Debunked: 4 Misconceptions Surrounding EV Fast Charging Stations


EVCS Stations
EVCS stations standing sentry, waiting to serve a growing number of electric vehicles.

Every industry is guaranteed to experience a technological revolution at some point, and currently, we are witnessing a major shift in the automotive industry away from traditional combustion engine vehicles to electric vehicles, or EVs. As with any widespread adoption of new tools and technologies, misconceptions abound, particularly around fast-charging stations and how long an EV actually takes to charge. In an effort to address these misconceptions, below is a roundup of the most circulated ideas surrounding charging stations, along with facts and expert information to set the record straight.


Misconception No. 1:

Fast charging stations are not adequately future-proofed for newer generations of EVs.

Fact:

Future-proofing does not mean installing the most powerful chargers now, as the majority of EVs currently available cannot utilize the high 350KW charging rate. In fact, only one EV currently available for purchase can utilize this level of charge. Instead, future-proofing in the context of charging stations means guaranteeing that a site has capabilities to host more powerful chargers when EV charging requirements and economics align. That way, vendors can quickly upgrade charging sites without having to massively upgrade infrastructure.


Misconception No. 2:

Before EVs can be adopted on a widespread scale, more powerful, not just fast-charging stations are required.

Fact:

This is entirely untrue. In fact, a number of studies have concluded the main requirement for the widespread adoption of EVs is an increase in the number of fast chargers available, not more powerful, 350K stations. Additionally, many charging companies are rapidly expanding their networks and placing them strategically to help solve this.


Misconception No. 3:

50KW fast chargers become obsolete the moment they are installed.

Fact:

The majority of EVs currently being manufactured cannot accept a faster rate of charge than 50 kWh, and fast chargers are roughly ten times faster than Level II chargers, with the ability to fully charge an EV within an hour and a half. Additionally, most people are careful to not let their EV charge drop too low, so they only charge their car partially, which is much faster.

It also needs to be considered that once an EV battery begins to fill up, charging occurs at a lower rate regardless of charger output. In fact, after an EV reaches a 75 percent charge, the rate of charge is identical regardless of whether it is a 50KW charger or a 350KW charger.


Misconception No. 4:

Operational expenses are the same for fast chargers as for more powerful chargers.

Fact:

Unfortunately for vendors, the biggest operating expense is the demand charge or the fees applied to the electric bills of business customers. The average cost of a demand charge is roughly $10 a KW per month, so 50KW charging stations will cost the vendor $500 per month in demand charges. A 350KW powerful charger will cost $3,500. To cover these costs, huge utilization is required but, as it stands, with only one EV model suitable to utilize these stations, recuperating these costs is not possible.

Additionally, the industry average is also less than a 5-percent utilization rate right now, so the economics currently does not work for higher output chargers. Let’s say you install four 350KWs at a site and you are unlucky enough to have 4 vehicles charging at the same time, you will be paying $14,000 for that month just in demand charge, not including the actual cost of electricity.



See AlsoCritical Considerations for Mass Electric Vehicle Adoption: Economic Advantages and Barriers

Photos copyright EVCS. All rights reserved.

Gustavo Occhiuzzo is the Co-founder and CEO at EVCS, one of the largest and fastest-growing operators of Electric Vehicle Fast Charging stations on the West Coast.

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