January 29, 2024

Is ultra-fast public charging always better? Considerations for property managers

Driver charging their Chevy Bolt with a JuicePump™ 50-75 kW

Electric vehicles (EVs) are becoming increasingly commonplace, with light-duty electric cars and trucks on pace to make up 9% of new car sales by the end of 2024. With the growing need for infrastructure to charge those EVs, property managers can deploy public charging stations to support EV adoption and increase foot traffic.


An important consideration for public charging deployment is hardware charging speed. Does it make sense to bring ultra-fast direct current fast charging (DCFC) to your customers or is Level 2 alternating current (AC) or standard DCFC sufficient? Here is a deeper dive into the difference between Level 2 and DC fast charging and the potential benefits of using standard DC fast charging speeds for property managers.


Level 2 AC charging: Level 2 AC charging provides speeds anywhere from 6 kW to 19.2 kW utilizing an SAE J1772 or North American Charging Standard (NACS), soon to be standardized as SAE J3400, connector. Level 2 AC chargers like JuiceBox® Pro are typically found at workplaces, hotels, schools and parking garages where drivers plan to spend more time at the destination. However, there are benefits of installing Level 2 chargers in public locations which we will discuss below.


DC fast charging: DC fast chargers provide speeds up to 360 kW, allowing drivers to charge to 80% in about 20-60 minutes. DC fast charging stations utilize CCS Combo, CHAdeMO or the upcoming SAE J3400 connector, and they are offered in two main charging speed distinctions:


3 potential benefits of standard DC fast charging for property managers

While ultra-fast DC charging makes sense for quick road stops, Level 2 or standard DC fast charging can be a boon for retailers and other businesses looking for a less expensive EV charging deployment. Most EV drivers are content to spend a little more time to top-off their EVs, with the average DC fast charging session consuming 29.4 kWh over 54 minutes. With an average DCFC speed of 32 kW, this makes standard DC fast chargers more than adequate for many public charging situations.


1. Increase dwell time

While the quickest 360 kW DC fast chargers can charge an EV to 80% in just 18 minutes, 50-75 kW DC fast chargers can achieve the same in 30 minutes to an hour. This extended dwell time can be beneficial for property owners looking to increase the time shoppers spend in their store while increasing the charging session duration. By instituting charging fees based on per kWh served or per minute of charging, stakeholders can expect to retain 15%-30% of the charging fee for profit, meaning the longer the dwell time, the higher the fee. The longer the dwell time, the higher the fee. Retail site hosts should use information on average in-store customer revenue per minute to design fee structures that optimize dwell time for their business.


2. Reduce installation costs

Level 2 charging can be added to properties with installation costs comparatively lower than ultra-fast DC charging by making use of the commonly available 240 volt infrastructure. In addition, taking advantage of features such as load balancing allows organizations to utilize existing capacity by installing multiple Level 2 chargers, such as JuiceBox Pro, on the same circuit.


Ultra-fast DC charging can be significantly more costly, requiring additional infrastructure upgrades that can cost over $100,000 to support the needed 1000 volts and 500 amps. Standard DC fast chargers can be cheaper than ultra-fast models to install. For example, the JuicePump 50-75 kW only requires 100 amps or less of additional panel capacity while a 360 kW ultra-fast DC charger needs an additional 600 amps for the power cabinet alone. By providing standard DC fast charging instead of ultra-fast, property managers can reduce upstream costs associated with electrical capacity upgrades.


3. Optimize use of limited parking space

For parking lots with fewer spaces or limited non-parking areas (grass, walkways, etc.), a Level 2 charging station or standard DC fast charging unit can take advantage of the allotted room. Level 2 AC chargers provide flexible mounting options including wall mounts and ground mounts with compact stands or pedestals. Standard DC fast chargers are often compact all-in-one units that can take advantage of limited space. Ultra-fast DC chargers, on the other hand, tend to be split systems with a power cabinet located separate from the dispenser that takes up more space.


Is ultra-fast public charging always better?

The answer is no. While many associate public charging with ultra-fast DCFC, drivers don’t always need the fastest speeds possible; Level 2 and standard DC fast chargers may be sufficient. Additionally, businesses with installed chargers, including retailers and auto dealerships, can take advantage of the increased dwell time, cheaper hardware installation costs, or limited space. For example, Enel X Way partners Parque Arauco Kennedy Mall and the Town of Longmeadow utilize JuiceBox Pro and JuicePedestal Level 2 chargers to increase dwell times. Other Enel X Way customers like Starbucks and Taco Bell deployed JuicePump 50 kW standard DCFC to support EV adoption and increase foot traffic.


If your organization is interested in adding public charging but you’re unsure what hardware solution is best, Enel X Way is here to help.

Attract customers with public charging

By deploying public charging stations, your organization can increase customer dwell time and cut back on installation costs while becoming a steward for a cleaner, greener community.

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