When the time to change fleet vehicles is due, fleet operators often make their decisions for the future on a mix of electric vehicles and whether to lease or purchase vehicles with conventional drive. Usually, there is no fixed target as to whether 10 installed charging stations shall turn into 20 later on. Readiness for the future is provided by systems which meet the current requirements and are upgradeable and expandable at the same time without any unnecessary extra costs. This requires that the system will need to be communication ready and capable right from the start.
The second important point is the integration of different user groups – here too, the solution should be designed in a way which allows flexibility and easy adjustment to changing conditions.
Modular systems which are based on a central distributor like the solutions of WALTHER offer decisive advantages for fleet operators, compared to those which are connected to a control console: additional wall boxes can be installed without extensive and costly interventions in the electrical system being necessary and without having to replace existing equipment or parts. The adaptable system functions in every stage of expansion, without any restrictions. If – due to the subsequent expansion of the system – adjustments regarding the energy management system become necessary because the available energy is no longer sufficient, these adjustments can be easily implemented without having to intervene in the electrical system of the building. By the retrofitting of modules, also a wide variety of identification and payment systems, human-machine interfaces, connectivity to the backend and options for data storage etc. can be realised. Thus, operators can be sure that their charging infrastructure will still operate even under changing external conditions. This is not only important because of different needs which are often emphasised over time (it may for example become necessary to involve new user groups), but also because the e-mobility technology is rapidly evolving, so in addition norms and standards have to be repeatedly adjusted. A special feature of WALTHER’s central distributor solution is its so-called layman operability when needing to reset various circuit breakers etc.: thus also people without electro-technical training have access to the system in the case of failures.
Mixed user groups
The major advantage of electric vehicles in the fleet is in their extremely low running costs – only approximately 20 kWh per 100 km have been shown during operation. The initial costs however, including charging infrastructure, are relatively high. Therefore it makes sense to make the charging facility available to further user groups in parallel – thus this cost is amortised faster. This can for example be done via joint cooperation with partner companies, setting up of permanent charging points for other companies, private charging for employees, or charging facilities with payment system for customers.
For the access of a closed core user group, the most common technology is RFID – optimally included on existing systems like for example employee ID cards. Guests receive appropriate visitor cards. For external users, these systems can be combined with solutions on PIN or localTAN basis. The user lists for user access can easily be managed by the operator himself. If, besides the own use of the charging station, it shall also be publicly accessible, then this option is for example of interest for communities. This can either be achieved through a coin operated system with receipt printing or through connection to an existing car park management system.
Flexibility is also provided by the login possibilities via SMS or apps where billing is made through the mobile phone bill. The modular design of WALTHER charging solutions allows the integration of any identification and billing systems and leaves room for future modifications, when new user groups have to be added or old ones cease to exist.
New communication standards
Charge controllers manage the charging process and control the entire communication between vehicle and system. In their charging stations, WALTHER use a new generation of charge controllers which comply with the requirements of the latest IEC 61851-1 regarding operating states, safety aspects, monitoring functions etc. and which come with extremely advanced functionalities.
During operation, each of these charge controllers collects extensive data and is provided with various interfaces for network connection and a web server, so that the operator of the charging infrastructure can log in with any computer. This makes the charging devices connectable to existing systems and allows monitoring already on a small configuration level. The operator keeps the overview over all important aspects, like for example charging status, user behaviour and consumption data and he can administer his RFID cards himself if necessary. Even a password protected remote access to the firmware is possible, so that updates via remote access are possible and the operator or an installation company can even make adjustments to future normative standards without any physical modifications being necessary. WALTHER Systems offers appropriate support in all matters relating to firmware and software.