EV load shedding is an important concept to understand if you’re looking to install multiple electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at your home or office. Load shedding is especially crucial for large commercial EV charging installations or EV fleet charging operations. In this quick article, we will detail why load shedding or load management should be an integral part of your commercial EV charging infrastructure.
EV load shedding is the process of regulating the amount of energy that is delivered to each charger. Load shedding is essential when you have many EV charging stations being used at the same time. Load shedding protects your EV charging infrastructure and assures each EV is being charged efficiently.
Currently, there is no universal term for the concept. EV load shedding is known by many different terms. Load shedding is also known as “load management,” “local load management,” “load balancing,” “load sharing,” “charge management,” “energy management,” or “power management.”
No matter what your current electrical capacity is, adding a large number of EV charging stations to your site will mean electrical infrastructure upgrades, such as circuit breaker additions and new utility connections. You’ll also need to find a way to distribute power that doesn’t impact the rest of your facility.
Load shedding distributes power to your specifications so that you don’t overload your electrical capacity and cause a power outage. A power disruption can lead to a loss in profits and unsafe conditions for your employees among many other serious problems.
Load management also helps to ensure your EVs are being delivered an efficient amount of amps for charging even in times when your electrical load is stressed, like during times when all your power-hungry machinery is in operation.
Multifamily properties with EV infrastructure attract more tenants and increase their property value among other benefits. Multifamily properties see fewer issues with their EV charging installations when they incorporate load shedding into their charging infrastructure. Load shedding is something all multi-unit properties with EV charging should consider.
At a multifamily property, you are more than likely going to have more than one EV owner (resident or visitor) charging at the same time. Since most of your tenants are going to be charging their EVs overnight, you will see a surge in electricity use during the evening hours. This is, of course, when most residents are at home, which is when you see peak hours of energy usage outside of EV charging.
With load management, your residents don’t lose power and those who own EVs can happily wake up to a fully charged EV battery.
Dependable electric car charging is essential to a successful fleet. Load management balances the power you have so that all fleet EVs are charged and ready for their scheduled drives without causing a disruption to your operations or to the utility grid.
Since most multifamily properties have small- to medium-sized EV charging installations, the type of load shedding chosen by most is either equally distributed or first-in, first-charged. Both options require EV charging management software so that the EV chargers can be remotely controlled.
Equally distributed is when each EV being charged is delivered the same amount of power. EV drivers will be provided with different charging rates depending on the available load on the electrical panel and the number of EV drivers plugged in at a time.
For example, let’s say an apartment complex has a maximum power availability of 44kW and each EV charging station has a maximum power output of 22kW. One car will charge at 22kW and two EVs will charge at 22 kW each. When three EVs are charging all three will charge at 14kW each. When there are four EVs they will charge at 11kW each. As another EV driver enters or leaves the picture, the charge output will adjust accordingly.
In a first-in, first-charged type of distribution of power, the first EV to plug in will be charged at full capacity. The second vehicle would then receive as much electricity as possible depending on what is available. If a third electric car needs to be charge, it would charge with whatever is left. If the first vehicle is done charging and leaves, then the electrical load would move to the third vehicle and whatever electricity is still available would move to a fourth vehicle.
The two most common types of EV load shedding used by fleets are static and dynamic. Both require EV charging management software so that the chargers can be remotely controlled.
Static load shedding is when a fixed amount of power is set for a certain number of EV chargers. The power is distributed evenly between all the charging stations.
Dynamic load shedding is when a flexible amount of power is set for a group of EV charging stations. In this type of load shedding, the EV charging management software would constantly monitor the power supply available at your site and then adjust distribution rates accordingly. The software would take into account the changes throughout the day in power demand and how much power each EV needs. For example, if your fleet vehicles are charging overnight when your operations have ceased for the day, the software would sense the dip in total power consumption and deliver more electricity to the EVs being charged.
The type of load shedding you choose will depend on multiple factors, including price and the size of your operation.
With multifamily properties, it will depend on how many tenants you expect to charge on a normal basis. Equally distributed is suggested for properties that don’t have enough energy to delivery electricity to all its buildings and chargers. First-in, first-charged is the better choice for multifamily properties that have enough electricity to supply all its buildings and EV chargers with energy no matter the time of day.
When it comes to fleet operations, it will depend on your electrical capacity and budget. Static load shedding is ideal for a site that has enough spare electricity to charge all of its EVs even during peak energy use. Dynamic load shedding is necessary for a fleet that doesn’t have enough spare electricity to charge its entire fleet and keep operations running. Dynamic load shedding is the better choice overall since it can sense energy consumption and distribute power accordingly but it is more expensive. For a site that doesn’t have a concern about overloading its electrical capacity, static load shedding can be a way to cut costs on an EV charging installation.
You may also want to consider adding solar to your facility to lower your carbon footprint even further. You’ll be able to power your chargers with solar energy and even add energy storage with a solar+storage system.
In the event there are downtimes in charging and you end up generating excess solar energy, an energy storage system can keep your overall power supply at safe levels so your building(s) don’t experience a power outage. An energy storage system also gives you the opportunity to use your stored energy for later use; i.e. during peak hours so you can lower your energy costs.
The best way to ensure you have the right EV load shedding management solution to fit your commercial EV charging stations is to connect with an EV charging installer that can offer a turnkey solution so they can set you up with the chargers and load shedding management software accordingly. WattLogic has the ultimate EV charging solution for its commercial customers, which includes EV charging station selection, rebate management, and the appropriate software tailored to its customers’ load shedding needs. Schedule a free commercial EV charging consultation or speak to a commercial EV charging specialist today!