As electric vehicle ownership surges in New Zealand, public fast charging stations are becoming sought-after, particularly for people on longer trips away from home. This is opening up new free-to- public and commercial opportunities for DC fast charging providers.
Most EV owners stop at a public fast charger for around 30 minutes. They simply plug-in and swipe their debit card, credit card or a keyring device. Having stopped to charge, they usually seek out a café, supermarket and/or somewhere interesting to shop. The charger becomes the reason to choose this destination over others. In other words, apart from providing a way to on-sell large amounts of electricity, public fast chargers boost local business. They also help to encourage EV ownership by making it easier to travel further with zero emissions.
How do fast public electric car charging stations work?
Most public EV charging stations or rapid chargers are Mode 4 chargers. They convert AC electricity to DC and feed that directly to the car’s battery through a special DC socket. This allows the charger to by-pass the car’s on-board AC to DC inverter, which has a limited power handling capacity of around 6.5 kilowatts (kW) max.
As a result, most DC chargers provide power at 25kW or 50kW. Newer versions even provide 300kW of power for a growing number of EV models designed to accept it. When you compare that with a three-pin plug overnight home charger at 2kW max, you can see why Mode 4 DC fast chargers recharge an EV so quickly.
Adding a DC fast charger to commercial AC fast charger set-ups
Commercial charging installations for the likes of apartment complexes and EV fleets sometimes include a public-style DC fast charger. While most users will simply plug into one of the 7kW or 22kW AC fast charging points to briefly top-up or recharge fully over a few hours, the high powered DC fast charger provides an option for anyone who needs to charge in a hurry.
Installing a Mode 4 DC fast charging station
Given the high input voltages and currents involved, and open public access, installing a public DC fast charging station requires careful planning, specific regulatory consents and the engagement of qualified electrical engineers. Equally important is the selection of a robust and reliable product that’s certified for use in New Zealand and suits your needs.
Compared to slower charging technologies, DC public charging station costs require a significant capital outlay. Achieving a return on investment from public charging alone can take some years. As discussed in a 2020 article by Thierry Mortier from Ernst and Young, the business case needs to consider indirect revenue streams such as advertising, associated benefits to local retailers, and partnerships with the likes of business associations, electricity providers, EV brands, local councils and central government.
Get in touch today
Chargemaster provides a single-point-of-contact service to help guide you from the initial idea to cost-benefit analysis, site selection, installation, and ongoing service and maintenance. If you’re interested in providing public fast charging for electric vehicles,please call us on 0800 EV CHARGE (0800 38 24 27 43) or drop us a line.