EVs have taken the world by storm. In 2012, there were only 120000 electric cars in the world. As of 2021, more EVs are sold than that every week worldwide. Around 2 million EVs were sold in the first quarter of 2022, a 75% rise from last year. This exponential rise in Electric vehicle sales is a consequence of several factors.
Governments are keen to diminish the use of fuel-run vehicles, and with a growing number of nations on course to phase out internal combustion engines, the use of EVs is seeing a steady rise. This is also a result of aggressive innovations, better-charging infrastructure and government subsidies to motivate consumers to get more EVs. An almost negligible carbon footprint and being an eco-friendly alternative are also important reasons for the popularity of EVs spreading across the globe.
EVs run slightly different from traditional fuel-based vehicles. They have a battery pack which needs to be charged once they run out. These batteries are primarily Lithium-ion batteries and can be charged in several ways. In this article, we will dive deep into how these chargers work.
Growth of EV Charging
The growth of the EV charger market is running parallel to the success of EVs. With strong demand for EVs comes the demand for better and fast chargers. The EV charger industry was valued at USD 7 billion in 2021 and is expected to surpass USD 64 billion by 2030. The Asia Pacific region was a leader in the global EV charger market in 2020, followed by Europe.
With constant innovations and investments, battery costs are coming down and investing in an Electric vehicle is becoming an economical choice for many buyers.
Principle of EV Charging
EV chargers are differentiated based on two primary factors:
- The current they operate on (AC or DC).
- The amount of energy they deliver to the vehicle.
Before going into the different levels of EV charging, let’s understand the key differences between an AC and DC charger.
Alternating Current(AC) charger:
An AC charger runs on an alternating current. An alternating current is what runs all our household electrical appliances. It is named so because the current changes directions periodically, and the magnitude ‘alternates’. AC is widely used since it is easier to transmit to longer distances.
The electricity stored in EV batteries and the devices it runs is, in fact, run by Direct current (DC). Hence, batteries in EVs store direct current and when a vehicle is charged using an AC charger, the AC is converted to DC using a converter available inside the vehicle.
Direct Current (DC) charger:
DC charger runs on direct current. Direct current moves in a straight line and in only one direction. Almost all electronic devices operate on DC. Every device which runs on a battery also requires DC. Sometimes charging these household devices may require an AC adapter that converts AC to DC.
Different EV Charging Levels
Innovations in EV chargers are happening rapidly. Presently, there are four levels of EV chargers, with Level 4 being the fastest. It is a common misconception that Level 3 and Level 4 are strictly DC chargers. All these four levels of chargers could run on DC or AC, the only difference being that the AC would need to be converted to DC by the convertor in the vehicle before the batteries can charge. These levels are determined by the chargers’ charging capacity and input/output power ratings. Let’s take a look at the different levels of chargers in detail:
Level 1 chargers are the slowest chargers and are installed in domestic garages. They have a typical power rating of about 1 KW and take between 16-25 hours to charge a vehicle fully. The chargers that come with the EVs are usually Level 1 chargers.
Level 2 chargers are faster than Level 1 chargers, with a typical power rating of up to 5 KW. They are used in domestic garages, office parking lots and commercial parking spaces. Companies charge extra to install Level 2 chargers at domestic garages as an upgrade from Level 1 chargers. Level 2 chargers are roughly 5 to 15 times faster than Level 1 chargers and may take anywhere from 4-10 hours to charge a vehicle.
Levels 3 and 4 are superfast chargers that operate on high power ratings. A typical power rating of a Level 3 charger is 80 KW, while that of a level 4 charger is 120 KW. While a Level 3 charger can charge a vehicle fully in about 40 minutes, it only takes 25 minutes for a Level 4 charger.
These are specialised chargers available at specific locations and installed by vehicle manufacturers as proprietary support to their customers.
These chargers are also large in size as they require heavy insulation and several converters.
It’s no surprise that the operating costs of higher-capacity chargers (Levels 3 and 4) are higher than those of lower-capacity chargers.
How can eInfochips help?
eInfochips has years of expertise across ADAS/ Autonomous Vehicles, HEMS/ EV charging, V2X, Telematics, Infotainment, and Multimedia. We help global OEMs, and Tier1s deliver a superior experience that focuses on safety & efficiency. Our solutions, which range from core automotive product engineering, AUTOSAR compliant ECU software development, HMI design & testing to next-gen technology enablement (edge computing, cloud, AI/ML, data analytics), are acclaimed by industry leaders. Contact us if you’re looking for a connected vehicle solution: https://www.einfochips.com/contact-us/
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