The market for electric vehicles or EVs is rapidly growing in the UK and such a drastic trend entails the need for charging infrastructure that enables drivers to charge instantly at home, at public stations, or while travelling.
Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment or EVSE is a charging equipment that connects an EV to the main electrical supply. You can charge with a specialised or non-specialised chargepoint (e.g. 3-pin socket outlet). There are two types of EV charging: Type 1 and Type 2 charging.
This guide will focus on Type 2 EV charging, its applicability in several scenarios, standards and operations, and in the context of smart charging. We will also include other charging types and options for the sake of general information and comparison.
EV Charging Basics
There are two broad categories when charging an electric vehicle: AC charging and DC charging.
AC charging supplies alternating current to the vehicle or the equipment built inside the vehicle and converts it into DC or direct current to charge the car’s battery.
DC charging occurs when an alternating current is converted into direct current through a charging point before supplying your vehicle with it.
4 Modes of Charging
Aside from the two broad categories of charging, BS EN 61851-1 standard identifies 4 modes of charging
Mode 1 (AC)
A socket outlet or non-dedicated circuit Mode 1 will connect to a non-dedicated charging infrastructure with a cable but no control apparatus. However, most experts don’t recommend Mode 1 EV charging. Aside from that, this mode doesn’t guarantee RCD protection.
Mode 2 (AC)
Non-specialized socket outlet and circuit with RCD-incorporated cable.
- In-cable protection and control functions
- AC Charging
- Limited to 7.4kW (32A) for industrial use or 3kW (13A) for residential use
Mode 2 utilizes non-dedicated infrastructure like a BS 1363 home socket with a BS EN 60309-2 or BS 1362 fuse industrial socket and plug. But the Mode 2 cable connecting the electrical supply to the vehicle assimilates a Protection Device and In-Cable Control that has a downstream RCD protection of the unit.
In residential applications, mode charging capacities are often limited to the vehicle’s protocols while charging at 1.4kW – 2.3kW. Although occasional charging through a non-dedicated circuit is sustainable, it is best to do Mode 2 charging with a dedicated EV circuit and Type 2 to CCS adapter.
Mode 3 (AC)
A dedicated EV charging infrastructure with a dedicated outlet
- AC charging
- Control, protection and communications functions integrated within the chargepoint like “smart” charging and other features
- Dynamic charging capabilities for single-phase or three-phase AC charging of up to 50kW
Mode 3 is a dedicated EV charging system for residential, public and commercial charging which runs from a dedicated circuit. It generally works at 3.7kW (16A) to 7.4kW (32A) for residential functions although power may be much higher in public or commercial applications.
Mode 4 (DC)
Mode 4 has a dedicated EV charging infrastructure and a dedicated outlet
- DC charging
- CCS (Combined Charging System) or CHAdeMO connector options and communication protocols
- For commercial and public charging operations
- Dynamic capacity from tens of kW to 100kW
This mode offers DC charging for the vehicle and executes control functions inside the charging point. It also bypasses the charger on the vehicle so it can use the large equipment needed to generate high charging currents.
Generally, Mode 4 chargers work at 50kW although the system offers a much higher supply of power than your site permits.
There are plans to standardize wireless charging under the BS EN 61980 series but we won’t cover the subject for the time being. This is because wireless charging isn’t a norm yet, aside from being unavailable commercially in the UK.
Most EV charging will likely occur at the vehicle’s address (whether a business or home premise) and is usually the cheapest tariff. This preferred charging method provides a lot of benefits to consumers and the country’s energy system. The opportunity of charging in public or workplace infrastructures is also crucial.
High-powered DC charging is an essential part of the combination for long journeys. There isn’t sufficient support yet for residents without off-street parking. This is crucial in improving EV sales in urban settings where market value contributions can impact and improve air quality.
There’s an increase in the manufacture of vehicles with different battery sizes and capacities and increasing range. The battery size affects the vehicle’s charging time and is one of the major factors in selecting the right charging option.
A PHEV or Plug-in Hybrid with a smaller battery may not need lower power solutions. On the other hand, there is a need to charge purely electric vehicles from high-power options to charge conveniently overnight.
An EV’s battery pack is always charging with DC power. The power that comes from the grid is AC which requires DC power conversion before reaching the battery pack.
- With an AC chargepoint, the current is converted to DC through an onboard charger. Weight and space considerations tend to limit the charger’s power in the vehicle.
