EV Charging Debate: Networked vs Non Networked EV Chargers,

Do you value real time updates and the ability to remotely configure your charger’s settings or even monitor your vehicle charging remotely? Do you live in a strata complex that requires data for billing purposes? Do you like being in control of your EV charging process and limit power during peak demand periods? Do you like to track your energy consumption, pull reports and share them with other EV enthusiasts? Do you have a limited power supply and need access to load management technology?

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, then a networked EV charger is the right tool to charge your electric vehicle!

Networked EV Chargers are part of a charging network, connected via the internet, and can provide functions such as billing, access control and real time updates of your charging experience.
Networked chargers are typical more expensive than their non-networked cousins but can offer some serious benefits, especially if they are used in a Multi-Unit Residential setting, where access control and billing data is needed for multiple users.

Prices range from $1,500-$4,000 per charging station plus annual networking fees ranging from $150-$380 per charging station.

The capability for load sharing is another benefit of networked station technology. Some manufacturers allow load sharing of up to 4 x Level 2 chargers on a single circuit. The ability to connect to the charging network allows the load management system to fluctuate demand depending on the needs of the vehicles that are charging. This technology is useful in buildings where there is limited energy capacity and one circuit has to be used to charge multiple vehicles.

One of the main disadvantages of many (not all) networked charging solutions is that they operate on proprietary networks and don’t allow communication with other charging devices. The extra fees can also be a disadvantage for some, but for the most part, can be recovered by adding a small service/access fee for users.

If you are after a basic and cost effective solution that does nothing other than charge your electric vehicle, then a Non-Networked EV charger is the tool for you. These stations can be installed in combination with a revenue grade meter which allows for energy monitoring without any subscription fee. Basic power sharing and access control feature via a key are also offered by some brands.

Prices for Non Networked EV Chargers range from $700-$1,500, and there are no annual fees.

OCPP. As there are more options for charging service providers on the market, some manufacturers are expanding their technology to offer OCPP (Open Charge Point Protocol) This is an open application protocol for communication between EV charging stations and a central management system, also known as a charging station network. This open system is very similar to cell phones and cell phone networks, where different makes and models of phone can connect to one network.  The ultimate aim of this protocol is to create an open network which allows EV charging stations and central management systems from different vendors to communicate with each other.

Our Opinion?
Non-Networked Chargers are a great and cost effective solution for single family residences and some Multi Unit residences (if electrical panel and meter for the unit is directly accessible for the installation.)

If you are installing this equipment in a multi-unit residence and using electricity measured by a common area meter, and have multiple users, need access control or load sharing capability, then a Networked Charger is the better solution for you.

If you live in Multi-Unit Residence and considering applying for the B.C.’s EV charger rebate program, please note that a Networked EV Charger is one of the program requirements; “Networked: connected to a central system via Internet communication such as open protocol (e.g. OCPP, OpenADR or other) or a proprietary system” More information on this program can be found at the following link.

If you are interested in installing EV charging infrastructure in in your Multi Unit Residential Building, workplace or single family home, call Cielo Electric for a fully comprehensive site assessment.

Ph: 778-862-4109 or visit www.cieloelectric.ca

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