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All you need to know about electric van charging

Owning or managing a fleet of electric vehicles can be exhausting if you don’t know how to track the charge for your EVs. Unfortunately, without a proper tracking system, you spend more on charging your vehicles without getting the most out of them. Read on as we explore how electric van charging works and the factors that can impact how fast your vehicle’s charge.

What Is EV Charging?

EV charging refers to charging an electric van’s battery by transferring electrical energy from an external source to the vehicle. EV charging is as simple as charging your mobile phone. All you need to do is plug the charging cable from an electrical outlet into your vehicle’s charging inlet.

How Does EV Charging Work?

There are two sources of electric charge for EV charging – AC (alternating current) and DC (direct current). The wall outlet generates AC, while the battery stores energy as DC. 

When you plug your electric vehicle into an AC-type charging outlet, the outlet delivers AC power to the electric cargo van. Then the onboard charger in the electric van converts the power from AC to DC before feeding it to the vehicle’s battery. 

On the other hand, vehicles that use DC-type EV chargers convert AC power to DC within the charger. Then the power is fed to the vehicle. DC-type chargers allow for fast charging because the charge goes straight to the vehicle’s battery without needing to convert AC power to DC.   

Types Of Electric Van Chargers

There are three types of EC chargers – Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3. These chargers vary in amperage and, consequently, charging speed.

Level 1 chargers are the slowest. For example, a level 1 charger with a 1.8 kW capacity can only give your vehicle 3 to 7 miles of range with a one-hour charge. So, charging a standard battery electric van takes about 12 to 18 hours. Therefore, a level 1 charger is not feasible, especially if you use your car regularly.

Level 2 chargers are fast charging. This charger is standard in public charging stations, and you can install it anywhere. For example, a level 2 charger of 22 kW capacity can fully charge a battery’s pack between 4 and 6 hours. 

A level 3 chargers delivers ultra-fast charging. Unlike level 1 and level 2 chargers, which deliver AC power, the level 3 charger converts AC to DC within the charger. Therefore, a level 3 charger of over 350 kW capacity charges a standard electric cargo van in 20 minutes.

Types of EV Charging Connectors

The SAE J1772 (also known as the J-Plug) is the standard plug used by every manufacturer- except Tesla- for Level 1 and Level 2 charging. Tesla charging stations can only be used by their vehicles; however, their vehicles can also use J-Plugs if they have an adaptor cable.

The Level 3 DC chargers have three different connection types: non-Tesla vans can use Combined Charging System or CHAdeMo plugs; Tesla vehicles can, again, use these, or their Tesla Supercharger plugs (that accept every voltage level).

How Long Does It Take To Charge An Electric Van?

The time it takes to charge your EV depends on several factors. These factors include;

  • Electric car battery: An EV’s battery electric charge is measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh). Therefore, the bigger the battery, the longer it takes to charge.
  • Vehicle charging capacity: All EVs have varying power outputs. Therefore, you can only charge your EV up to the maximum charging rate the vehicle can accept. For instance, if your electric cargo van has a maximum charger rate of 50kW, you cannot charge it faster with a 250kW electric charge.
  • Charging station output: Charging stations have different outputs. Stations with higher kW outputs charge vehicles faster, provided your EV can accept the higher power output.
  • State of charge: The state of charge left in your vehicle determines how fast the battery will charge. For example, if the battery is only 20% full, it will take longer to charge than if it is 50% full. 
  • Weather conditions: EV battery packs are lithium-based; therefore, they operate more efficiently in warm weather. If the weather is extremely warm or cold, it will take longer to charge the battery.
  • DC charging curve: AC charging provides a constant power flow to an EV. Therefore, the battery charges from 0 to 100% full at the same speed. On the other hand, a DC charge gives the battery a quicker flow of power up to 80% full, then slows down for the last 20%.

How To Optimize Load For Your Fleet

As a fleet owner transitioning to an electric vehicle fleet, optimizing your load helps you reduce investment in grid expansion while increasing your ROI. Knowing how to charge your fleet efficiently while minimizing costs is essential. Fortunately, there are three ways to manage load depending on your needs.

Static load management: this load management method evenly distributes a pre-set charging power across all charging stations. So, regardless of the number of individual electric vehicles charging, they all get the same charging power allocation.

Dynamic load management: this method adjusts the total available charging capacity to the power consumption of the entire building. So, there is more power to charge your electric vehicle fleet if there is a decrease in the power consumption in the building.

Timetable-based load management: this method divides the available charging power according to the travel requirements, vehicle-specific charging capacity, and energy requirement of all vehicles. So, an electric vehicle that needs to be in use frequently gets charged quickly.

Electric van charging

How Can Webfleet Help You?

As a fleet owner, monitoring your fleet can help you minimize costs and ramp up your ROI. Fortunately, Webfleet provides several solutions for your electric vehicle fleet. With these solutions, you can stay connected to your electric fleet anytime. You can also remain confident about your vehicles having enough charge to help your drivers complete their jobs.

Contact Webfleet today to get the most value out of your electric vehicles.

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