Top EV Charger Manufacturers in the USA

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Top EV Charger Manufacturers in the USA

The rise of electric vehicles (EVs) in the United States has accelerated in recent years, driven by improving battery technology, lower costs, expanded model availability, and government incentives. As EV adoption increases, the need for convenient and robust EV charging infrastructure grows in parallel.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, there were over 2 million EVs on U.S. roads as of 2021. Major automakers like GM and Ford have announced plans to transition significant portions of their lineups to electric over the next 5-10 years. This will likely lead to millions more EVs hitting the roads.

To support these new EVs, charging stations must expand quickly across the country. Workplaces, retail locations, multifamily housing, hotels, and other venues are adding charging capability. High-speed public DC fast charging stations are also being built out along major travel corridors.

Behind the buildout of this infrastructure are the companies manufacturing the hardware and software that make EV charging possible. A range of established corporations and startups are competing in this rapidly growing industry.

Major EV Charger Manufacturers

The electric vehicle (EV) charging industry in the United States has seen rapid growth and innovation in recent years. Some of the major players manufacturing and deploying EV charging stations across the country include:

ChargePoint – Founded in 2007, ChargePoint is the largest EV charging network in the world. They design, develop and manufacture hardware and software solutions for EV charging, including Level 2 AC and DC fast charging stations. ChargePoint has deployed over 100,000 charging ports globally.

Blink Charging – Blink designs, owns and operates EV charging equipment and networks. They offer both residential and commercial EV charging stations and have deployed over 15,000 charging ports. Blink acquired European EV charging company Blue Corner to expand internationally.

ABB – ABB is a Swiss-Swedish multinational company that manufactures EV charging solutions for light, medium and heavy-duty vehicles. They offer both AC and DC fast chargers. ABB has installed over 14,000 EV chargers worldwide.

Siemens – The German conglomerate Siemens offers the VersiCharge line of smart AC Level 2 EV chargers. They also acquired the electric vehicle infrastructure company eCartec to expand their charging solutions.

EVgo – EVgo is the largest public DC fast charging network in the US, with over 800 fast charging locations. They build, own and operate DC fast charging stations, including 350kW ultra-fast chargers. EVgo was acquired by LS Power in 2016.

Electrify America – Formed by Volkswagen as part of their diesel emissions settlement, Electrify America is installing ultra-fast charging stations across the US. They are planning to deploy over 2,000 chargers by the end of 2025.

Charger Types

There are three main types of electric vehicle chargers:

Level 1

Level 1 charging uses a standard 120V AC plug and requires no additional charging equipment. It provides 2-5 miles of range per hour of charging. Level 1 is the slowest charging option but can be used with a standard wall outlet. It works well for overnight charging at home.

Level 2

Level 2 charging requires a charging station or EVSE (electric vehicle supply equipment) that provides 240V AC power. It provides 10-20 miles of range per hour of charging. Level 2 chargers are commonly found in public places like shopping centers, parking garages, and workplaces. Most EVs come with Level 2 charging equipment.

DC Fast Charging

DC fast charging provides the fastest charging speeds by converting AC power to DC power. It bypasses the onboard charger and provides direct DC current to the battery. DC fast chargers can add 60-80 miles of range in 15-30 minutes. However, they require special equipment and are not suitable for home charging due to high electrical load. DC fast chargers are typically found along heavy traffic corridors and highways.

Charging Speeds

There are different charging speeds available for electric vehicle chargers, which allow vehicles to charge their batteries more quickly. The charging speed is determined by the power level of the charger. Higher power levels deliver more electricity to the vehicle’s battery in a shorter amount of time.

Level 1 chargers have power levels of 1.4-1.9 kW and provide 2-5 miles of range per hour of charging. These are the slowest chargers and are best suited for overnight charging. Level 2 chargers have power levels of 3.3-19.2 kW, delivering 10-60 miles of range per hour of charging. These are the most common public and residential chargers. DC fast chargers have power levels over 19.2 kW, with some as high as 350 kW. They can provide 60-300 miles of range in just 10-30 minutes of charging time.

The actual charging speed depends on both the charger’s power level and the maximum charging rate of the electric vehicle. Even on a high-powered DC fast charger, an electric vehicle with a lower maximum charging rate will charge slower than a vehicle that can utilize the full power of the charger. Knowing the charging capabilities of both the charger and electric vehicle is important when considering charging speeds.

Charging Connectors

There are several types of charging connectors used by EV chargers in the US:

J1772

J1772 is the standard connector for Level 1 and Level 2 AC charging in North America. It delivers up to 19.2 kW of power for Level 2 charging. J1772 connectors are used by all major EV manufacturers except Tesla.

