Combined Charging System CCS) .
- Eaton (Stations with CHAdeMO and SAE Combined Charging System CCS) (US and Canada) up to 1MW.
- EFACEC  (Stations with CHAdeMO and CCS (E.U. or U.S.) (CCS)
- ABB  (Stations with CHAdeMO and CCS)
- Fuji Electric  and 
- Schneider Electric
- Signet Systems
- Delta Electronics  and  (Stations with CHAdeMO certified)
Charging network operators
An operator manages charging stations.
- Car Charging Group
- Better Place
- FullCharger International
- EV Connect
- ESARJ EV Charging Operator
Reports emerged in late July 2013 of a significant conflict between the companies responsible for the two types of charging machines. The Japanese-developed CHAdeMO standard is favored by Nissan, Mitsubishi, and Toyota, while the Society of Automotive Engineers’ (SAE) International J1772 Combo standard is backed by GM, Ford, Volkswagen, and BMW. Both are direct-current quick-charging systems designed to charge the battery of an electric vehicle to 80 percent in approximately 20 minutes, but the two systems are completely incompatible. In light of an ongoing feud between the two companies, experts in the field warned that the momentum of the electric vehicle market will be severely affected. Richard Martin, editorial director for clean technology marketing and consultant firm Navigant Research, stated:
Fast charging, however and whenever it gets built out, is going to be key for the development of a mainstream market for plug-in electric vehicles. The broader conflict between the CHAdeMO and SAE Combo connectors, we see that as a hindrance to the market over the next several years that needs to be worked out.
As of September 16, 2013, a standard does not exist in Australia for charging connectors. Australia’s first fast-DC charging stations follow the Japanese ChaDeMo standard and these may be obsolete by 2015.
EV charging station signs
In the United States, the standard charging station sign is defined in the Federal Highway Administration's Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) 2009 edition.
- See two examples of "D9-11b Electric Vehicle Charging" and "D9-11bP Electric Vehicle Charging" at "Figure 2I-1. General Service Signs and Plaques", page 301, Sect. 2I.02
There is an open source, public domain European charge station sign proposed.
Block heater power supplies
In colder areas such as Finland, some northern US states and Canada there already exists some infrastructure for public power outlets provided primarily for use by block heaters and set with circuit breakers that prevent large current draws for other uses. These can sometimes be used to recharge electric vehicles, albeit slowly. In public lots, some such outlets are only turned on when the temperature falls below -20°C, further limiting their use.
A charging station is different from a battery switch station, which is a place to swap a discharged battery or battery pack for a fully charged one, saving the delay of waiting for the vehicle's battery to charge. Battery swapping is common in warehouses using electric forklift trucks. The concept of exchangeable battery service was first proposed as early as 1896 in order to overcome the limited operating range of electric cars and trucks. It was first put into practice by Hartford Electric Light Company through the GeVeCo battery service and was initially available for electric trucks. The vehicle owner purchased the vehicle from General Vehicle Company (GVC, a subsidiary of the General Electric Company) without a battery and the electricity was purchased from Hartford Electric through an exchangeable battery. The owner paid a variable per-mile charge and a monthly service fee to cover maintenance and storage of the truck. Both vehicles and batteries were modified to facilitate a fast battery exchange. The service was provided between 1910 to 1924 and during that period covered more than 6 million miles. Beginning in 1917 a similar successful service was operated in Chicago for owners of Milburn Light Electric cars who also could buy the vehicle without the batteries. A rapid battery replacement system was implemented to keep running 50 electric buses at the 2008 Summer Olympics.
The companies Better Place, Tesla Motors, and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries considered working in integrating battery switch technology in their electric vehicles to extend their driving range. In a battery switch station, the driver does not need to get out of the car while the battery is swapped. Battery swap depends on at least one electric car designed for "easy swap" of batteries. However, electric vehicle manufacturers that are working on battery switch technology have not standardized on battery access, attachment, dimension, location, or type.
Tesla Motors introduced a proprietary charging station service to support owners of Tesla Model S automobiles in the summer of 2013. The growing network of Tesla stations will be able to support both battery pack swaps for the Model S, as well as the more-widespread fast charging capability for both the Model S and the Tesla Roadster.
Battery swapping has the following benefits:
- Fast battery swapping under five minutes.
- Unlimited driving range where there are battery switch stations available.
- The driver does not have to get out of the car while the battery is swapped.
- The driver does not own the battery in the car, transferring costs over the battery, battery life, maintenance, capital cost, quality, technology, and warranty to the battery switch station company.
