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“Charging Station” — Is That the Location or the “Charger”?

“Charging Station” — Is That the Location or the “Charger”?

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If we didn’t have sufficient hurdles to electrical car adoption within the US, one of many challenges that drives me completely bonkers is the complicated and inconsistent use of charging terminology. And this begins with the time period “charging station”.

Engineers — bless their souls — love to make use of technical phrases, acronyms, and proper you if you use a time period that’s straightforward for customers to grasp, however not technically right. Within the EV business the poster little one of that is the time period “charger.” Any engineer price a kilowatt will right you quicker than you’ll be able to say J1772 that the charger is definitely onboard the electrical car and isn’t to be confused with the exterior energy supply.

True. However no one else cares. 

What Does “Charging Station” Imply to You?

To scale up EV adoption we have to enhance shopper consciousness and understanding of the “electrical refueling” course of. This requires easy, easy-to-understand phrases with out jargon, and that leverage shopper’s current reference level of the gasoline refueling expertise.

Past the usage of complicated, technical and jargony phrases and acronyms, a foundational communications drawback with EV charging is that the business doesn’t even agree on what essentially the most primary of phrases — EV “charging station” — truly refers to.

Beneath is a straightforward and typical instance of the complicated and inconsistent use of the time period “charging station” from a information article shared on Twitter. In an ensuing dialogue round this “charging station” reference it wasn’t clear what the creator meant. None of us had been sure whether or not “charging station” referred to the positioning or location as within the analogous gasoline station? Or did “charging station” discuss with the person charging {hardware} – much more confusingly known as port, {hardware}, EVSE, pedestal, and several other different phrases. 

Charging Station Twitter Ballot

To try to shine a light-weight on this confusion and inconsistent utilization, I carried out a easy and really unscientific ballot on Twitter. Whereas solely 118 responses amongst educated EV people on Twitter, the time period “charging station” was practically equally break up on what the time period meant. 39% assumed charging station refers back to the web site/location and 43.2% imagine it means the person connection / charger / port / {hardware}. Practically 18% felt it may have both that means (which in hindsight was not a significant choice for this ballot query).

Charging station term poll Tweet

However this shut break up in interpretation of the time period “charging station” is strictly what I anticipated. Relying on the individual, every of us brings completely different backgrounds and context to this phrase creating confusion and an absence of readability available in the market.

Chargeway Tweet on derivation of Charging station use

So What’s The Huge Deal?

So why does it matter if for some individuals the time period charging station refers back to the web site or location and to others it means the precise charging {hardware}? 

AFDC Level 2 & DCFC locations & ports-May 15, 2022

For one, readability and consistency is essential for sharing statistics and making comparisons. When an article says there are one thing like 115,000 charging stations in America lower than the estimated ~145,000 fueling stations, it’s vital to get this proper. First, in keeping with the AFDC database, as of Could 15, 2022 there have been 47,600 Degree 2 and DC quick charging places with greater than 118,00 ports (charging connections – this language is one more situation). As a result of a number of the charging networks similar to ChargePoint truly report every particular person charger as a “location,” this quantity is definitely decrease than the 47,600.

Secondly, most trendy websites that promote gasoline (comfort shops, gasoline stations, warehouse shops like CostCo and Sam’s Membership, supermarkets like Safeway) might have from 12 to twenty particular person pumps. So a extra correct method is to check the 118,000 ports to say 17.4 million (12 occasions 145,000) estimated gasoline pumps.

Charging Station Versus Gasoline Station: Evaluating Apples to Oranges

Nicely truly no. If we’re going to make comparisons between EV charging and gasoline station infrastructure then we have to not less than evaluate apples to apples. However therein lies the second and third issues. This comparability ignores the truth that a majority of EV drivers primarily cost at personal places (the place they dwell or work) and never public charging places. Within the roughly 2,000 days now we have pushed EVs now we have solely used public charging about an estimated 35 occasions. And most of that was throughout about 5 street journeys to and from Southern California. 

The third drawback on this apples to oranges comparability is that there are roughly 280 million gasoline automobiles on the street versus about 2.5 million EVs (together with PHEVs). So there are about 16 ICE automobiles to each gasoline pump versus 21 Degree 2 and DC quick chargers to every BEV and PHEV. After which if we assume that 70% of EV house owners have entry to charging the place they dwell, then the ratio for EVs to EV chargers is definitely 1.3 to 1.

However I digress. That train in numbers and ratios of gasoline pumps and EV chargers was merely meant to deliver to life why getting EV charging terminology outlined merely, clearly, and with the identical that means is essential. With out this we can’t have significant and correct conversations concerning the state of EV charging infrastructure.

Different Fueling Station Locator Definitions of Charging Infrastructure Terminology

Beneath is a diagram from AFDC that defines their use of terminology. And from a technical perspective this is smart. For statistical comparability sake and accuracy, differentiating phrases and definitions for a port versus a connector is vital. 

AFDC EV charging term definitions

Time Is Now For The EV Trade To Have Standardize Phrases Like Charging Station

However from a shopper consciousness and schooling perspective, we have to agree on standardized and easy phrases. We have now a alternative. We will use technical and complex phrases that require customers to should assume and study new ideas. Or we are able to faucet into their current understanding of the refueling course of and make it straightforward for them to know “electrical refueling.”

My pal Matt Teske, founder and CEO of Chargeway, whose background was in model and design, has lengthy advocated for a easy method of utilizing Station > Charger > Plug. With the thought being that “station” is similar whether or not gasoline or electrical in that it refers back to the refueling web site or location.

AFDC EV charging term definitions

“Charger” then refers back to the charging {hardware}/put up/pedestal/dispenser/port which is akin to a gasoline “pump.” After which the time period “plug” (the connector that’s appropriate along with your EV and plugs into your EV’s charging receptacle) equates to the gasoline “nozzle.”

Whether or not Matt’s phrases are the very best ones for the business to make use of and standardize round is irrelevant for the second. Our first objective as an business is just to realize settlement that now we have an issue. And if we’re going to make it straightforward for mainstream customers to really feel snug switching to an EV — then we should use easy, consumer-friendly phrases that imply the identical factor to everybody.

If you want to assist launch an business initiative to standardize phrases or have ideas on current teams finest positioned to guide this effort, please attain out.

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