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EV Charging Stations — Level 2 Charging

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This is a short section of our new, free 2021–2022 EV Chargers Guide. This section is focused on “Level 2” EV charging stations for homes and businesses. More sections of the report will be published shortly, or you can just download the full report now. The report is free thanks to sponsorship from NeoCharge and EV Connect. Note that this report is focused on the US market.

All Level 2 chargers use 240V, but charging speed can vary based on a charger’s amperage and electrical current. Most EVs can take in about 32A, adding around 25 miles of range in an hour. If you need higher speed, you may be satisfied with a faster 50A charger that can add about 37 miles of range per hour of charging. You’ll be able to charge faster with a higher charger amperage only if your electric car can take the power delivered by the EV charger. A 40A charging station will not let you charge faster than a standard 30A if the power acceptance limit of your electric vehicle doesn’t go beyond 30A. There are some EV charging stations that can deliver more power, but not all electric vehicles can accept it.

A standard home EV charging station will provide passthrough AC power to charge the vehicle. The vehicle will then convert the AC power to DC power, using it to recharge the battery. The actual charger is located onboard, inside the electric vehicle. After connecting to the vehicle, the charging station will send information to the vehicle about available power and its level. From that point, it is the vehicle that takes full control of the power transfer.

EV Charging Stations — Hardwired vs. Plug-in

The next step is to choose between a hardwired or a plug-in EV charging station. Hardwired units can be installed indoors and outdoors. However, they are more permanent, so not necessarily ideal for an indoor setting. They are always recommended for outdoor locations, as hardwiring provides a better and weather resistant connection to power. Hardwired units also require a professional and licensed electrician to permanently connect a charger to the home’s or building’s electrical system. Circuit breakers required for installation must correspond with all national and local laws, regulations, ordinances, codes, and safety standards. Certified electricians should choose the correct circuit breaker depending on required electrical power and grid type. Hardwired stations can be moved, but that would require an electrician to uninstall the unit and then reinstall it at the new location (which can be costly).

A plug-in option is a more flexible installation than a hardwired set up, because it allows you to take the charger with you, whenever you travel or move, with no need for an electrician to be involved in the process.

With 240V outlets, there is no standard type of plug. Therefore, you need to choose the one that fits your needs. There are a few plugs available:

+ NEMA 14-30 — commonly used for electric dryers;

+ NEMA 14-50 — commonly used for electric ovens, (and now electric vehicles) often found in RV parks and campgrounds;

+ NEMA 6-50 — common for welders or plasma cutters;

+ NEMA 10-30 — common for older homes and older electric dryers.

In many cases, if your home already has a 240V outlet, you can order the plug that matches what you have and simply mount the station and plug in. If your home does not have a 240V outlet, an electrician can install a new outlet that matches the plug you purchased, which allows you to mount the station and plug in.

Note that installing such outlets can be costly, but there are other things to watch out for that go well beyond those installation costs. It’s possible that your home as a whole won’t be able to provide enough power without some upgrades. Most electrical panels, especially older homes, are rated at 100 amps, but if you’re using multiple appliances and charging your EV, you’ll need a 200 amp panel. To put it in perspective, a dedicated 240V outlet to plug in your electric car, NEMA 14-50, would take up 50 amps out of the 100 amp panel capacity in your home. That’s half of the capacity of your panel, so people with a 100–125 amp panel can be left needing to upgrade these panels, which can easily cost upwards of $1,500+ in installation costs. If you have two electric cars and want a charging station for each, then you could be up to 100 amps with your cars alone. One way to avoid that, though, is with a smart splitter that can either pump all 50 amps into an electric car or split the amps between two vehicles when needed. The NeoCharge 240V Smart Splitter allows you to plug both an appliance and your EV charger, or 2 EV chargers, into your existing outlet without the need for a panel upgrade or an electrician. Still, though, a home with a 100–125 amp panel may need to be upgraded to a higher total home amperage.

All the plug-in EV charging stations can be hardwired, instead of plugged in, giving you the option for how to install one at your own place. Plug-ins with hardwired options are offered by: ClipperCreek, ChargePoint, Electrify America, Enel X, EVoCharge, SolarEdge, and Wallbox. Hardwired units are provided by Blink, ChargePoint, ClipperCreek, EVBox, EVocharge, EverCharge, FLO, SolarEdge, and Wallbox. Please find the information for specific models and brands in the table at the top.

