The fast charging station in Tyresö, located south of Stockholm, was officially inaugurated on Thursday the 18th of October. The fast charger was provided to Tyresö municipality by Vattenfall. The electricity used to charge electric vehicles is produced by solar cells on the charging station’s roof and by Vattenfall’s wind power park in Lillgrund.
The charger itself is a combined AC and DC charger from ABB. For DC charging, the charger has a fixed cable with a CHAdeMO-connector for the car side. The CHAdeMO standard allows charging with up to 50kW and is compatible with, among others, the Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi iMiEV. For AC charging, the charger has a Mennekes type II outlet (bring your own cable!) and the possibility to charge with 3x32A and 400V, which adds up to around 22kW.
This cooperation is a good example of how projects within the E-Mobility R&D program serve as a basis for business development at Vattenfall and result in a physical product.
Vattenfall R&D E-mobility reported 2010 of the technical and commercial viability of fast charging stations for EVs, followed by formulating guidelines for installation of fast charging equipment. The technical specifications and installation guidelines for the Tyresö fast charging station were written by experts from Vattenfall R&D and Vattenfall Services Nordic. A number of issues were considered, such as selection of grid connection point, available sub-station capacity, distance to the charging unit, and safety requirements. The results were handed over to E-Mobility colleagues working with market strategy and business development at Vattenfall.
VattenfallE-mobility R&D program has also measured the power quality and the density of the magnetic field during charging, as a part of the follow up of the installation. All values were within expected levels. In an ongoing R&D project, Kristinn Sigmundsson from Technical IT at Vattenfall R&D, is developing a mobile app with a payment solution for the fast charging station. We asked him a few questions about this.
How do customers pay for the charging service?
During the first six months the service will be free. After that it will be possible to order your own charging card, and at the end of the month you will receive a bill. Next year, you will be able to download the Vattenfall charging app for your iPhone or Android phone and use it to pay for your charging time.
The Vattenfall app has a list and a map with available charging points, which makes it easy to choose which charging point you want to use. The driver will be identified at the charging station either by scanning a QR code with his / her smart phone, or by entering the unique code of the charging station into the app. The app will be released soon, and a payment solution will be added mid next year. The exact method and provider of the payment solution is not yet decided, but it will be available through the app and it will be as easy and as secure as possible.
What were your demands in terms of functionality?
We performed a market survey, to identify available payment solutions. Our main focus was the customer perspective – we wanted to make payment as easy as possible for all customers. We also looked at other factors such as the cost per transaction.
We chose to develop a mobile app for payment since we think it fits the whole electric vehicle concept. EVs present a new technology and we wanted to match that by using the best and latest technology for payment. EV drivers today are early adopters, who want to use the latest technology, not only in the car, but also for all the auxiliary services.
What does the future look like, in terms of public charging?
It depends on which market we are discussing. In Sweden, for instance, I see fast charging as the main public charging method. Many people have access to home charging because of the widely available engine pre-heater outlets, both in semi-public settings as well as at home in car ports and garages. Fast charging then offers something that home charging cannot: a feeling of security that eases the customers’ range anxiety.
How do people prefer to pay for public charging of electric vehicles?
In the future, I think that customers will pay for public charging the same way they pay for a fuel refill today: at the gas station, or a similar establishment.
We also asked Carl-Oscar Sandin, project manager at Vattenfall Business Development, a few questions about the business side of the project.
What are Vattenfall’s reasons for doing this?
In a way it’s a matter of market positioning. We want to show that Vattenfall is a leading company when it comes to charging solutions for electric vehicles. The project can also be seen as a business pilot, where we investigate the future role of Vattenfall when it comes to public charging solutions. We want to know what the business case is for public fast chargers and how they can add value for electric car owners and drivers.
Why did Tyresö choose Vattenfall ?
Because we offer a complete solution: from technical knowledge, to installation and service, as well as handling the end user or final customer.
Why did you choose this type of charger?
The combination of AC and DC charging options makes it accessible for many types of electric vehicles. Both the CHAdeMO standard for DC fast charging and ABB as a supplier are market leaders today. We believe that this charging concept will be marketable for a long time.
Who are the main customers for Vattenfall?
In this case Vattenfall has two different customer groups. Firstly and mainly it is municipalities. They want to offer charging infrastructure to their inhabitants but also want to use it for their own vehicle fleet. We also see delivery and messenger companies as a probable future customer, since they have a predictable and relatively limited driving pattern. Taxi companies can be another future customer.
The second customer group is the public user who needs public charging infrastructure in order to operate their vehicles, in this case Vattenfall handle the customer handling and charges the EV drivers based on their usage.
Does the demand for public charging differ between Vattenfall’s markets?
In the Netherlands, there is a more widespread need for public charging, and its infrastructure is very similar to our private charging solutions, in terms of usage. Very few people have their own dedicated parking spot, which means that in-the-street public charging serves the purpose of the main charging point. In terms of public fast charging we see that the need and demand for a quick refill is basically the same in all Vattenfall markets.
Is a publicly available fast charging infrastructure important for the electric car market?
It is definitely important, if nothing else to prevent “range anxiety”. A study carried out by TEPCO in Japan showed that availability of fast chargers increased the battery usage levels. Drivers felt that it was safe to use up a larger part of the batteries’ capacity when fast charging was available.