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  • Understanding How Charging Stations Work

    Charging stations are a necessary part of owning an electric vehicle. Instead of putting gas into the vehicle, you put electricity. In order to do so, you must have a charging station that is compatible with your particular model.

    charging-station-at-homeMany people choose to install home charging stations, although public charging stations are becoming more prevalent as more people purchase electric vehicles and the demand for on-the-road charging continues to climb.

    Have you ever wondered how electric vehicle chargers work? Here is a brief summary of the process that leads from plugging in to you being able to drive your electric vehicle to work or the store.

    1) There are two basic types of charging stations available. The most common for home use is the 240-volt “Level 2” charging station, although larger public charging sites may use a 500-volt DC fast charge as well as the Level 2 type.

    While many cars can be charged from a regular wall socket, this is not considered a “charging station” and is probably soon to be outmoded as a way of charging because of the slowness of this method.

    2) Each of these types of charging stations offers charging at certain speeds by varying the amperage, voltage, and temperature of the battery. Newer charging stations offer an additional benefit in that they can monitor the temperature and rate of charge of the battery, so they help to preserve battery life.

    3) One of the newest ideas in charging electric cars in the “power grid” concept.

    If vehicles can be connected directly to the power grid infrastructure they can not only take advantage of the higher input voltage but can also access the excess power that often idles unused in the power grid.

    Since most people charge their electric cars at night, this system works well as this is when other appliance use is at a low. Chargers that tap into the power grid automatically sense the fluctuations in power in the line and can begin or end charging to take advantage of peak opportunities to charge quickly.

    4) Chargers work by recharging the car’s battery or batteries. Electric cars have an opening on the front or side of the vehicle that has a receptacle similar to those you see in your house but in a different configuration.

    A cord extends from the car to the charging station or wall plug and feeds electricity into the car. As the electricity enters the system, the battery captures the charge and slowly builds it up so that it can be released when the car is operated.

    5) It costs approximately $3.00 in most areas to charge the car fully overnight. In some areas, there may be higher costs associated with the charging process because of higher charges for electricity.

    6) In order to charge at home, most people purchase a charging station. A basic 240-volt charging station can cost $5,000, making this a significant part of the cost of owning an electric vehicle. However, charging stations will likely come down in price as more people purchase electric vehicle and the demand for chargers continues to rise, leading to more competition in the market.

    As the technology to produce charges becomes more advanced, it is also likely that chargers will become more compact and deliver higher performance than current models.

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