At the recent Fully Charged Live Sydney 2023 event I chatted with Ben Moore from EV Hub about the Kempower units his company will supply for the Royal Automobile Association of South Australia (RAA) new electric vehicle charging network as well as the lengthy preparation and large amount of electrical infrastructure that goes into a new charging site.
RAA Charge will be South Australia’s first border-to-border network of EV charging stations. The RAA says
“Construction has already started, with the 140-site network to be completed in 2024. From our highways and regional centres to our CBD and suburbs, it will be easier than ever to drive an electric vehicle in South Australia”.
Ben advised that the RAA Charge DC charging locations will have:
“A mixture of Kempower C-Stations and power/satellite units that range from 150-200 kW. Both types of chargers are modular which start at 50 kW and can be incrementally built up to 400 or 600 kW depending on the model by adding power modules”
On face value it would seem that new charging sites which implement a Kempower Station and Satellites have a great advantage over the Tritium dominated charging sites across Australia at the moment.
As the video below shows, instead of each Kempower Satellite charge port offering a fixed maximum charge rate of eg: 50kW/car regardless of the EV’s maximum charge rate, the charging rate of a Kempower Satellite changes to match an EV’s charging capability (eg: Ioniq really fast and Leaf slow) as well as the rate at which an EV can charge at the time depending on how far along the charging curve it has progressed.
Speaking more generally about charging site locations and the work involved to get them up and running, he commented:
“The choice of charger depends on how the owner wants to market the service and the amount of traffic the chargers are going to service”.
“We’re seeing some organisations having medium term visions on ROI and some are much longer. Often organisations are using charging (both AC and DC) as complimentary to their current offering such as coffee shops, service stations, shopping centers etc. Others are simply trying to ‘get in’ before everyone else.
“Considering installation, these are large DC chargers, they require a lot of power for operation”.
“For example, a 150 kW C-Station requires between 230-240 amps per phase (3 phase), as a comparison a small factory usually has between 100-200 amps of supply”.
“Another way to think of it it is that a normal 3 pin wall socket is 10 amps at 240 V which is 2.3 kW, therefore a 150 kW charger requires about 65 times more power than a normal power socket”.
“We’re starting to see major power infrastructure upgrades in areas that have larger DC chargers installed but this can take some time as it depends on the readiness of the infrastructure owners. Micro-grids are helping to fast-track power supply in more remote communities, watch this space – there’s a lot happening”.
“Often the installation of these chargers require civil, mechanical, electrical design, communications, project management and construction so multiple parties are often involved under a principal contractor”.
“Therefore, projects usually take months if not over a year to select an ideal area, have permits and applications approved, either tender or approach a principal contractor, procure the charging equipment (there’s usually a lead time), installation, power upgrades, communication upgrades, commissioning etc”.
“The key take away we’re communicating at the Fully Charged Show is that charger quality needs to be backed by good servicing, maintenance, support and software.