The charger will be able to allocate power between different cars at the same station based on several factors.
Charging an electric vehicle isn't as straightforward as filling up with gas for first-time buyers, and EV charging networking provider ChargePoint has patented an idea for a dynamic charging station that should improve the experience for owners of all kinds of electrified vehicles.
Filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office and discovered by CarBuzz, the charger design aims to dynamically allocate power modules and, therefore, charging speed, based on several factors. These could be the maximum charging speed of the specific EV, whether another EV is hooked up to the same charger or not, and even prioritizing an EV's charging needs over a nearby plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV) that will draw less power.
The charger's ability to adapt in this way means that drivers of many types of electrified cars will always be plugged into the right charger instead of stumbling upon one that is too slow or needlessly quick for the type of EV they have. It also means that an EV need not move to a particular stall to access fast charging.
There are many other ways in which ChargePoint's dynamic chargers could prioritize some vehicles over others. The patent document states that even a specific make or model of EV could be prioritized if both are using the same charging station. A vehicle with a reservation could get priority over one that doesn't, or an EV approaching the end of its charging session could be prioritized over one that has just arrived. Drivers with membership to a loyalty program could get preference as well. In short, there are almost no limits to how the chargers at one station could be set up to prioritize charging power at one plug over another.
It's worth taking a step back and looking at how EV charging stations work. A station has a dispenser that connects to the EV, along with power conversion electronics placed either in the dispenser or in a separate power cabinet. In response to a request to start charging, the dispenser determines how much power is needed from one or more power modules.
Because not all charging points are being utilized at all times or may be used by a vehicle drawing very little charge, the ability to redistribute the available power to most benefit each specific vehicle at any given time is one of the main benefits of ChargePoint's system.
The patent uses the example of two EVs at the same charging station, with car A capable of withdrawing 125 kW and car B able to withdraw 90 kW. If the total amount of power supplied by the power modules, in this case, is 125 kW, it means that both cars can't be charged at their maximum speeds due to the risk of causing the circuit breaker to trip. However, if car A meets one or more of several factors covered above, such as having arrived first at the charging station, it may be allocated a superior charging speed because of this.
It's possible that an EV with a high charging speed of 350 kW, such as a Hyundai Ioniq 6, could be given preference over a PHEV drawing less.
Overall, it's a smart way to make the most of an available supply of power at any given point in time and for chargers to dynamically adapt depending on what sort of vehicle is charging.
While ChargePoint's innovation is still only at the patent stage, the industry is doing all it can to make the charging experience less complicated for consumers. That includes labeling fast chargers more accurately so that one can plug into the correct charger, a change made by Electrify America last year. West Coast charging network operator EVCS, on the other hand, introduced much simpler flat-rate charging fees so consumers could more easily work out the cost of charging.
The combined effect of these changes will become more and more crucial as the number of EVs on the road continues to rise, but making the most of existing infrastructure is arguably one of the most urgent things to address. Luckily, Ford is also working on this idea.
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