The world of mobility is changing. In an era where people are painfully aware of the effect exhaust has on the environment and the ever rising cost of petroleum- based fuels, car companies are searching for a viable alternative to gas powered automobiles. The government clearly believes that electricity is the wave of the future, and has called for more than one million electric cars to be on American highways by 2015. With this increase in electric cars there will also be an increased need for public charging stations to meet refueling needs. Here are five things every business owner should know when considering purchasing a recharging station.
1. Capital and Profit
It is estimated that a fuel efficient, gas powered vehicle costs 40 cents per mile to drive. Electric cars on the other hand cost about two cents per mile to drive. They are supplied with a 100 mile battery pack which can be plugged in and recharged much like an mp3 player or any other mainstream electronic device. Businesses can install a charging station for between 10 and 20 thousand dollars which is designed for commercial use. There are two ways customers can be charged for the number of battery-miles they receive while connected to the charging station. The first is in payment for miles. For example, if they connect to a charging station only long enough to charge 25 percent of their battery, they are charged for 25 miles worth of electricity. The second method used is payment for hours left on the charger. This is the most common way to calculate cost of charging sessions. The national American average is $2.00 per hour.
2. How Long Does It Take
How long it takes to charge a car depends on a number of factors including battery size, charging power, and power remaining in the battery at the time it is charged. Obviously, the lower the power gauge is when a car is plugged in to charge, the longer it will take to become fully charged. Most cars contain a 100 mile battery. These batteries take 3 hours to charge at 220 volts, and 12 hours to charge at 110 volts.
3. How It Works
Each car has a charging port. On some cars this is located under a cap in the same position as a gas cap, and on others it is under a small door near the hood. This charging port allows the car to be plugged in at a charging station. Unlike other electronics which have their own charger design, electric cars have a regulated 5-point charging unit so that every car uses the same kind of charger. Charging stations have a charging nozzle on the end of a long hose, just like a gas pump, but instead of dispensing gas the nozzle contains a 5-pin connector that plugs into the cars charging port. When you look at the five pins, there are three larger pins in a triangle with two small pins, one on each side of the larger ones. The three large pins are the actual charging unit. There are two positives and a ground just like the three prongs that plug into a wall outlet in your house. The two smaller pins are communication pins, which help the car’s energy system and the charging station talk to each other. Simply plug the charging nozzle into the charging port on the car, and wait.
4. Types of Charging Station
There are two types of charging station – commercial stations and home charging units. The home charging units are lightweight, wall mounted units, intended to be mounted on a garage wall and protected from the elements. They can be purchased in 110 or 220 varieties and are the main source of power for electric cars. Commercial charging stations are much more technologically advanced. They communicate with the car, charge the car owner for the service, and have a variety of safety features. They are also made of more heavy duty materials and are designed to withstand the elements and hold up to the wear and tear of curbside use. They are both more expensive and more complex than home charging units.
5. Features to Look For
When trying to select a commercial charging station there are several features to look for. One is access and security features. It is important that station owners have as much control over the power station as possible. Look for a pump that has an access panel that allows you to manually set certain functions on the pump. Also, look for a pump design that has excellent security features. The best pumps communicate with the car for security purposes and will shut down if the nozzle is removed from the car it was authorized to charge and is plugged into another vehicle. This prevents dishonest electric car owners from stealing a charging session that has already been paid for by another customer. Look for a unit that does not transmit any live power until after it is plugged in to a verified charging unit on the car. This will prevent accidental electrocution which could lead to serious lawsuits. Look for a system that shuts down as soon as a battery charges to 100 percent. This will keep customers from overcharging their battery, and it will keep you from overcharging them for power. Finally, consider a system that sends text messages or email alerts. The best units will use the communication software to alert a car owner that their car has fully charged and that their charging session is over. This encourages the car owner to move their car faster so that new paying customers can pull into the station.
Wayne Hemrick is an experienced author. He has a passion for Green technology.
He enjoys sharing his knowledge on the subject online. Learn more: http://www.electrictv.net/videos/electric-vehicle-charging-stations-necaibew-team/