The demand for electric vehicles has exploded, but supporting infrastructure still has a long way to go to realize the vision of a fossil-fuel-free world.
When is the last time you’ve seen an electric vehicle charging station? If you’re like most Americans, it has probably been a while. That is going to have to change to support the anticipated 3 million electric vehicles (EV) expected to be on the road by 2025.
Image: International Council on Clean Transportation Via Wired
The Need For Charging Stations
Charging stations might be common in California and a few other metropolitan areas, but a recent scientific analysis conducted by the International Council on Clean Transportation found every city needs to increase the number of new charging stations built each year by at least 20 percent to meet demand. According to the report, New York needs to up its charging station infrastructure by 35 percent each year; Portland by 23 percent; Boston by 27 percent; and Washington D.C. by 20 percent to meet demand. Los Angeles alone needs about 35,000 charging stations to support anticipated demand for electric vehicles. It currently has about 5,000.
Demanding More Infrastructure
Charging Station infrastructure has not been commissioned on a wide scale for two reasons. First, the demand for electric vehicles has never required it. Second, the technology is expensive to deploy.
According to a study conducted by McKinsey & Company, the two biggest roadblocks to EV adoption were vehicle unattractiveness and limited range. As EV technology advances, however, these hurdles will no longer deter shoppers who want to decrease their ecological footprints. According to the study, approximately 350 electric cars, vans, and trucks and expected to enter the market by 2025, and automobile makes have a sleek design in mind. Pair that with new-and-improved EV ranges that average 200 miles on a single charge and EV demand is anticipated to soar by 2025. But will charging infrastructure keep up?
Previously, homeowners with EVs charged at home. Major metropolitan areas offered a handful of charging stations for early adopters of the technology, and that worked fine, until now. The Mckinsey study found consumers ranked poor access to charging stations as the third-highest barrier to purchase. This should give automobile makers confidence that if investments in charging stations are made, sales will increase. EV infrastructure will have to improve to support demand for the technology and, more importantly, move towards a greener world.
Aside from increasing access to charging stations, consumers also need access to high-quality EV charging connectors. Consumers may want at least two charging connectors: one for home and one for the road. And, a high-quality EV charging connector could make the difference between charging time. When one is in a hurry, the difference between 6 and 12 hours of charging time can make a huge difference.
To understand what kind of infrastructure is needed, let’s discuss the various methodologies available for EV charging. There are three different methods of EV charging: Level 1, Level 2, and DC Fast.
Level 1 is equal to 120V charging and essentially equates to plugging an EV into any properly grounded wall socket. EV charging cords come equipped with a standard three-prong plug that can plug into any standard wall socket, which makes charging an EV convenient, but slow. A small hybrid vehicle with a small battery back may recharge overnight at that rate (think Chevy Spark), but a larger hybrid like the Nissan Leaf requires Level 2 charging.
Level 2 charging is equal to 240V charging, and is required for most standard-sized electric veicles. Level 2 charging requires a dedicated EV charging station that can handle 240V. These stations can be installed using the same kind of electrical wiring required for a dryer, and allows for overnight charging of most electric passenger cars. Or, if you have a smaller electric car, you can charge it in half the time. Keep in mind Level 2 charging requires a charging cable that can handle 240V.
DC Fast charging is the third type of charging methodology. It works by using high-voltage DC power for quick charging, and is ideal for public charging stations, as it requires the installation of power lines. Similar to Level 2 charging, if you want to be able to do DC Fast charging, you’ll need to purchase a separate charging cable rated for high voltage usage.
Most standard EV charging cables are 120V. To charge faster, you’ll need to purchase an EV cable with a higher voltage rating. There are also other considerations you should be aware of when shopping for a new charger. EV chargers should be rated for cold impact and durable across a range of temperature extremes. Cables should also be resistant to corrosion and support frequent use. The cable will be used on a daily basis (most likely), so it needs to be able to withstand frequent mating and unmating.
Mains 600V EV Charging Cable
There are many EV charging cables on the market. We like Mains Power Cord model 2267220-3 for Type 1 from TE connectivity. For starters, it can handle a whopping 600V and 32 amps during a charging session, which is more than enough for DC Fast charging. It has a new housing design, called DiBO+, which is ergonomic and designed to meet UL62 cold impact requirements. It also fits nicely in security enclosures.
Aside from power specifications, the cable was quality tested for 10,000 mating cycles and is rated for high mating cycle usage. With this, the connector is magnetized to improve life expectancy, and the cable itself was made using TE Madison high flex materials for durability.
Lastly, the contacts are sealed with liquid silicon rubber to prevent against corrosion and water accumulation. All materials are also resistant to impact, harmful fluids, and UV exposure (F1 UL classification). The 2267220-3 also meets SAE J1772 and UL2251 specifications.
This cable has every specification we typically look for when rating EV charging cables, and it’s affordable at about $100.
For more information about this connector, please visit: https://www.newark.com/te-connectivity/2267220-3/pwr-cord-evc-plug-free-end-6-1m/dp/33AC5767
It’s undeniable. Demand is increasing for electric vehicles. With a little focus and investment in EV infrastructure, we can move towards a fossil-fuel-free world.
Have a story tip? Message me at: cabe(at)element14(dot)com