electric car battery charging stations:drive down prices through faster charging
Consider for a moment the unexpectedly fast development of the digital camera and many other technology revolutions. The race for faster charging is comparable to the ‘megapixel race’ in the digital camera industry. Just before the millennium less than a megapixel for a consumer camera was the maximum, a few years later cameras with 2 or 3 megapixel were abundant. By mid decade practically all professional photographers had 10+ megapixel camera’s. This happened because consumers clearly preferred more megapixels over less megapixels. I think the same will be true for faster charging.
Besides the obvious shorter waiting times, there’s an often overlooked advantage of higher charging speeds. In terms of economics and network capacity, fast charging will be crucial to cheaply charge the millions of electric cars hitting the road in the coming decade. Let me explain why I believe this is the case.
Faster charging drives down costs
What many people don’t seem to realise today is that only higher charging speeds can bring down charging costs and allow companies such as Fastned to lower prices. A fast charging station can charge hundreds of cars per day. Expensive hardware is shared between a lot of cars. When the speed of charging increases further the hardware is shared with even more people and the economics continue to get better.
Fast charging developments in the next five years
Higher charging speeds allow stations to deliver more kWh’s per day to our customers with only minor increases in operational expenditures (such as lease of land, cleaning, customer support, cost of capital). Tripling the charging speed from 50kW to 150kW will result in 3x more capacity per station, with only a modest infrastructure cost increase. Faster charging is therefore key to driving down costs of recharging large numbers of electric cars.
Serving those who do not have their own driveway
Charging at home is obviously convenient. However, families with their own driveway are the exception, not the rule around the world. This is especially true in cities. For example, in the Netherlands 75% of the households cannot charge their car at home.
75% of households in The Netherlands cannot charge at home
We believe that faster charging is the only long term solution to make charging affordable for those who do not have their own driveway. Charging at more than 1200 km/h (240+ kW) means that an average car owner who drives 15.000 km annually charges approximately once every week for 15 minutes.
Some say the solution is ubiquitous AC charging infrastructure at practically all parking spaces. We think this is not an affordable solution at scale. In a best case scenario, a slow charging point can charge two cars a day. With millions of cars on the road we will therefore need millions of public charging points. At a cost of thousands of euros per public AC charging point, this seems like an expensive way to boost charging infrastructure.
And while (public) AC charging is generally done at night, the most powerful potential source of renewable energy - the sun - shines during the day.