The average percentage of students that brought cars to campus in 214 National Universities in the US was 46.8% during the 2016-2017 academic year. As the popularity of electric vehicles soars by the day, these students are also likely to shift from fossil-fuel-era vehicles to EVs. As a result, it makes sense to have EV charging stations on campuses. Most universities are already taking up the task, and in the University of Alabama, there are 11 vehicle charging stations serving students, staff, and visitors.
Essentially, the institutions can install dumb and smart EV chargers. Dumb chargers are simple but do not provide any other functionality besides charging your car. The charging stations cost less since they don’t have many requirements. For instance, there is no internet connection needed or monthly software payments. Campuses can, therefore, allow students and staff to charge their vehicles for free, as a perk, or charge them a flat fee.
Smart chargers are, however, more advanced and provide additional functionality beyond charging. The staff and students can charge on-campus, and the institution can monitor all their charging data. EV owners can thus pay based on their power usage on campus.
With the number of students and staff on campuses, there is a need to install multiple charging stations. EVs will continue to get into the mainstream, and there need to be enough charging stations to accommodate the growing numbers. However, growing EV stations is proving difficult for a couple of reasons.
The current national electricity grid cannot accommodate multiple EV charging stations. EV stations have high voltage requirements, and installing them means additional electricity load. If anything, distribution networks would need to upgrade the electricity grid to increase power output in substations and provide wiring configurations to accommodate the new energy requirements.
High utility bills also present challenges that could worsen if students and staff charge their cars during peak hours. Utility companies charge different rates at different times. The peak hours are usually between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m., while the hours before 4 p.m. and those after 9 p.m. are off-peak. Therefore, if the charging stations keep working during peak hours, the institution will always incur high utility bills.
Also, the initial cost of installing EV chargers is high. Institutions require multiple circuit breakers, wires, pipes, conduits, and other materials that are pretty costly. Also, there is a shortage of essential components for EV charger manufacturing, occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many countries’ lockdowns and travel restrictions interrupted supply chains—hence the scarcity experienced. The shortages of basic materials directly impact the cost of components and the overall EV charger installation cost.
In any case, a 100% transition cannot happen without a couple of drawbacks. The challenges are welcome, and some power management technology providers already provide viable solutions.
EVMC could be your best bet
Universities like Princeton University, UC Davis, Stevens Institute of Technology and many more benefit from a Cyber Switching’s EV management system. The on-demand management controller EVMC allows you to connect up to four EV charging stations (EVSE) to a single power line; this helps lower energy expenses without compromising performance and save tens of thousands on electrical upgrades. You can learn more on how EVMC works here.
Why So many schools use EVMC?
– It Quadruples the number of EVs charged from available power circuits
– It Reduces panel upgrade & trenching costs by up to 50%
– Schools can easily expand from 1 charger to 4 or more chargers
– It Reduces peak demand energy costs by up to 75%
– Keeps EVs charged up effectively and efficiently, while keeping the utility billing at a minimum
– Works with any non-networked and networked EV charging station
– It adds an extra safety to a load management
Interested in learning more? Feel free to contact us. Our experts are happy to answer all your questions and help you with your EV charging needs.