Managing electric vehicles in an e-fleet can be a challenging task, as different factors have to be taken into account than with an internal combustion engine fleet. Especially when many electric vehicles need to be charged at the same time, the site's grid connection must be able to cope.
In this blog post, we use a case study to explain how IO-Dynamics' charging management optimizes the utilization of the connected load through intelligent charging control and distributes unused power in the electric fleet sensibly and efficiently.
Why load management?
In order to be able to charge several electric vehicles at one location even when the grid connection is limited, you need a load management system. It ensures that the available charging power is distributed evenly among the electric vehicles to be charged and that the charging processes are coordinated.
The benefits of load management:
- Reduction of peak loads: Charging processes are controlled so that the maximum load on the power grid is not exceeded. This avoids load peaks and reduces costs for grid usage.
- Optimized charging time: Charging processes of electric vehicles are optimized so that they are charged during times of lower electricity consumption. This also allows them to benefit from cheaper electricity rates.
- Avoidance of overloading: When several electric vehicles charge at the same time at a charging station, overloads can occur, which can lead to disruptions. Load management ensures that charging processes are controlled in such a way that overloads are avoided.
- Better utilization of the charging infrastructure: A load management system ensures that the charging infrastructure is optimally utilized. As a result, more electric vehicles can be charged with fewer charging stations, which in turn saves space and costs.
- Intelligent use of energy: Load management ensures that no power peaks occur and that expansion of the grid connection is avoided. This leads not only to a reduction in costs, but also to an improved energy and a lower CO₂ balance.
However, load management only works well if it also distributes the loads intelligently.
In the following case study, we explain how the charging management system from IO-Dynamics ensures that the full charging potential of an electric fleet is utilized even when power is limited.
Case study: Identifying the actual charging power of EVs
A company decides to electrify its vehicle fleet. The maximum connected load for the operation of the charging infrastructure is 70 kW. A total of 8 charging stations are put into operation, 4 with 11 kW power and 4 with 22 kW power, as well as 8 electric vehicles. If all 8 electric vehicles charge at the same time, a grid connection overload would occur without the use of load management (see Figure 1).
The charging management from IO-Dynamics actively and specifically controls the power supply for the electric vehicles so that they only draw as much power as the available power connection is sufficient for. This ensures that all 8 electric vehicles can be charged at the same time without causing expensive load peaks.
The charging station specifies the maximum power with which the electric vehicle can be charged. A corresponding charging management system releases as much power as the power capacity of the location allows. Now, it is important to know that the electric vehicle itself ultimately decides how much power it actually wants to receive from the charging station.
Thus, we have 3 different key figures:
- The maximum charging power of the charging station
- The enabled charging power by the charging management system
- The actual charging power of the electric vehicle
The charging management system recognizes when the electric vehicle is using less energy. Continuously, the system checks how much power the electric vehicles connected to the charging stations are using. If the electric vehicle is using less power than the charging management system initially enabled for charging, the system regulates the power after 10 minutes and the electric vehicle receives less power (see Figure 2). In this way, we have more power left for charging other vehicles.
Figure 2 shows an electric vehicle connected to an 11 kW charging station. Initially, the charging management system has enabled 11 kW for charging the electric vehicle. However, this actually uses only 0.5 kW of power. This occurs when the EV battery is currently in the balancing process. The charging management system detects the actual charging power of the electric vehicle and regulates to the lowest possible power of 4.1 kW after 10 minutes.
Based on the 132 kW maximum total power of the charging stations and the 70 kW total charging power enabled by the charging management, we assume for our case study that the actual charging power of the 8 EVs is 55 kW. The charging management detects the actual charging power of the individual EVs and adjusts the power accordingly (see Figure 3).
Because the charging management system detects the actual charging power of the e-fleet and dynamically regulates the charging power in response, unused power can be distributed to other charging stations without exceeding the available connected load.
As can be seen in the table, the EVs at charging stations 2, 4, 6 and 8 use less energy, so the charging management system reduces the power accordingly. As a result, more power is available in the amount of 7.8 kW, which the charging management allocates to charging station 7, allowing the electric vehicle to charge faster at this charging station (see Figure 4).
Advantages for fleet management and fleet owners
As can be seen in our case study, the actual charging power of the e-vehicles can be increased from 55 kW to 62 kW by using the charging management. As a result, the power connection is better utilized and the EVs can be charged faster. In this way, the charging management from IO-Dynamics enables 90 percent of the available connection power to be used instead of 78 percent.
This technology makes it possible for charging processes to be even more efficient. The charging management ensures that the electric vehicles are charged optimally and in line with demand, resulting in longer battery life while reducing power consumption and costs.
For a better understanding, we have only focused on the fleet's power connection in our use case. However, when it comes to load management, numerous other factors, such as battery health, building connection, peak shaving or schedules, also play a crucial role. Feel free to check out our blog if you want to read up on these topics in more detail. Here we get to the bottom of exciting questions about electromobility and charging and energy management for electric fleets.
If you are interested in our charging management, please arrange a demo appointment or watch our tutorial video!