SemaConnect Blog


November 18, 2011

What is the difference between Aerovironment, Ecotality, BetterPlace, Epyon and Coulomb’s EV charging stations? How are they differentiating themselves? Isn’t all the hardware just commodity ?

2 months ago, this question popped up in a group I am in on LinkedIn – EV Infrastructure.

It’s been a huge center of mysticism and confusion for those not in the industry, so I pasted what I added to the conversation below:

—————-

The EV Charging industry is growing rapidly and there are well over 20+ EV
charging companies on the market now.

The most basic way to differentiate the companies and their station is:

1. Is the station for residential or commercial use?
2. Is the station Level 1, 2 or DC Fast Charging?
3. Is the station “smart”, hence, does the station simply charge a vehicle
and that’s it. Or is there wireless and data connectivity inside the
station itself?
4. Is there software associated with the particular station that brings an
added benefit to a. The EV driver who is using the station and b. The
station owner to manage the station.

You can select an EV company and take them through the four points to
qualify them. The next question relies on what your exact needs are – are
you trying to install a station at home? Are you a business that wants
charging for your employees? Are you a city that needs public EV stations?

All EV charging stations that are able to charge the new generation of
Electric vehicles require a J1772. This is the “plug” that goes into the
vehicle to plug. Auto makers sometimes also provide a plug that has the
J1772 on one end and a regular electrical plug on the other. This is for
your convenience. Although Level 2 charging is the preferred charging
because of its faster charging time and cost of installation.

My apologies for the long note, and to those who already know this but I
will break down the level of charging.

Level 1: is when you “plug-in” your vehicle to your standard 120Volt outlet
at home. The pro to this is that everyone has it. The problem is that it
takes 20+ hours to recharge an EV full (I.e. Nissan Leaf, it is shorter for
the Chevy Volt)

Level 2: has the J1772 standard plugin. It charges an EV in around 4 – 8
hours. The price can range from $700 – $6000 dollars, based primarily on
how technologically advanced the station is.

DC Fast Charging: does not have a standard plug. It been known to recharge
an EV in about 30 – 40 minutes, however the high cost of building the
station and the extremely high cost of installing it is not a feasible reality for many.

—————

You can read the entire conversation HERE.

One thing I’d like to note, is that SemaConnect is still not a top-of-mind company for many people (e.g. we were not mentioned in the original question).  However, we’re still a major contender in the commercial market.  I’ve also expressed how SemaConnect differentiates from other EVSEs.

Read the conversation, see who else in the industry is listening and helping to answer your questions.
If not, drop me a note.  I’d be more than happy to help!

 

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