Save Money, Stay Close to Electrical Panel

While choosing the location, the best place to install your EV charger at home is close to the electrical panel, as running conduit from your panel to the charging point can get expensive. For outdoor installation, a weatherproof, hardwired 240V EV charging station is recommended. With a fully sealed NEMA 4 enclosure, all components inside the charging station are protected from the outdoor elements. An outdoor rated charger gives you flexibility to install indoors or out depending on where you want to park. An indoor rated charging station can be installed inside the garage, while the charging cable runs outside to charge your electric vehicle outside. See “Setting Up Home Electric Car Charging On A Budget” for more.

As noted above, as well, you may need to have an electrical panel upgrade unless you have a 240V outlet that can be shared with a smart splitter. If you are not sure what your home has and what you need, consult with an electrician.

Cord/Cable Management

All EV charging stations included in this guide can be placed both indoors and outdoors. The charging cable’s length varies between 18ft and 25ft. A lot of brands offer 2 lengths for their models — ChargePoint gives you an option to choose between 18ft and 23ft for two of its models (CT4000 Family, CPF50), EVBox has 18ft and 25ft options for its Business Line, all three EVoCharge stations come with the option to choose between 18ft and 25ft, and CoRe+ from FLO is available with a 21ft or 25ft cable length.

Some charging stations are equipped with a cable management system, a built-in or remote connector holster that keeps the cables off the ground while not in use. This solution not only keeps the property clean and neat, but also keeps the connector safe from any possible damage that could be caused by dirt, water, or other contaminants. You can find that option in models such as the Blink HQ150 by Blink, the CPF50 by ChargePoint, the EVBox Iqon, all three EVoCharge stations, and the SmartTWO-BSR by FLO. Some EV charging stations come with a cable hanger bracket that keeps the area clean and tidy. You can find this option with the Blink HQ100. You can also find a cord retractor compatible with some models of CS and HCS from ClipperCreek, and with EV002 by EverCharge.

For the full report, download it for free here: 2021–2022 EV Chargers Guide.

Also see: “Charging Electric Car With Normal Electricity Outlet — Level 1 Charging 101” and “Can You Charge An Electric Car With A Regular Outlet? Hell Yes!


 

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Tesla’s Policy Lead Testifies at PUCT Open Meeting As Tesla Focuses on Supporting the Texas Grid

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Tesla’s US Energy Markets Policy Lead, Arushi Sharma Frank, was recently asked to testify at a Public Utility Commission of Texas Open Meeting. A photo of Frank wearing an LFDECARB tee shirt popped up on Twitter. The tee shirt itself is a message focused on decarbonization by the group Bros for Decarbonization. You can learn more about the group here.

Frank confirmed that it was an impromptu request to testify. She also shared exactly what she talked about.

The document Frank shared was a filing receipt for supplemental comments from Tesla signed by Frank. There’s also a video of her testimony which you can watch here. In the document, Tesla said that it appreciated the opportunity to share its comments regarding PUCT’s discussions that were held on June 16, 2022 — the open meeting regarding Tesla’s proposal OBDRR041 as well as its prior work demonstrating how virtual power plants (VPPs) work.

I recently published an article about Tesla’s VPP workshop, which was related to OBDRR041. Tesla also said that it appreciated the Commission’s comments related to its Distributed Energy Resource (DER) pilot projects. Tesla especially supported the conversation between Commission representatives and the staff at the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), as well as with the market participants. The conversation covered the real implementation of the system through a pilot as opposed to a task force approach. The latter, Frank noted, could unnecessarily create delays in implementing a grid service solution for DERs.

Looking At The Document & Tesla’s Statements

The Commission’s decision to encourage ERCOT to get stakeholders together and develop a pilot project allowing the market solution of exports from VPPs to be tested is also something Tesla expressed its appreciation for. This allowed for addressing issues raised by utilities and other market participants that have concerns about the potential impacts of site-exporting DERs on distribution facilities. It also allowed for a discussion of the net impact and benefits to the transmission grid.

Tesla also clarified and provided information as a response to a few discussion topics and questions that were raised at the open meeting. These topics included the OBDRR041 status, the ERCOT Pilot Proposal, and a question posed to Tesla by Chairman Lake at the open meeting.

OBDRR041 status

Tesla noted that since the OBDRR041 is currently tabled at the ERCOT Technical Advisory Committee, it would not seek a vote until there was further development of issues and positions from ERCOT and the potential members of the committee.

“At this time, Tesla believes that OBDRR041 may remain tabled at the Technical Advisory Committee pending consideration of the feasibility of a Virtual Power Plant pilot as the Commission proposed at the Open Meeting.”

