DC Fast Charging Station Equipment

Discussion in 'General' started by SouthernDude, Jul 19, 2019.

  1. SouthernDude

    SouthernDude New Member

    How much does the equipment for DC Fast charging stations cost now? I've found older articles that list some prices, but I expect them to be cheaper now. Most of the information I find is several years old and I want to understand how much it costs to build a DC Fast Charging station.

    For example, I'd like to know what the cost of one of those ABB DC fast chargers that Electrify America uses. They don't list a price per unit on their site that I can see. I can easily find prices for Level 2 chargers but never for any level 3.

    Any thoughts or sources?
  2. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web Well-Known Member Subscriber

    My understanding is they are in the $15-20k range even for the 50 kW units. They typically require substantial, 3-phase power negotiated with the local utility. Contact EVgo, ChargePoint, and Electrify America for details.

    Bob Wilson
  3. SouthernDude

    SouthernDude New Member

    That looks like the range I've seen from historical articles. Maybe the prices haven't really changed that much. I see that you and I both live in the same state. As you're probably aware, the southern portion of the state has hardly any CCS or CHAdeMO fast chargers. I know Electrify America is planning on installing at least 3 or 4 stations in the next couple of years, but I don't think it will provide the coverage needed to convince the average Alabamian to go electric, so I was wondering if it would be a good idea to try and work with other people in the state to directly put fast chargers in ourselves.

    This may sound like a naive plan, but I think its worth trying.
  4. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web Well-Known Member Subscriber

    You should never ask an engineer ... especially one like me ... how to do this.

    Bob Wilson
  5. SouthernDude

    SouthernDude New Member

    I'm an engineer too. lol Getting people willing to get involved with an idea like this is well beyond the scope of what we're familiar with, but the actual process of getting it in the ground is something that both of us could figure out pretty easily. It's pretty obvious that the most complicated part of constructing a station is the electrical work. That's really it. Cutting through concrete/asphalt and pouring small concrete platforms - even with a few conduits sticking up it - isn't that difficult. In Alabama, I think the only permit necessary is from local governments aside from what whatever the electric utility requires. I honestly don't think these projects are too difficult. I bet from start to finish they take only a few months.
  6. MajorAward

    MajorAward Active Member

    Please keep us informed if you decide to move forward. I live in Atlanta now, but grew up in the southern part of Georgia, so the situation there is similar to what you are familiar with. When we were looking at cars a few months ago we thought seriously about a high range BEV. We really wanted a Tesla3, but also researched Kia/Hyundai. In the end, because of lack of infrastructure in the area, and the situation with our parents, we decided to go with the Honda Clarity PHEV which gives us 50 EV miles, but option of HV.
    All of this to say I will be following if you move forward, and may try to follow your path. I'm not an engineer, but any way a layman from another state can help, I am willing.
  7. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web Well-Known Member Subscriber

    The last time I looked at this:
    • 104 kW - ~400 VDC @ 260A - Needs a high efficiency, low P-factor, power supply, that is adjustable to match what the vehicle will accept. The car battery management system will let the DC charger know how much charge, typically amps, that the batteries can accept. In my case, a maximum 50 kW BMW i3-REx or 104 kW Tesla Model 3 giving a full charge in 45-80 minutes. Assuming a 90% efficiency, we'd need a utility hookup of ~120 kW for worst case and pay a monthly connection cost in addition to the utility billing. Our house has 240 VAC @ 200 A = 48 kW.
    • 240 VAC @ 50 A (40 A usable) - 9.6 kW usable, requires the built-in, car AC charger to accept 40 A. Our BMW i3-REx and Standard Range Plus Model 3 both are limited to 31-32 A maximum, ~7.7 kW, which gives less than 180 minutes to fully charge the BMW i3-REx or less than 480 minutes to fully charge the Tesla. The external charger (EVSE) signals to the car the maximum current that can be drawn. The BMW i3-REx is easy because the gas engine can reach home at 4-6% SOC. Bringing the Tesla home with 5% remaining, ~10 miles, is doable but at a risk of being stranded.
    The reason I bring this up is: GOOD; FAST; CHEAP ... pick two. To support a home, fast DC charger, I would need to add, 2x service to what I currently have to cut the charge time down by a factor of 3-6. If I had a delivery service run out my home or a small office, a fast DC charger could make sense. But for home use, I have a kitchen, TV, and bedroom. L2 service, 240 VAC @ 50 A, works as I have time to eat, entertain, and sleep. It is not important to keep the EV running around.

    Bob Wilson
  8. SouthernDude

    SouthernDude New Member

    So, I do know that Electrify America will be installing a station along I-85 between Atlanta and Montgomery and two along I-65 between Montgomery and Mobile in the next couple of years. However, I don't think that will be enough to both convince everyone to buy an EV in Alabama nor enough to service everyone passing through Alabama either. I probably need about 2 or 3 additional DC fast charging station locations in South Alabama and South Georgia to fully justify getting a pure EV (I could now, but I prefer not to wait for 4-8 hours to charge a car).

