Photo: XCharge North America
Written by Aatish Patel, President and Co-Founder of XCharge North America
Electrification and widespread electric vehicle (EV) adoption are growing priorities for consumers, businesses, and the government. However, the current infrastructure and equipment cannot sustain aspirations of building smart cities.
Before becoming a founding member of XCharge North America, I was involved in hospitality, and as a customer, I struggled to install a Level-3 charger at one of my properties. The chargers I considered demanded extensive property upgrades since most solutions are designed with European and Asian grids in mind. The North American grid is older, less robust, and has a lower voltage than the EU/APAC counterparts, meaning it takes more money and effort to retrofit and install EU/APAC-based chargers. Given the lack of native input-based chargers for the U.S., I joined forces with XCharge due to their shared willingness to develop a solution optimized for the country’s infrastructure. We localized one of their EV chargers, the C6AM, in accordance with the U.S. grid and later developed the Net Zero Series (NZS) solution to meet the grid’s unique demands.
Pictured above are renderings of the Net Zero Series (NZS). Photo: XCharge North America.
Charging as a power source
Within the U.S., charging is considered interchangeable with fuelling. However, equipping businesses and drivers with the correct charger promotes charging as a power source and a service. Companies simply focus on increasing the number of EV chargers available to achieve electrification goals. These endeavors provide ineffective solutions, worsening public fears that increased EV charging will further deplete the electric grid’s capabilities. However, deploying the correct charger for the grid will optimize its capabilities for consumers and the nation’s infrastructure.
XCharge North America’s NZS solution is one of the first commercially available bi-directional charging products that sustains the grid’s durability and advances e-mobility. The NZS enables the power grid to support more electric charging as a battery-to-grid solution versus a vehicle-to-grid solution. The bi-directional and energy storage qualities avoid exhausting the grid since it requires low energy use with high output. This is key since many market solutions don’t perform or aren’t reliable during extreme weather periods like heat waves or snowstorms. Additionally, integrated bi-directional chargers act as a Virtual Power Plant (VPP), meaning the NZS can store energy during low usage periods for the future, which reduces any strain on the power grid that stems from increased electricity consumption – as demonstrated in the graphic below.
Economically Sound Charging
Along with being a VPP, the NZS solution is ideal for facilitating charging as a service. Unfortunately, many business operators are hesitant about the high installation and maintenance costs. EV charger companies push operatories to install solutions for the 480v input instead of the existing 208v commonly available in the U.S., which requires complete site renovations. The costly installation doesn’t guarantee quality and reliable charger performance. On the other hand, the NZS’s energy storage system and bi-directional functions allow the unit to sell back energy to the grid, allowing peak-shaving capabilities where operators can profit from DCFC installs.
Charging that serves everyone
The EV industry has increasingly been adopting the Tesla NACS model and network. However, overburdening one system not designed with the North American grid in mind will continue to have businesses and EV drivers suffer with unreliable charging solutions. There is no denying that charging should support the Tesla market, though charging doesn’t need to be monopolized under one system – that negates the open access guidelines of NEVI. A widespread charger network should and can serve a diverse set of electric vehicles. To this end, since the beginning, both the C6AM and NZS solutions have accommodated NACS and CCS1 standards while also energizing the grid infrastructure.
Pictured above is a C6AM deployment in Allen, Texas that accommodates NACS. Photo: XCharge North America.
C6AM and NZS deployments allow charging to remain a universal service.