Milbank's Mark on Growing EV Industry

Electric vehicles have come a long way, and so have their EV charging stations. The electric vehicles that we see on the roads today are technically related to the original EVs invented in the 1800s, but more like long-lost cousins than siblings. Today’s EVs are designed with advanced technology and modern features in mind. The EV market itself is experiencing rapid growth, and so is the need for EV charging stationsEV-Charging-SanDiego-CA-(3).jpg

EV charging stations are constantly evolving, as is the power distribution that’s behind them. Gone are the days of a one-size-fits-all charging unit and standard energy allocation. As of now, charging stations are designated to three specific levels, each one needing a customized power distribution solution. To learn more about the different levels of EV charging as well as energy allocation for each one, keep reading.

EV Charging Levels: How They're Changing and What You Need to Know

EVs of the past could take up to 20 hours to fully charge. That doesn’t exactly work for those that don’t have a charging station close to home. Not to mention, who can leave their car parked at a public charger for 20 hours? Thankfully, that’s not the case in today’s wide world of EVs. Our current EV charging stations are categorized in three different levels.

Each EV charging level has different specifications and limits, depending on its location and the type of vehicle it’s designed to charge. More on the three charging levels is coming right up.

Level 1 EV Charging

We’ll start with the most simplified charging level, Level 1. This is the first kind of EV charging that was created- a very basic operation with a standard 120 VAC circuit. Users can plug their car into the outlet and charge away.
While Level 1 charging is easy to use, it’s not the fastest charging method.

At Level 1, vehicles can take up to 20 hours to reach full charge. That means even if you left your vehicle plugged in all night, it still might not be fully charged in the morning. Level 1 charging is acceptable for home use, but with the continued EV population growth, it’s not exactly the most efficient for charging beyond that.

Level 2 EV Charging

Enter Level 2 EV charging. These types of chargers are the ones you most commonly see at public stations. Chargers run on 240 VAC with 40 Amps breakers. A Level 2 charger can have an EV ready to go with a full charge in about 10-15 hours.

Not as much power comes from a Level 2 charger compared to a Level 3, so the power distribution required isn’t as high. But naturally, it puts out more power and requires a higher power distribution than Level 1 charging.

Level 3 EV Charging

Today’s chargers are trending toward Level 3, or DC Fast Chargers. At Level 3, chargers run at about 480 VAC with 70+ Amps breakers. That means electric vehicles charging at this level can reach a full charge in less than an hour!

As you can imagine, these applications use a much higher level of   power, so the cabinets and components used for power distribution   need to be larger. It’s also important to note that not all EVs can take   this amount of power.

EV charging systems are designed to adapt their output to a Level 2   for vehicles that can’t accept Level 3 power. This charging level runs   at 480 VAC with 70 Amps or higher breakers.

Milbank Power Distribution Solutions for EV Charging

Milbank custom builds enclosed controls that service Level 2 charging needs as well as DC Fast Charging requirements. Larger breakers are needed for Level 3 charging, as they have the capacity to run up to 1600 Amps on a 480 VAC system.

Enclosed controls provide a solution with a small footprint. Without these enclosures, charging stations would need separate transformers or a strut/backboard system to mount each individual component. While Milbank cabinets are designed to service Level 2 and Level 3 charging needs, they’re also engineered to serve the future of EV charging and potentially higher amperages.


Looking Ahead: What Does the Future Hold for EV Charging?

What will EV charging look like in the future? We’re not sure yet—the demands are changing every day and the industry is working to fulfill those needs. The future of fleet charging—ensuring that an entire fleet of electric vehicles can be efficiently charged—might call for Level 4 charging to be added to the list. 
From the beginning of EV charging to the present, chargers have continued to require higher amperage capabilities. Design and manufacturing challenges include being able to produce the power needed in a package that doesn’t take up too much space but can also handle all the necessary capabilities.

In addition, it’s important to remember that different regions and electrical utilities will have different requirements for EV charging. Milbank’s strong relationships with utilities across the country for metering products allow us to effectively provide other electrical distribution equipment that meets their requirements, i.e., provide optimized power distribution solutions for EV charging stations.
As the popularity of electric vehicles moves forward, Milbank will continue working with utilities, businesses and municipalities to ensure drivers stay connected to power across the country.

Learn more about Milbank products for electric vehicles or other applications Milbank enclosed controls can be used for, including upgrading to 5G capabilities, traffic lighting, park lighting, temp power and more. Reach out to a Milbank representative in your area to schedule a demonstration of any of our solutions.