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What to Consider for EV Charging Station Designs


June 1, 2024

When you design and set up EV charging stations there are a few hurdles that might crop up.

Capacity, or lack thereof, is a common issue. Some places just don’t have the right infrastructure to support high-powered chargers, so you might need to upgrade transformers, pay for expensive grid upgrades, or look for smart charging alternatives. 

When you add in the fact that technology moves fast these days and needs frequent upgrading, without the right support, designing future-proof EV charging stations is a challenge.

In this guide, we’ll look at ways to get around some of these issues through wise design and technical choices.

Key Considerations for EV Charging Station Design

In this section, we’ll discuss the main things to take into account when planning and designing your fleet EV charging station(s).

Optimal Placement of Charging Stations for Accessibility and Convenience

When planning EV charger locations for your fleet operations, you want to place them as close as possible to your main operating base. This minimizes the time wasted by vehicles driving to and from chargers. It’s also easier to manage your fleet when everything is centralized. You can keep an eye on maintenance, charging status, and EV dispatch all from one place.

If you run a large fleet that covers a lot of ground, it’s worth considering additional charging stations close to major highways or busy routes. This reduces the detour time to a recharging spot, which is important during tight delivery schedules. It’s also useful for emergency top-ups if a vehicle runs low while on the job.

Another, often overlooked, detail is the inclusion of driver rest areas. Drivers need breaks, and aligning EV charging time with mandated rest periods kills two birds with one stone. 

Integration with Renewable Energy Sources for Sustainable Charging

There are three main things to consider when integrating renewable energy sources with EV charging stations.

  • Solar Panel Installations On-Site
    In locations with high sunlight exposure, clean solar energy can power your charging operations directly. Plus, any excess power can be sold back to the grid, giving you a potential extra revenue source. 
  • Wind Energy Integration Options
    Integrating wind turbines supplies power to your charging stations. Like solar, wind energy can be used directly or stored and excess supply sent back to the grid. 
  • Battery Storage for Peak Times
    Intermittent energy sources like solar and wind require a backup plan. Store excess energy in batteries during peak production times and release it during peak demand times, such as early evenings. This cuts the cost of energy supply and stabilizes the load on the grid.

Smart Charging Solutions for Efficient Energy Management

To ensure your fleet charging is as efficient and reliable as possible, you need a smart charging solution. Smart charging software platforms like Ampcontrol offer a number of benefits for fleet managers, including:

  • Load Balancing Across Multiple Chargers
    If you have a lot of EVs that need charging at similar times, but limited available power, then load balancing is critical. A smart charging solution adjusts the charge rate based on how many EVs are charging and what the current power supply can handle. Balancing load in this way makes sure the system doesn’t get overwhelmed and improves charging efficiency.
  • AI-Powered Charging During Off-Peak Hours
    AI algorithms analyze usage patterns and electricity rates, looking for ways to optimize charging. The system automatically schedules charging sessions when rates are lowest, typically late at night to save money and reduce strain on the grid.
  • Integration with Energy Management Systems
    Get a holistic view of energy usage and gain more control over it. 
  • Local Controller as a Backup for Cloud-Based Systems
    High speed load management systems that run locally, such as AmpEdge, can take over if there’s a glitch with the wider network.

Ensuring Safety and Security in EV Charging Infrastructure

You need to protect the operational integrity of your EV charging stations, users, and equipment. In this section, we’ll look at three key ways to make your EV charging stations safer and more secure.

Implementing Robust Electrical Safety Measures

It’s best practice to anticipate electrical problems before they start. Regularly checking on your EV charging stations helps catch any wear and tear or software glitches early on. 

Using equipment and software that’s UL-certified, such as Ampcontrol with UL 60730-1 certification, gives you a safety net. UL 60730-1 certification means the equipment has passed tough testing to ensure it can safely handle electricity. This holds true even when you use advanced methods such as oversubscription of grid connections.

Ground fault protection systems are useful to prevent electric shocks. They improve safety by monitoring electrical current and shutting things down if any harmful irregularities are found. This is especially important in places where water or variable weather might affect your electrical systems.

Preventing Unauthorized Access and Rampering

As a precaution, it’s a good idea to position surveillance cameras strategically around your charging stations. They help deter tampering or vandalism and you can monitor and review footage if any security concerns arise. 

Many fleet managers secure their equipment with tamper-evident seals. If someone tries to mess with the hardware, the seals break, giving you a clear sign that something's up. It's a straightforward, yet effective way to quickly check for tampering during routine inspections.

Ampcontrol’s secure access control systems ensure only authorized personnel can operate or interact with the charging equipment. With SOC 2 Type I compliance, users can rest assured that the security measures are up to the highest standards set by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). 

Monitoring and Controlling Charging Sessions for Enhanced Security

An effective way to tighten up security is to use real-time session monitoring software. It gives you a live feed of everything happening at your charging stations. You can see the status of each charge, how much energy is being used, and flags any issues instantly. You get immediate alerts if something goes wrong, allowing you to respond quickly  

Software like Ampcontrol also gives you remote diagnostics. Instead of sending a technician out every time there’s an issue, you can troubleshoot from anywhere. For instance, if a charger has a software glitch, you can update or reboot the system remotely through OCPP, minimizing downtime. 

Another way to improve security is through user authentication. It’s similar to using a keycard to enter a building, but users verify their identity with RFID cards or a mobile app instead. This prevents misuse and keeps your data secure. Plus, all activity is logged, so you have a detailed record of who used what and when.

Scalability and Future-Proofing of EV Charging Solutions 

Designing Modular Charging Infrastructure for Easy Expansion

When you’re setting up your initial infrastructure, it’s smart to install conduits that are pre-wired for additional chargers down the line. This means you don’t have to tear up the ground and do extensive electrical work every time you want to add more chargers. You lay the groundwork in advance to make future expansions plug-and-play.

Scalable power distribution units allow you to manage and distribute power efficiently as you add more chargers. Just as you can plug more devices into a power strip without needing a new outlet, scalable power distribution units let you expand your charging capacity without big electrical overhauls.

Finally, don’t forget to design flexible site layouts. One useful strategy is oversubscription. Basically, you install more charging capacity than the current grid connection can support, knowing that not all chargers will be used at their maximum capacity simultaneously. Just make sure you safely oversubscribe your chargers with Ampcontrol.

Compatibility with Evolving Communication Standards

Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP) is a global standard that ensures interoperability between different brands and systems, so you’re not locked into one vendor. This flexibility allows you to upgrade or change parts of your system without overhauling everything. It’s similar to USB ports—you can plug in devices from any manufacturer as long as they meet the standard.

Ampcontrol is OCPP-compliant and also includes regular firmware updates to provide new features, fix bugs, and patch security vulnerabilities. 

Telematics integration connects your charging infrastructure with your fleet’s onboard systems. This enables real-time data exchange, giving you insights into vehicle status, location, and performance. It opens up a direct line of communication between your fleet and your charging stations which means you can optimize charging schedules based on actual fleet needs.

Adapting to Advancements in Electric Vehicle Technology

More and more EVs are being developed with batteries to handle faster charging speeds. High-power chargers, like those providing 150 kW or even 350 kW, can significantly reduce charging times, making it more convenient for drivers and more efficient for fleet operations. 

You should also look for next-gen EV features such as vehicle-to-grid (V2G) capabilities, which allow EVs to feed power back into the grid, and advanced telematics that provide deeper insights into vehicle performance and charging needs. 

Ampcontrol is a comprehensive smart charging solution that integrates perfectly with your charging station design. See Ampcontrol in action –  request a demo today.

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EV Charging, Charging Depot, Depot Design
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