We have always been proud of our smart charging solutions at GreenFlux.
Our smart charging technology is run from the cloud and applied using open standards, giving customers real-time control over any type of charge station. These solutions help CPOs save on infrastructure costs and yearly fees by facilitating the installation of more charge stations on existing grid connections. Further, they provide the opportunity for operators to monetise the flexibility of EV charging and facilitate charging even more vehicles with energy from renewable energy sources, namely the sun, and wind.
Our customers are already utilising smart charging on a large scale on AC (alternating current) charge stations in cities such as Amsterdam and Utrecht.
Read here: Local vs. cloud-based smart charging: Should you make the switch?
Now, we launched the world’s first large-scale, cloud-based, and hardware-agnostic smart charging algorithm for DC fast charge stations. The launch marks a new milestone in the EV charging solutions and software provider’s pursuit of enabling the smartest e-mobility services in the world.
Read here: GreenFlux introduces the world’s first large-scale, hardware-agnostic DC smart charging algorithm
Complementing our other smart charging offerings, this new DC-specific algorithm is designed to make sure that the combined power consumption of a group of charge stations automatically stays below a certain limit. The algorithm has already been incorporated into our commercial portfolio and used at scale in the market by its customers.
‘Smart charging has become even smarter. Our new algorithm, designed specifically for DC charge stations, brings all of the advantages of a cloud-based solution to DC charging hubs. Now, charge point operators (CPOs) can sustainably expand their fast-charging network without any concerns,’ said Bob Elders, Product Manager, Smart Charging at GreenFlux.
AC vs. DC charging
Our power grid delivers AC power. Batteries store power as DC (direct current). Every time a battery charges with energy from the grid, AC is converted to DC.
This AC-to-DC power conversion happens everywhere: when you charge your mobile phone, and also when you charge your EV.
With an AC charge station, the converter is built into the EV. However, a DC charge station has a converter built into the charger itself. This means the charge station supplies power directly to the EV battery. As charge stations can be equipped with much larger components in comparison to EVs, this allows for much higher charging power.
Unique features of fast charging
AC chargers are found at home, at the office, or on the street. EVs are usually connected to a charge station for 8–12 hours.
DC chargers are common near the highway, where drivers want to charge only as long as necessary and continue their trip as soon as possible. These fast-charging sessions are usually quite short. Also, DC charging sessions are normally stopped when the battery reaches 80 percent (state-of-charge).
A typical AC charger delivers between 3 and 22 kW of power. For DC chargers, this is nothing. The fast chargers can deliver up to 350 kW of power. In the future, even higher charging powers will likely be possible.
AC charging sessions for different EV types follow a standard charging curve. The charge rate is mostly constant, and when the battery is almost full, it slowly drops to 0.
For DC, the charging rate can vary a lot throughout the charging session. Depending on the EV model, it may decrease stepwise as the battery gets fuller, or it may go towards 0 asymptotically. Almost no charging curve is the same.
Why smart charge on fast chargers?
DC chargers are appearing at more and more locations, within cities, on the road, and around business locations. They are essential in our transition to full electric mobility.
‘As the smart charging innovation leader, GreenFlux was quick to identify the need for cloud-based hardware agnostic smart charging with DC-chargers, which could be applied on a large scale. With many years of experience dynamically managing thousands of AC-charging clusters, we now increasingly see larger clusters of DC-chargers emerging, for instance at highway charging hubs as well as at fleet and depot hubs,’ said Rutger Plantenga, MD and Chief Product Officer at GreenFlux.
The electric vehicle (EV) market is growing exponentially, and the electricity required to charge EVs will create additional demand and stress on the electricity grid, especially at the local level. But most grid connections can only handle so much, so we need to adapt our solutions.
In addition, the capacity of grid connections is limited for more reasons than one. For instance, either the grid operator does not allow the capacity to expand or it is prohibitively expensive to do so. Therefore, it is important to make use of your grid connection as efficiently as possible. And a perfect way to do so is via smart charging.
DC smart charging is a big deal!
The combination of the factors mentioned above indicates that one cannot simply apply an algorithm designed for AC chargers to DC chargers, as it would not be efficient.
Figure 1: The DC smart charging algorithm applied on a commercial site of one of our customers. The red line on the top indicates available capacity. Each color bar indicates an individual EV (or EVSE). Height of the bar indicates how much capacity our smart charging algorithm allocates. The allocation may vary throughout the session as our algorithm adapts to the actual needs of the EV. Our allocation changes throughout the session and the total never exceeds 106 (the maximum).
With more and more fast chargers appearing on the highways, we felt the growing need to charge smartly on DC charge stations. So we did it – we resolved the complexities and overcame the challenges to develop a new algorithm tailored specifically for DC chargers.
Our entirely new DC Smart Charging algorithm will help CPOs overcome their concerns. This will help them expand their fast-charging network quicker and charge even more vehicles with energy from renewable energy sources.
Figure 2: GreenFlux’s DC Smart Charging algorithm in use on a large-scale network.
As the algorithm runs in the cloud, customers in the future can apply smart charging not just on any DC charge station but also on any combination of DC and AC charge stations. This means CPOs are not limited to a single charge station manufacturer.
In addition, considering the investment required to setup and manage DC-charging hubs, avoiding hardware-vendor lock-in and maximising revenue potential are critically important. This is exactly what our new DC Smart Charging solution is designed to do.
Are you ready to expand your fast-charging network?