- A DC charger will convert AC to DC and bypass the vehicle’s charger. The DC charger isn’t limited by weight or space and can accommodate higher charging times and currents since the batteries are much shorter. Thus, DC chargingpoints are bigger and more costly than AC chargepoints.
Charging points, also called Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment or EVSE is the equipment that comes between the electric vehicle and the electrical wiring of a building or space. EVSE covers calves, protective devices, type 1 to type 2 charging adapters, accessories or communication equipment installed to provide power to the electric vehicle.
There are different EV charging modes but there are only types of charging at a higher level – AC and DC charging. The rule of thumb is that AC is around low to medium while DC are higher power system.
It is the UK government’s vision to make every car in the UK an Ultra Low Emission Vehicle or ULEV by 2050, and most of these would be plug-in electric cars.
Equipment Types and Charging Times
The time it takes to charge an electric vehicle battery depends on several factors including:
- Vehicle-related e.g.
- technology and battery size,
- onboard charger capacity and efficiency
- battery temperature
- Equipment-related e.g.
- plug and socket outlet’s rated current
- cable size,
- supply circuit.
These factors affect charging time.
Public AC charging points are generally connected to the EV with a charging lead inside the vehicle. This is then plugged into the chargepoint socket outlet and vehicle inlet. Presently, the majority of private home EV-specific charging points are fitted with a tethered type 2 charging cable pinout and connector that matches the vehicle’s being charged.
DC chargepoints all employ tethered cables with a connector for a DC-specific vehicle inlet. On some cars, AC and DC inlets are physically different and kept separate. With more recent vehicles, there are AC and DC options in a vehicle inlet but with separate connectors for AC and DC.
The setup of these connectors allows incorrectly connecting an AC supply to a DC inlet and vice versa. Aside from providing a connection between the vehicle and the electrical supply, a chargepoint is crucial for the communication, safety and control between the devices.
Calculating Charging Time
The calculation is simple although there are essential factors to consider with the input numbers.
Amount Of Charge Needed
- The charge amount needed is the kWh number required to deliver into the battery. In most instances, it will not reach full battery capacity even if it is assumed to charge at 100%.
- The first factor to treat is the battery’s “usable capability”. For operation purposes and battery safety, some vehicles won’t allow the battery to drop at a certain charging level. The vehicle’s gauge measures usability, not capacity.
- For instance, a 24 kWh battery may contain 21 kWh usable capacity which entails that even if the vehicle charges from 0 – 100%, it’s charging at 3 – 24 kWh such that its usable capacity is required to calculate charging time.
- The other factor is that under normal conditions charging is carried out before the indicator shows zero so it is only partially charged. The remaining kWh number can be subtracted from the battery’s usable capacity to calculate the needed charge amount.
- With AC chargingpoints, the charger along with the vehicle’s onboard charger will have a maximum rating each. The vehicle charges at a lower level.
- AC or DC, the charging rate drops as the battery nearly reaches 100%. This is barely obvious in chargepoints with 10 kW but for higher powers, chargingpoints are a major factor to calculate the charging time from 80 – 100%.
The behaviour of Charging Rate
Generally, high-powered chargers have an 80% charging time. This is to attain performance advantage (aside from the fact that this is the ideal setup in public utility situations). This is because the battery’s charging capacity diminishes at a high rate as it closes to full capacity.
Home charging is a different story due to the usual power involved. And the higher the chargepoint’s power, the more obvious this becomes.
For example, a 100 KW chargepoint can charge a battery to 40% fast but the charging rate gradually reduces beyond that. Once the battery is at 70% capacity, the charging rate may resemble that of a 50 kW chargepoint, and the last bit of charge has the same rate as domestic sockets.
Thus, nearing the end of a charging session, a 50 kW DC charger operates at a fraction of its capacity, and a 3.7 kW charger operates at an almost maximum rate (relatively slow). The point here is that since a 50 kW chargepoint will be charging at a high rate, the total battery charging time is still shorter.
Somewhere between 30-40& range a 100 kW chargepoint gradually slows down. The same decrease rate occurs in 50 kW chargepoints at 70% and 25 kW at 90%.
Charge Rate as Battery Fills
A working EV charging network should have integrated charging equipment with management and communications software linking back to the services office. Chargepoints can work as standalone devices. You can also link it to back-office service providers with a network connection.
Many of the chargepoints have a sim and the capacity to get firmware updates to ensure compatibility and for single chargepoints– as generally required. For charging networks, connectivity enables the capturing and monitoring of data along with back-office services which support drivers and operators.