    We can certainly keep in touch on this. I think the best idea would be to create a not-for profit that tries to establish an effective network for each state. I don't think it's too difficult to actually put in the station, the hardest part is getting enough people that would like to spend money on it and getting everyone to agree on the locations maybe.
    MajorAward likes this.
  9. SouthernDude

    SouthernDude New Member

    Oh. I'm not talking about putting one at my house; I'm talking about putting them in at like strategic intersections and other similar locations that would get overlooked by the exiting bigger networks. I agree that an 8 hour charge is perfectly reasonable if someone is plugging up at home. However, a 3 to 8 hour charge is completely unreasonable when someone is on a long distance trip.

    I understand and agree that destination charging can sort of make many fast charger locations unnecessary, but there's nowhere close to enough destination chargers for most people to reasonably switch to an EV now nor do I see that situation changing in the near future. I just think having a more robust network of DC fast charging stations - at least for now - would be a smart decision. I understand that it wouldn't necessarily be cheap to put in a fast charging station, but I think it's feasible for enough EV enthusiasts in Alabama to get some installed. That's just my take.
  10. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web Well-Known Member Subscriber

    My favorite charging and route planner is: www.plugshare.com
    • filter chargers and charging network - so you can see any mix that matches the fast DC charger of a BEV or PHEV (caution, not every PHEV has a fast DC charger.)
    • user feedback - this is how to tell if a charger is really accessible and working or not.
    • trip planner - expand the screen to 1200 pixels, the trip planner makes it easy to map a route with the chargers of choice. I used it with our 72 mi, BMW i3-REx, and our 240 mi, Model 3.
    The only EV dry area I've found is Fort Smith AR but I used an RV park for a nap and bridge charge.

    Bob Wilson
  11. SouthernDude

    SouthernDude New Member

    I've had the plugshare app for years and I've used the trip planner to test different routes I've gone on and still use. Many of the routes could technically be made with level 2 chargers, but I would never be able to convince any of my family or friends to consider getting an EV with the current amount of infrastructure because the charge times would be too long. This is why I want to help install more Level 3 chargers - it will help convince more people that an EV truly is the right car for them.
  12. MajorAward

    MajorAward Active Member

    The HondaLink app for the Clarity uses data provided by PlugShare, but the look is a little different. I also use the actual PlugShare app. There is a filter to show only J1772 Level 2 charging stations, which is handy since there are several free chargers in Publix Supermarket locations in my area.
    bwilson4web likes this.
  13. apu

    apu Well-Known Member

    The only problem I see with this is its output is limited to 20 amps. Most newer EVs have onboard AC charger capable of 30-40+ amps , there would be no speed advantage over a Level 2 EVSE unless its a much older EV rated with a lower capacity onboard AC charger.
  14. SouthernDude

    SouthernDude New Member

  15. SouthernDude

    SouthernDude New Member

    Right. My question is mostly directed towards higher powered DC chargers - like the 100kw to 350kw rated chargers.
  16. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    If you're serious about this, I'd recommend looking into how locally or regionally organized farmers' CO-OPs financed building grain elevators in many rural areas, for the farming community. But despite those being community funded, they were/ are run at a profit. I suggest it would be more practical to set up your EV fast charging stations as a for-profit enterprise. That way they would generate the revenue needed to maintain the system, and -- who knows? -- maybe even generate a slight profit for the backers/ investors.

    For example: "Farmers Coop Conway Springs -- History"

    Another strategy might be to talk to some executives of your local/ regional electric utility -- if you can get past the "gate-keepers" -- about the possibility of the utility investing in public for-profit EV chargers. It would be a way for the utility to generate more revenue. Sadly, in many or perhaps most areas, the utilities are so heavily regulated that they would need approval of the municipal and/or State legislatures in order to expand into that market. Regulations might also limit or prevent any profits they could make in such a market, which would probably kill any chance that the utility would be willing to invest money in such a project.

    As I think most or all of y'all have already realized, the real obstacles here aren't the engineering, but rather the financing and the regulatory approval. No offense to real engineers (I have no claim to be one, despite my interest in engineering principles), but the problems of high current electrical engineering were solved in the late 1800s. Of course, the tech has improved since the pre-transistor era!
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2019
  17. SouthernDude

    SouthernDude New Member

    I think that a not for profit would be fine. Not-for-profits are allowed to charge to cover the costs for their services. Plus, many of the stations wouldn't necessarily be used right after they are installed, so it's questionable when or if the station itself will generate profit. Plus, it may not matter if a DC fast charger never really earns profit - I think that charging stations, both level 2 and level 3, will ultimately become like air conditioning is for businesses. The market hasn't gotten to that point yet.

    I have no idea whether or not the PSC in Alabama has authorized Alabama Power to directly install stations (like Georgia power has sort of done in Georgia) nor do I have any idea what the electric co-ops in the south of the state are allowed to do. I also don't know if either group would be allowed to donate to a not-for-profit.

    I totally agree that the biggest barrier is financial and regulatory approval to an extent (I doubt any dc fast charger installations would require a permit to the state, just the local government - the interconnection to the grid is probably more difficult). It isn't an insult to engineering to say these stations are simple. lol

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