Q&A With Alfred Ang: EV Charging & Infrastructure

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Following IAA’s first EV webinar titled, “EV Technology And Design Solution: Rethinking Design Approach, Connectivity, And Safety,” Alfred Ang answers the community’s EV charging and infrastructure questions.

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Alfred Ang, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at EV Charging Technology

About Alfred Ang:

Alfred Ang is the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) for EV Charging Technology. He had been involved in IT application development and maintenance projects since 2008. He has worked overseas in China for 10 years, in which he handled IT offshore and outsourced projects with Singtel and NCS. He is also the Managing Director of Wormwood, a local IT SME, which provides innovative IT solutions and IT consultancy services based on industry best practices. Alfred Ang holds Bachelor degree in Computing Engineering from Nanyang Technological University (NTU). He’s also a certified Scrum Master, Product Owner and Lean Six Sigma green belt professional.

What is the future of EV Charging?

Alfred Ang (AA): The outlook is very positive as more and more developed and developing countries are promoting EVs and are committing to phase out conventional vehicles and replace them with EVs. As a result, demand for EV charging will be in great demand in the near future as EV adoption rises, especially with government incentives in place. EV charging technology is also evolving, such as the development of wireless charging technology and V2G (vehicle-to-grid) charging stations.

What are the issues that automotive manufacturers face during the EV charging compatibility testing?

AA: As there are various standards of chargers in the markets set by the various countries, such as Type 1 (by the US), Type 2 (by Europe), GB (by China) and Japan, the EVs could have compatibility issues with the chargers. Most of the time, it is due to the parameters in the EVs or Chargers that caused communications between the EVs and Chargers, especially for DC chargers.

Boon Hui Ang asked:

Instead of fixing EV chargers to specific car parking lots, is it possible for EV charger to be movable along track for flexibility?

AA: Yes, it is possible to have EV charger to be movable along track, but the weight of the EV charger will be a safety concern, especially for a DC charger. Thus, portable AC chargers could be more feasible and flexible, in which they could be retrieved for charging and returned to the charging box upon completion.

How to balance the load charging for power supply when there is concurrent charging by various EVs?

AA: Typically, the power will be split equally among the EVs that are charging concurrently at the charging station. CSMS can also control the charging more intelligently by setting a higher power output for EV with low battery and a lower power output for EV that is almost full.

How long does it take for a charging operator to achieve break-even?

AA: Typically, it will take 2-3 years for a charging operator that provides EV charging services to general public to break even, whereas it will take around 3-4 years for a charging operator that provides EV charging services to fleet. However, it’s still very dependent on the location, type of site and the EV adoption.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of AC/DC charging?

AA: The main advantage of AC stations is that they are affordable. They are 7 times to 10 times cheaper than DC charging stations with the same performance. Their other advantage is that they are much more widespread due to their lower price. At the same time, they are significantly smaller and their installation is simpler, faster, and less expensive. Thanks to their characteristics, AC charging stations are also suitable for home installation and night charging.

The disadvantage of AC charging stations is that they are slower. However, the technology is still improving and today AC charging station can provide up to 22 kWh of charging power. If the battery of the electric car has a capacity of 21 kWh, it can be fully charged in about an hour.

A DC charging station is technologically much more complex and many times more expensive than an AC charging station, and moreover, it requires a powerful source. In addition, a DC charging station must be able to communicate with the car instead of the onboard charger in order to be able to adjust the output power parameters according to the condition and capability of the battery.

Benny Lim asked:

Where is the EV Charging station being manufactured?

AA: Most EV charging stations are being manufactured in China and Europe, as they are the early adopters of EVs. China and Europe are also the leaders in terms of EV technologies and standards.

Rajesh Kumar Panda asked:

DC charging time is reduced in minutes, but what about AC charging? Is any development going on to reduce the time similar to in range with DC?

AA: The limitation for AC charging is that the conversion of AC to DC current is done via the EV’s onboard charger. As the onboard charger of EV can only receive a limited power, the charging is much slower compared to DC chargers, whereby the conversion to DC is done within the DC chargers. Thus, some EVs can charge faster on AC chargers as compared to other EVs, such as Tesla, as their onboard charger supports a faster charging rate. Increasing the AC charging will require smaller and more efficient charger that can be built into the EVs.

Rajesh Kumar Panda asked:

Is there any plan to increase additional space in building for EV charging station?

AA: I think the building management shall choose the type of chargers that can fit within their available spaces and type of usages, as the interior space of buildings can be quite limited. AC EV chargers are generally small in size and are more suited for overnight charging. Thus, they don’t take up much space in the buildings. DC EV chargers are typically larger in size (almost the size of a fridge) and are for larger EVs that have a larger capacity battery and have a much higher power consumption. As a result of the difference, the Singapore government is pushing AC EV chargers to the public car parks or areas as they take up less power and space.

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