EU member states have agreed that from 2035 onward, only new cars and vans with zero CO2 emissions will be permitted. Even without this new goal, 65 million electric vehicles (EVs) were expected to be on European roads by 2030, a figure that will double by 2035. If we stick to the EU Commission’s recommendation of having one charging point for every 10 electric cars, a phenomenal ramp up in EV charging stations is needed to be able to charge these vehicles.
With exponentially more EVs and charging points in parking garages, apartment buildings, offices, airports…the list goes on, sites will increasingly feature complex, cascaded fuse connections. At such sites, it is even more important to guarantee efficient power distribution and ensure that both the power limits of each individual fuse, as well as of the overall grid connection point are not breached. At the same time, intuitive visualization of these complex sub-distributions is key.
Managing complex electrical sub-distribution systems
Let’s go back to the basics and look at a site with multiple EV charging stations. In a standard electrical layout, all charging stations would be wired directly to the main distribution, which is protected by the site’s main fuse. In such a layout, each EV charging session can reach the maximum supported charging power of the respective charging station. The only limitation is the maximum grid connection current per phase, which is defined by the main fuse. From a technical viewpoint, this means there is only one control loop required to ensure the grid threshold is not violated.
This is, of course, not always the case. Complex multi-fuse distribution networks could easily have three sub-tier levels under the main fuse. In such a setup, overloads could occur at various points. Therefore, a multi-level control loop is required to ensure that defined maximum current is not exceeded at any level. Adding additional assets, such as PV and battery, makes optimizing the energy flows at every level even more complex, highlighting the importance of a holistic multi-fuse algorithm that takes all multi-level constraints into account.
"Multi-fuse load management is an important feature that establishes gridX as a pioneer in the e-mobility space," says Akash Roshan, Solution Manager at gridX. "It is highly attractive for industrial sites, large parking lots or apartment buildings with a complex cascading fuse topology and plays an important role in scaling EV charging infrastructure within the necessary timescales."
Clustering for easier visualization and management
The multi-fuse feature, part of the Grid Protector module, can work together with clustering, where the sub-distributions of charging points can be mapped and visually represented on the XENON dashboard. This simplifies the management of charging infrastructure, particularly in large charging parks or parking lots.
Users are able to create an unlimited number of charging clusters and set their own parameters for each cluster, such as charging power limits. This way, specific requirements for each cluster can be met and users gain full transparency and control over each area within the site.
Clustering can also be used to group charging stations independently of the multi-fuse feature. For example, chargers could be grouped into different clusters based on the parking lot they are located in or if they are AC or DC, even if the site has no sub-distributions. Here, optimization would remain at the main grid connection point fuse level.
More charging stations therefore doesn’t have to mean increased complexity. By bringing the assets online, clustering them and controlling their energy flows at each level, it becomes easier and more cost-effective to increase the number of charging stations across a site.