Public chargers hosted by operators - Bharat, CHAdeMO, CCS

Is EVSE same as a Charger ?

No, it’s not. EVSE stands for Electric Vehicle Charging Station. It is basically a piece of equipment that brings AC current from the grid safely to your electric vehicle, where the onboard charger converts the current to DC before feeding it to your batteries for charging them.

Off course I just painted a rather simple picture, for an equipment that can cost upwards of ₹ 10,00,000 depending primarily on its current capacity.

What does an EVSE really do ?

  • EVSE is typically a smart device in the sense that it does an active communication with the Vehicle, where the vehicle holds control over how much current it can take in based on parameters such as the battery health and temperature. This information is communicated via the connecting cable via a rather appropriately name Control Pilot pin.
  • EVSEs ensure supply cutoffs in scenarios such as cable disconnection, earth fault, current leakage, and over and under voltage – which can occur if the vehicle equipment becomes faulty over time with ear and tear.
  • EVSEs also protect against unauthorised usage and if internet enabled can be used for reserving the charging facility in case of public or shared charging.
  • Auto resume in event of power outage while charging session is in progress.
  • EVSEs also come with several power and charging indicators with optional lcd screen which provide current charging stats.
  • Internet enabled EVSEs can provide analytics about your charging frequency, consumption patterns and ways to optimize your battery life, for example by auto-cutoff at 80% charging levels, which is a recommended practise to extend battery life.
The role of an EVSE

What is level1 and level2 charging ?

Level 1:

  • In general needs only a standard electrical outlet, suitable for plug-in hybrid vehicles. To enable additional safety features and convert it to a sharable power supply you can become a Driftly host. Which can be used for both captive use and sharing with other 2 wheeler EV owners
  • Installation costs by using existing wiring, while fully charging the vehicle overnight.
  • Charges your car in 12 to 24 hours*. For a 2 wheeler these are equivalent to fast charging and can complete a full charge in about 1 hour for most fast charging capable 2 wheelers.
  • Delivers 240 volts, 8 to 15 amps

Level 2:

  • Level 2 EVSEs need installation of dedicated, stand-alone electric vehicle charging unit, ideal for quicker Electric Vehicle charging.
  • Provides faster charging service than Level 1 EVSEs
  • A car can be charged in 3 to 8 hours* using Level 2 chargers given the vehicle is capable of accepting equivalent amount of current. Most 2 wheelers cannot and do not need Level 2 charging.
  • Delivers 240 volts, 20 to 40 amps

Is EVSE relevant to DC fast charging?

You guessed it right. DC fast charging is a completely different beast. In DC fast charging solutions the charging station converts AC to DC before feeding it to the vehicle, so the charging station in this case can be thought of as the ‘EVSE + charger’ combined. Because DC fast chargers don’t need an onboard AC to DC converter on vehicles they have become really popular for the car or SUV segments which have limited weight and volume capacity. More to come on DC fast charging soon, in another blog. Stay tuned.

Having said that there will always be a place for AC charging, because DC chargers are still prohibitively expensive to be omni-present. And people would always need the comfort of knowing that they could charge from the regular socket in case of emergency or to cut costs. Another place where AC charging shines over DC fast charging is for heavy duty vehicles, because these vehicles such as school bus, cargo trucks don’t have major space or weight constraints to deal with which is a necessity for have larger onboard chargers. Give the nature of these businesses, I would expect all commercial fleets to stick to ac charging for the foreseeable future, owing primarily to its lower cost of setup, operations and easier availability on the go.