Electric Vehicle

Efficient, Centralized Control of EV Charging Stations for Delivery Vehicles

When you look into the history of electric vehicles (EVs) – from the time EVs came to be (1850s) and their first golden age (1890s to early 1900s) to a period of decline (1920s-1980s) and the current revival (since 1990s), you’ll quickly see that the postal services are among the steadfast supporters of this eco-friendly innovation.

As delivery services must hit the road to get their job done, efficient means of getting around is a key driver (pun not intended) of success. In as early as 1899, US Mail tested an electric vehicle for mail collection. And since the 1900s, post offices in North America and Europe have maintained EV fleets.

EV charging infrastructure for delivery/service fleets

These days, other than post offices, various organisations and businesses also use EVs for delivery or service runs. Their objectives include reducing energy costs and meeting CO2-emission reduction targets.

So, what needs to be considered to ensure the fleet is ready to go? Installing both standard- and fast-charge stations offers more flexibility. However, the charging speed of the stations, regardless of manufacturer, is largely standardized by power rating. One area that makes a key difference to operational efficiency is a central system for managing the entire charging infrastructure.

In gated parking with access for service vehicles only, charge point operators (CPO) do not need to issue authentication cards to the employees for plugging in to the charging stations. However, the CPOs need to keep track of the status and usage patterns of all the charging stations distributed across the facility.

Vendor-neutral infrastructure through standard protocol

Today, the best practice is to connect the entire EV charging infrastructure via the cloud to a back-end system, allowing the CPOs to manage the network from a centralized location.

This leads to the question of whether the charging stations can communicate with any back-end systems, regardless of charging station manufacturer or IT vendor. In my previous post, I talked about the Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP), a popular communication protocol for exchanges between charging stations and back-end systems. As long as both the charging stations and back-end system are OCPP-complaint, the CPOs can integrate their charging stations from different vendors to a single back-end system.

 EVlink Insights services for optimized infrastructure management

Schneider Electric has just released an enhanced back-end system that meets the needs of CPOs. Compliant with OCPP, EVlink Insights online portals reduce implementation costs by connecting to the charging stations via the cloud. The CPOs can access the control and monitoring software using standard Web browser, further reducing IT costs. From any location, the CPOs can start or stop a charging process, troubleshoot, and even bring a station back online. Furthermore, the CPOs can download charge detail records (energy consumption data by station) to analyse usage patterns, perform accurate cost allocation, and schedule timely maintenance (performed by EVlink service experts). Also, these usage pattern will help CPOs choose the right strategy to extend the charging infrastructure at relevant sites.

In addition to a robust, reliable back-end system, the CPOs can count on the support of Schneider Electric’s EVlink experts to maximize their EV infrastructure uptime and improve equipment lifespan.

Learn more about EVlink Insights services today.

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