- Contract with battery switch company could subsidize the electric vehicle at a price lower than equivalent petrol cars.
- The spare batteries at swap stations could participate in vehicle to grid storage.
- Better Place
The Better Place network was the first modern commercial deployment of the battery switching model. The Renault Fluence Z.E. was the first electric car enabled with switchable battery technology available for the Better Place network in operation in Israel and Denmark. Better Place used the same technology to swap batteries that F-16 jet fighter aircraft use to load their bombs. Better Place launched its first battery-swapping station in Israel, in Kiryat Ekron, near Rehovot in March 2011. The battery exchange process took five minutes. As of December 2012[update], about 600 Fluence Z.E.s were sold in the country. Sales during the first quarter of 2013 improved, with 297 cars sold, bringing the total fleet in Israel close to 900. As of December 2012[update], there were 17 battery switch stations fully operational in Denmark enabling customers to drive anywhere across the country in an electric car. Fluence Z.E. sales totaled 198 units through December 2012.
Better Place filed for bankruptcy in Israel in May 2013. The company's financial difficulties were caused by the high investment required to develop the charging and swapping infrastructure, about US$850 million in private capital, and a market penetration significantly lower than originally predicted by Shai Agassi. Less than 1,000 Fluence Z.E. cars were deployed in Israel and around 400 units in Denmark. Under Better Place's business model, the company owns the batteries, so the court liquidator will have to decide what to do with customers who do not have ownership of the battery and risk being left with a useless car.
- Tesla Motors
Tesla Motors designed its Model S to allow fast battery swapping. In June 2013, Tesla announced their goal to deploy a battery swapping station in each of its supercharging stations. At a demonstration event Tesla showed that a battery swap operation with the Model S takes just over 90 seconds, about half the time it takes to refill a gasoline-powered car used for comparison purposes during the event.
The first stations are planned to be deployed along Interstate 5 in California where, according to Tesla, a large number of Model S sedans make the San Francisco-Los Angeles trip regularly. These will be followed by the Washington, DC to Boston corridor. Elon Musk said the service would be offered for the price of about 15 US gallons (57 l; 12 imp gal) of gasoline at the current local rate, around US$60 to US$80 at June 2013 prices. Owners can pick up their battery pack fully charged on the return trip, which is included in the swap fee. Tesla will also offer the option to keep the pack received on the swap and paying the price difference if the battery received is newer; or to receive the original pack back from Tesla for a transport fee. Pricing has not been determined.
These battery swapping solution have been criticized for being proprietary. By creating a monopoly regarding the ownership of the batteries and the patent protected technologies the companies split up the market and decrease the chances of a wider usage of battery swapping. 
Renewable electricity and RE charging stations
Charging stations are usually connected to the electrical grid, which often means that their electricity originates from fossil-fuel power stations or nuclear power plants. Solar power is also suitable for electric vehicles. SolarCity is marketing its solar energy systems along with electric car charging installations. The company has announced a partnership with Rabobank to make electric car charging available for free to owners of Tesla Motors' vehicles traveling on Highway 101 between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Other cars that can make use of same charging technology are welcome.
The SPARC (Solar Powered Automotive ReCharging Station) uses a single custom fabricated monocrystalline solar panel capable of producing 2.7 kW of peak power to charge pure electric or plug-in hybrid to 80% capacity without drawing electricity from the local grid. Plans for the SPARC include a non-grid tied system as well as redundancy for tying to the grid through a renewable power plan. This supports their claim for net-zero driving of electric vehicles.
E-Move charging station
The E-Move Charging Station is equipped with eight monocrystalline solar panels, which can supply 1.76KWp of solar power. With further refinements, the designers are hoping to generate about 2000KWh of electricity from the panels over the year.
Wind-powered charging station
In 2012, Urban Green Energy introduced the world's first wind-powered electric vehicle charging station, the Sanya SkyPump. The design features a 4 kW vertical-axis wind turbine paired with a GE WattStation. 
- Automated charging machine
- Battery charger
- Battery leasing
- Direct coupling
- Dump charging
- Electric vehicle battery
- Electric vehicle network
- EV Project
- Filling station
- In-road electric vehicle charger
- List of energy storage projects
- Magne Charge
- Park & Charge
- Plug-in vehicle
- Plug-in hybrid vehicle
- Plugless Power
- SAE J1772 and CHAdeMO charging standards
- Solar-charged vehicle
- Transport electrification
- V2G, V2Green and V2H
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