ERCOT Pilot Proposal

Tesla expressed its views on the formal ERCOT Pilot Proposal that was introduced at the Open Meeting. Tesla noted that for a formal ERCOT pilot approach to be a feasible alternative to OBDRR041, a pilot should :

Have ERCOT’s support and the market’s acceptance and approval from ERCOT’s governing board.
Be amenable to commercialization in that sufficient participants could be aggregated across sufficient distribution service areas (more than one, but in capped quantities, in each service area as described in a proposed pilot framework).
Adequately capture data addressing clearly identified distribution utility concerns, in parallel to or as part of the pilot’s scope.
Have provisions to ensure market services compensation commensurate with grid services provided by pilot participants
Have an identified “start date” and “end date” which are technically feasible for involved parties.

In addition to that last point, Tesla added that the following are requirements in Section 25.361 (k) regarding pilot development and approval:

“ERCOT may conduct a pilot project upon approval of the scope and purposes of the pilot project by the governing board of ERCOT. Proposals for approval of pilot projects shall be made to the governing board only by ERCOT staff, after consultation with affected market participants and commission staff designated by the executive director.

“The ERCOT governing board shall ensure that there is an opportunity for adequate stakeholder review and comment on any proposed pilot project.”

Tesla noted that pilot  project proposals approved by the ERCOT governing board should include the following:

The scope and purposes of the pilot project;
The designation of temporary exceptions from ERCOT rules that ERCOT expects to authorize as part of the pilot project;
Criteria and reporting mechanisms to determine whether and when ERCOT should propose changes to ERCOT rules based on the results of a pilot project.
An estimate of costs ERCOT will incur attributable to the pilot project.
An estimated date of completion of the pilot project.

Tesla’s Response To Chairman Lake

Tesla expressed its appreciation for Chairman Lake, who stated that “nothing teaches like experience, so the sooner you get something in the field, the more you learn faster.”

Tesla also responded to a question posed by the chairman and said that it’s concerned that it will not be able to scope a pilot program in a Non-Opt-in-Entity (NOIE) area. Currently, Texas homeowners are unable to participate in VPPs due to the law. Tesla said:

“Primarily, this approach may not be economically rational as it could mean a substantial resource investment in a pilot that is not scalable to a commercial retail offer where Tesla could continue to directly serve those customers and grow the program’s strength and viability.

“The customers in a pilot should be able to continue to benefit from the value for their systems beyond the end-date of the pilot, in a commercially viable solution – but with a NOIE-only pilot, Tesla would have no control, legally or otherwise, over the continued participation of such customers once the pilot closes, even if a viable market participation framework is implemented following that pilot’ s conclusion.

“Any formal program participation of those customers would be solely at the option of the NOIE serving those customers. More simply, the purpose of a pilot is to study a solution that can be scaled following adoption of market rules based on pilot learnings. To build a program off the learnings of a pilot, the customer base involved in the pilot should be able to continue service under that formalized program, so that parties involved are not running the risk of raising a wholly new set of unstudied issues in a new distribution system type that was not part of the pilot.”

Frank also shared a link to over 60 pages of data from Tesla. Deep dive coming soon.

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Coalition Calls for EU Hydrogen Quota for Shipping

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Energy providers, shipping companies and NGOs call on the EU to introduce a minimum quota of 6% sustainable and scalable hydrogen fuels by 2030

A broad coalition of energy providers, shipping companies and NGOs — including Siemens Energy, Viking Cruises, Green Power Denmark and Brussels-based organisations Hydrogen Europe and Transport & Environment (T&E) — has called on the EU to introduce a minimum quota of 6% sustainable and scalable hydrogen fuels by 2030.

Last year the European Commission, the EU’s executive body, proposed a shipping fuel law (FuelEU Maritime Regulation) aimed at increasing the uptake of alternative marine fuels. Unfortunately, the law fails to guarantee the competitiveness of sustainable and scalable e-fuels, and risks promoting cheaper, unsustainable fuels. The coalition therefore calls on the European Parliament and EU Council to improve the proposal by including a dedicated e-fuels sub quota in the proposed regulation.

Delphine Gozillon, sustainable shipping officer at T&E, said:

“An ambitious shipping fuels law will be key to set the shipping sector on course for full decarbonisation. Sustainable e-fuels are currently too expensive compared to other alternatives such as fossil LNG and biofuels, holding back investments in production facilities, refuelling infrastructure in ports and zero-emission ships. However, with a bit of a push e-fuels produced from renewable hydrogen can be scalable. That’s why we need a quota to get the ball rolling and encourage companies to start investing in clean shipping fuels. Shipping does not need to be a dirty industry forever.”

