Schneider Electric and EverCharge collaborate on EV charging in multi-unit buildings

EverCharge

Schneider Electric, a specialist in energy management and automation, and EverCharge, a provider of EV charging solutions, have announced a collaboration that aims to accelerate the build-out of EV charging infrastructure in multi-unit buildings such as apartments, condominiums and office buildings.

One of the challenges of adding EV charging stations to multi-tenant facilities is sharing a finite amount of power when multiple vehicles need to charge at the same time.

EverCharge’s SmartPower technology intelligently manages charging to get the maximum benefit from a complex’s existing power capacity. The company says that its system can increase charging capacity up to 10 times through proprietary power management technology. Under the new collaboration, EverCharge will integrate Schneider Electric’s EVlink Home EV Charger with its SmartPower system.

“We started EverCharge with the mission of helping multi-tenant buildings overcome the challenges of installing EV charging stations,” said EverCharge CEO Jason Appelbaum. “By collaborating with Schneider Electric and leveraging the company’s global reach, EverCharge will continue to fulfil that mission.”

“With most charging done at home and rapid urbanization happening globally, having EV charging in apartments and condominiums is critical to the continued success of EV adoption,” said Pierre Sacré, Schneider’s Director of Electric Vehicle Solutions. “This collaborative solution effectively resolves building concerns and challenges with smart energy management and automation capabilities.”

 

Source: Schneider Electric, EverCharge

  • Don Millar

    The only problem with this solution is that with 10 users, the charge rate will only be about 0.7 kW; half of what you would get with a 120 volt 15 amp outlet.

    • Lance Pickup

      I don’t know if you found any more information than in the story or video, but I would not necessarily say this is the case. That would only be the case if the site was only allocating 30A to EV charging, but unless I missed it, there is no reason they couldn’t allocate 300A (or some other amount) to EV charging. The only claim I see is that they are able to get up to 10X the capacity using their system vs. a dedicated standalone system. The question is, would a 300A system be capable of servicing 100 vehicles (which is 10X the 10 vehicles that could be serviced with 10 30A standalone systems) (and I do note that they say “up to”, meaning that that is a best case scenario).

      I suspect the premise of their system is to use a combination of charge sequencing and load sharing, operating under the premise that not everyone is going to be charging at exactly the same time and that there is leftover capacity.

      For example, considering a single 30A system shared between 10 cars. If those 10 cars are all 30A capable cars, and let’s assume they arrive at the building starting at 4pm and the latest ones leave in the morning at 9am (I’ll assume some kind of stagger here), you have 17 hours in which you could be delivering charge. Each car could get about 1.7 hours of charging in at full power, which works out to about 11 kWh, or enough for about 40 miles of range each day.

      Of course you may also have some 15A vehicles in the mix as well. If your fleet consisted only of those vehicles, you could still charge them at their full power, and each one would get 3.4 hours of charging (which would again work out to the same number of miles each day).

      I do agree that their “10X” figure is probably best case and maybe pushing the claim a bit, but in terms of average commutes, it’s probably just about spot on. I suspect in the real world they will have to size their systems such that they dedicate 30A for every 5 vehicles.

      • Don Millar

        In your last paragraph, you mention 30 Amps for 5 vehicles, so 30/5 = 6 Amps per vehicle. 6 Amps x 240 volts = 1.44 kW, which is the same as you would get from a regular 120 volt 12 Amp household receptacle using the car’s OEM EVSE (120 volts x 12 amps = 1.44 kW). You could save a lot of money by just putting in 5 x 120 volt receptacles, each on a separate circuit, and you wouldn’t have to pay for the EVSE’s. The only advantage of this system is that if you are the only one plugged in, you will get the full 30 Amps (30 Amps x 240 volts = 7.2 kW), so if your car has a 6.6 kW charger, it will charge at the full 6.6 kW. The disadvantage of this system is that if you need to get a full charge in a hurry, and you are the only user, and you plug in at 4:45 PM at 6.6 kW and then at at 5:15 PM four other people with electric cars come home from work and plug in, your charging rate will drop from 6.6 kW to 1.44 kW, and it will take a long time (11 hours) for you to get that full charge that you need to go out for the evening (if you were the only one plugging in, you would have had it in less than 3 hours, so you would be ready to go out at 7:45 PM). The only plug-in cars that this would work well for is plug-in hybrids (PHEV’s), because they only charge at 3.3 kW, they have very small batteries (5-10 kWh) and if you didn’t get a full charge, no big deal, you just use a little more gas.

        You also have to think about future compatibility. In the next two years, most BEV’s will be sold with 60 kWh batteries. With 5 users at 1.44 kW as above, to charge a 60 kWh battery from 20% to 100% (80 % of 60 = 48 kWh) would take 48/1.44 = 33 hours to charge. That’s definitely not going to happen overnight. Even with only two users, it would take 13 hours for an 80 % charge, and you would have to start charging as soon as you got home from work, and you wouldn’t be able to use the car in the evening.

        • Lance Pickup

          All good points.

          I still disagree that “it is the same as a 120V outlet”, because of the temporal component of the sharing. I.e. not everyone will be charging at the same time. With 120V outlets, the fastest you’ll ever charge is 1.5kW. With a shared higher power EVSE, you MIGHT be limited to that, but you might not be. And as the amount of power allocated to EVSEs and the number of vehicles goes up, the chances of you being limited would go down.

          However, I completely acknowledge that such an unpredictable charge rate would not be an acceptable situation for the scenario you described. I have written a paper that describes a system that would actually solve that problem by adding a monetary component to the system. It sounds as if this system has billing capability built into it, so adding the monetary component that I’ve described should be possible. The way it would work is that when you plugged in your vehicle, you would specify a departure time, a desired amount of energy, and bid on the amount you would be willing to pay to achieve that. People that were in for the night would schedule their departure times for the next morning and probably only bid the minimum amount. People wanting to go out later that evening would likewise schedule a 7:45 departure and bid a higher amount. The control system would schedule and allocate higher power to vehicles that needed to leave earlier and defer charging on other vehicles until later, thereby giving the early vehicle the quicker charge it needed. Assuming it could meet all charging needs by time shifting alone, everyone would just pay the base rate. But if the system was in an “overbooked” state, it would raise the cost for charging in an auction-like fashion up to each user’s maximum bid. This financial incentive will encourage users to seriously consider and specify their departure times so they don’t get hit with higher bills. The site manager would also be able to use the data gathered by these auctions to determine if their site is undersized or not.

          And while I agree with your prediction of 60kWh batteries being common in the next few years, I don’t agree that they will arrive home with 20% SOC and need to achieve 100% SOC by the morning. They will simply have to replenish what they used during the day, which is dependent not on the size of the battery, but on the size of the commute, and that is not going to double