With the increasing number of electric vehicles hitting the market in the U.S., one of the concerns for drivers is being able to charge their vehicles, both in public charging stations to increase their range, and at home. As explained by Dana Hull in Mercury News, getting a charging station installed in your garage will probably involve obtaining a permit and finding a supplier for the station and installation. The electric car manufacturer can provide advice on the type of charging needed, such as level 1 using a standard 120 volt outlet, or level 2 at 240 volts, that will require a dedicated circuit.
The electric car manufacturer may also have an agreement with a charging station provider. For example, Nissan has chosen to work with AeroVironment to install home charging stations for the Nissan Leaf. AeroVironment, Inc., a California based company that also designs and produces unmanned aircraft systems and efficient energy systems for industry and government agencies, has developed a series of charging stations for electric vehicles. The company’s range of products include public charging stations, stations for charging at work and at commercial and retail facilities, stations for charging fleets of vehicles, and stations for charging at home.
AeroVironment’s model EVSE-RS home charging dock has a standardized connector and is compatible with electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. The company also offers a smart charging dock that allows communicating with the electrical grid in order to charge during off-peak hours and delay charging when energy costs are high. And AeroVironment is developing a home charging appliance for power storage that will allow drawing power slowly into the storage unit and then charging the electric vehicle more quickly at any time.
In a press release in September, 2010, AeroVironment announced that it has received Underwriters Laboratories (UL) listing for its home charging station. The UL listing addresses safety and reliability aspects of the charging station. According to the company, the home charging station exceeded industry standards in the testing that was performed, including exposure to sun and dust, conditions in a residential garage, cable handling, bending, temperature and cycle testing in a wide range of simulated environmental conditions.
In an article in The New York Times, Todd Woody reported that AeroVironment has a deal with the Norwegian automaker that produces the Think electric vehicle. The plan is to introduce stations that can charge the car up to 80 percent capacity in just 15 minutes rather than the eight or more hours it would normally take. This would involve a “level 3” charger, generally using around 440 volts. In his article Woody indicates that utility companies are cautious, concerned that the fast chargers could overload the grid.
Danny King, writing for Edmunds, reported in June 2010 that AeroVironment is working with the state government and utility companies in South Carolina to develop a network of as many as 100 charging stations across the state. The program will receive about $480,000 in grants from the state to install 220-volt, level 2 charging stations in parking garages, retail centers and other public areas.
AeroVironment Home EV Charging Station Receives Underwriters Laboratories Listing – Business Wire
Dana Hull, “Electric vehicles: What you need to know about home charging” – Mercury News
Danny King, “California-Based EV-Charging Station Maker AeroVironment Is Going to Carolina” – Edmunds
EV Solutions – AeroVironment
Nissan North America Selects AeroVironment To Install Home-Charging Stations For Nissan Leaf – AeroVironment
Todd Woody, “Plans for Fast-Charging Stations Raise Concerns Among California Utilities” – The New York Times