With the dramatic increase in electrical vehicle (EV) production over the course of the last five years, the need for a more aggressive rollout of charging stations across developed nations has become imperative. There are more than five million electrical vehicles on the roads and this number increases significantly every year. The hinderances to more widespread electrical vehicle ownership has come down to a few specific roadblocks involving mileage between charges and the availability of charging stations. Areas like California are putting forth aggressive measures to reduce emissions within their state by favoring electrical vehicles, and have recently started initiatives to completely eliminate gas-powered vehicles within the next few decades. As public sentiment moves more towards acceptance of electrical vehicles as the preferential form of transportation, companies like Tesla have been improving their customer experiences by creating their own solutions to charging station shortages and battery capacities. Through the development of innovative technologies that improve these products on an individual level, the path is cleared for other companies to follow and develop innovations as well. Collective efforts are fast-tracking the expected widespread adoption of electrical vehicles as the preferential mode of transportation.
As increased interest in electrical vehicles comes about, the need for cross-brand, rapid charging stations increases. The desire for a more efficient charging process that will deliver more power in less time is a major customer concern, and electrical vehicle manufacturers are responding in unique ways. Since a 30 minute full charging time is the goal that companies are reaching for and customers are requiring, electrical vehicle manufacturers are quickly realizing that the electrical construction of most buildings are not able to deliver the necessary AC power to achieve the goal. In addition, the EV’s rectifiers cannot handle high AC current delivery. This makes the solution obvious, that a network of publicly accessible fast DC chargers must be rolled out across highway systems. These DC charging stations should also incorporate the latest ultra-fast charging technology to avoid consumer irritation from long wait times.
DC charging stations equipped with ultra-fast technology that will be available in relatively unprotected areas presents a potential danger to both the charging station and the EV itself, along with any person located in the region (we expect people to stay inside their cars during charging sessions.) This threat comes in the form of DC power surges as a result of lighting strikes to system components. In ultra-fast charging stations currently, we find that the transformers, inverters and cooling equipment can easily be located 100 meters apart or more. This creates the issue that a lightning strike to the equipment even long distances away can create a power surge that travels along connectivity lines, easily damaging the expensive components in the system and potentially creating a highly risky situation for anyone inside the vehicle at the time of the strike. Through the integration of DC surge protection devices and systems both along these connectivity lines as well as at critical pathways, the risks of losses in the form of equipment as well as life can be diminished significantly. Through adequate risk reduction, more aggressive and powerful charging technology can be put into widespread use.