The majority of public or commercial networks will, at the very least, require control of access or payment functionalities. Standalone chargers have fixed or limited capacities to verify users along with their information. Pre-program such information into the chargepoints.
Without a connection to the back office, chargepoints will not instantly report faults making it impossible to remotely monitor, diagnose, and maintain the level 2 charger kw. With commercial or public operators, the advantage of the network connection will outweigh the service’s cost.
Back-office connects generally to a chargepoint through a wireless data service from its mobile network operators. 3G modems are built-in at the chargepoint to establish the connection. Alternatively, if a 3G is unavailable, one can use wired connections such as ADSL.
If there’s a weak 3G signal, install a 3G booster close to the chargepoint. The booster can pick up a large directional aerial for the best 3G signal, and amplify or re-broadcast it to create a hot spot for connectivity around the chargepoint.
This 3G hot spot may be utilized by any cellphone user within the area. For instance, pay-as-you-go apps can verify and pay for charging.
Vehicle Charging Requirements
Different vehicles have different battery pack sizes such that charging requirements will vary. For any vehicle, there’s generally one that’s a suitable charging solution although you can use the battery capacity to make assumptions about the most appropriate charging equipment.
Accessibility is the most crucial consideration instead of chargepoint numbers. Typically, at least 80% of EV charging occurs at home and usually overnight.
This benefits not only the consumer but the UK energy system. Opportunity workplace or public charging is smaller although just as crucial for EV drivers to maximise their battery use. Thus, installation of on-street charging points addressed and help reduce a driver’s “range anxiety” on the street.
But for a lot of people this problem will diminish as EV ownership increases. To assure drivers of commercial longevity, accessibility, and planned locations, charging infrastructures need to evolve and increase in numbers.
The electric vehicle market is quite dynamic and is influenced by the latest technologies, government policies, public attitudes, and outside influences. Standards have been developed throughout the years are we’re beginning to see standardization in the area and it remains essential in the identification and response of needs.
Public Chargepoints and Government Support
As the demand for electric vehicles (EVs) continues to rise, the availability of public chargepoints has become crucial for the widespread adoption of sustainable transportation. In the United Kingdom, the government has recognized this need and has taken significant steps to promote the development of public chargepoint infrastructure across the country.
The UK government’s commitment to expanding the EV charging network is evident in its initiatives and policies. One of the key programs introduced to support the installation of public chargepoints is the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS). Under this scheme, eligible EV owners can receive grants to assist with the cost of installing a charging point at their residence. This has not only encouraged more people to switch to electric vehicles but has also facilitated the establishment of a reliable charging infrastructure at homes.
Moreover, the government has been proactive in addressing the need for public charging facilities in various locations. The On-street Residential Chargepoint Scheme (ORCS) was launched to promote the installation of EV chargepoints on residential streets where there is no off-street parking available. This initiative supports local authorities in providing accessible charging options to EV owners who do not have private driveways or garages. It helps alleviate range anxiety and ensures that charging infrastructure is more widely accessible.
In addition to residential charging solutions, the government has focused on developing a comprehensive network of public chargepoints in key locations such as highways, cities, and towns. The government’s goal is to create an extensive and reliable charging infrastructure, allowing EV drivers to travel with confidence across the country. Initiatives like the Rapid Charging Fund and the On-street Charging Scheme aim to accelerate the deployment of fast and ultra-fast chargepoints in strategic locations, including petrol stations, retail areas, and public car parks. These efforts have resulted in an increased number of easily accessible charging points for the public.
To ensure interoperability and seamless user experience, the government has also taken steps to standardize the charging infrastructure. The Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP) has been adopted as a common standard for communication between charging stations and central management systems. This approach enables EV drivers to use various charging networks and payment methods, reducing the complexity and inconvenience associated with accessing public chargepoints.
Furthermore, the government has implemented regulations to promote the availability of chargepoints in new non-residential buildings and car parks. The introduction of the Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Regulations 2020 mandates that new non-residential buildings must have a minimum number of chargepoints installed, depending on their size and intended use. This requirement ensures that future developments are EV-ready and supports the long-term growth of the electric vehicle market.
OLEV has been looking to support the market with grant funds to install on-street chargers at the EV owner’s request. You can take advantage of these funds if you’re looking to install a Type 2 connector at home.
We hope this guide was helpful. If you’re looking to begin your Level charging installation at home, do not hesitate to give us a call.
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