A list of all the coalition’s demands can be found here.

Download the letter.

Courtesy of Transport & Environment.

Featured image courtesy of Maersk.

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Diving Into Tesla’s 60+ Pages of PUCT Filings (Mostly Data)

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Tesla has over 60 pages of Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) filings that have recently been shared publicly, and we’re about to dive into them. Grab some water and a coffee and let’s go.

Tesla and its team, including its US Energy Markets Policy Lead, Arushi Sharma Frank, have been working hard to help Texan Powerwall customers be able to take part in virtual power plant (VPP) pilot programs. In May, Tesla held a VPP workshop for the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) and Frank was one of the key leaders hosting the meeting.

Recently, Frank was asked to testify at an open meeting of the PUCT, and there she shared Tesla’s comments and statements addressing questions and other concerns relating to VPPs.

Frank tweeted a thank you to the PUCT for the opportunity of allowing Tesla to provide comments. In addition, she followed up with two more tweets, with one mentioning her favorite part of the filings — Tesla describing a phenomenon called “clumping.” Clumping is a reference to capturing the full value of distributed energy renewables capacity in an aggregate load resource (ALR).

63 Pages Of Data For PUCT

In total, there were 63 pages. I’m only going to go over some of the data briefly. I think it’s important to highlight Tesla’s hard work because if Texas allows its residents who own Powerwall batteries systems to participate in VPPs, this opens the door for other states in the Deep South to at least consider clean energy solutions for various problems, especially grid-related. Texas is well known for its grid instability, and if it allows Tesla Powerwall customers to take part in VPPs, this could mean saving lives during disasters.

Included in the filings were comments from Tesla, a request from Tesla that the Commission direct ERCOT to prioritize several actions such as allowing ALRs (Aggregated Load Resources) to provide injection capacity from individual sites in a framework by December 2022, an informal narrative of Tesla’s VPP demonstration in ERCOT, and 47 slide pages detailing the ERCOT/Tesla ancillary service demonstration.

I think the most important part for us outsiders observing here is the 47 slides, because they highlighted a lot of data that shows just how the Texas grid will benefit from VPPs. The 47 slides showed several key meetings between Tesla and ERCOT about the demo program.

Key Meeting Between Tesla & ERCOT Shows Tesla Has Been Working Hard Trying To Convince Texas To Allow VPPs

In March, there were four meetings in which Tesla defined clumping, Frank’s favorite part, as well as two telemetry signal approaches. Following that were weekly meetings around the demo results with the last demo result being April 15, 2022. On April 9, Tesla and ERCOT revisited clumping and the two telemetry signals approach.

This tells me and anyone paying close attention that Tesla has been quietly working with ERCOT to help the Texas grid for quite some time. This, I think, is a good thing, especially for Texas.

Tesla Seeks To Register The First ALR In ERCOT

According to the documents, Tesla wants to register the first ALR in ERCOT and participate in services that are currently unavailable. These services include non-spin and sCED load reduction dispatch. Tesla wants to do this with the full value of grid services that injecting devices can provide in an ALR.

Tesla said that it will lead efforts to modify the utility’s ALR Policy Other Binding Document to make it fit with practical operational, registration, and qualification issues. It clarified that ERCOT can exchange two telemetry points with an aggregation-qualified scheduling entity (QSE).

Tesla ERCOT Demo Tests

Tesla’s first demo looked at the comparison of battery and premise-level telemetry. Below is a chart showing the initial conditions, test steps, data collected, and pass criteria.

Table courtesy of Tesla

This first test results show that VPPs work beautifully in Texas. According to the results, the load decreased during the evening while in the morning it decreased while exporting to the grid. And during the daytime, the exporting of energy to the grid only increased. Tesla explained further:

“Discharging from the customer’s battery using a step function can clearly be identified in the premise-level data.

“At different times of day, premise-level data will look differently, depending on the current load:

1. Evening time: during the evening peak, user load is typically high, and discharging the battery will show up as a decrease in premise-level load.

2. Morning time: during the night/morning time, user load is typically lower, and discharging the battery will both decrease load, and export energy to the grid.

3. Daytime: during the daytime, solar is exporting to the grid, and discharging the battery will increase the export.”

You can view the full demo, test results, and all of Tesla’s comments here.

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