CCS (Combined Charging System)

The CCS connector supports both AC charging and DC fast charging. For AC charging it is backward compatible with the J1772 connector. CCS connectors can deliver up to 900V DC at 500A for very rapid charging. CCS is commonly used by automakers like Audi, BMW, Volkswagen, Ford and General Motors vehicles.

CHAdeMO

CHAdeMO is a DC fast charging standard developed primarily for the Asian market. It allows for charging up to 400V DC at 125A. While not as fast as the latest CCS DC charging, CHAdeMO is still in widespread use. It is found in vehicles like the Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV.

Tesla Connector

Tesla uses a proprietary connector for charging their vehicles. For Level 1 and 2 charging, Tesla vehicles come with an adapter to use a J1772 connector. Tesla’s Supercharger network uses a custom DC fast charge connector that only works with Tesla vehicles. It allows for charging rates up to 250 kW.

Networked vs. Standalone Chargers

Electric vehicle (EV) chargers can be either networked or standalone. Networked chargers are connected to software and back-end management systems. This allows real-time monitoring, access control, and payment processing. Standalone chargers operate independently without any connectivity.

Networked chargers offer several key benefits:

  • Remote management – Networked chargers can be managed remotely through software dashboards. This allows operators to view charger status, usage, faults, etc. without needing to be physically present.
  • Load balancing – By connecting multiple chargers, the overall electrical load can be balanced and managed dynamically based on real-time demand. This prevents circuit overloads.
  • Access control – Networked chargers allow authorized user access through RFID cards, mobile apps, etc. Usage can be restricted and billing automated.
  • Payment processing – Online payment processing can be integrated for user convenience and revenue generation. This includes credit cards, account billing, and mobile wallets.
  • Power sharing – Networked chargers can share power delivery dynamically between ports through smart power management algorithms.
  • Analytics – Detailed analytics on usage patterns, dwell time, reliability, etc. can be extracted to optimize operations.
  • Remote diagnostics – Technical issues can be identified remotely through system alerts. Many problems can be fixed with remote software updates.
  • Driver services – Network connectivity allows additional services like reservations, notifications, and integration with mapping apps.

Overall, while standalone chargers have simpler installation, networked chargers provide more flexibility, visibility, and functionality for public and commercial charging deployments. The connectivity and back-end management are critical for scaling EV infrastructure.

Public vs. Private Charging

Public charging stations are located in public areas like parking garages, shopping centers, and rest stops. They allow EV drivers to charge on the go and are essential for longer trips. The number of public stations is rapidly increasing thanks to government incentives and a push by automakers.

Private charging happens at home or work. Home charging allows EV owners to conveniently charge overnight and start each day with a full battery. Workplace charging is increasingly being offered as a job perk, especially by tech companies and sustainability-focused businesses.

The costs differ substantially between public and private charging. Using a public fast charger can cost 25-50 cents per kWh, while home charging is 10-15 cents per kWh depending on electricity rates. Workplace charging may be offered free as an employee benefit or for a small fee.

Government incentives like tax credits can reduce the upfront costs of installing a home charger by hundreds of dollars. There are also often utility company rebates. However, those with street parking or apartments may not have a straightforward option for private charging access. Overall, a mix of public and private charging is needed to enable convenient EV adoption.

Smart Charging

Electric vehicle chargers are becoming smarter, with the ability to optimize charging through demand response and load balancing. This allows EV chargers to interact with the electric grid in real-time to best manage the load and avoid straining the grid during peak demand.

Demand response capabilities allow the charger to receive signals from the utility company to temporarily reduce charging speed or delay charging during grid stress events. The charger can then automatically adjust its charging rate or schedule to flatten peak demand. This benefits the grid by reducing strain during high-use periods.

Load balancing allows multiple chargers to coordinate and distribute the electrical load across them. Rather than having all chargers draw maximum power simultaneously, the chargers communicate to balance the load and avoid overloading a circuit. This ensures more efficient overall energy use during charging sessions.

Smart chargers create a bidirectional relationship between EVs and the grid. They not only draw power for charging vehicles, but can also sense grid conditions and optimize their charging accordingly. As EV adoption increases, smart charging will be critical for integrating electric vehicles without destabilizing local distribution grids.

Future Outlook

The future of EV charging looks bright as technology continues to improve. Two key areas of advancement to watch are charge rates and vehicle-grid integration.

Improved Charge Rates

As battery technology evolves, we can expect to see faster charge rates that minimize charging times. Already, some cutting-edge chargers can add 200+ miles of range in 15 minutes. However, this requires compatible high-power EV batteries and chargers.

Mainstream fast charging is likely to accelerate, with 150+ kW chargers becoming more common. This would allow an EV to charge at speeds comparable to filling up a gas tank. Faster home and workplace chargers are also on the horizon.

Vehicle-Grid Integration

Future EVs won’t just be powered by the grid – they may also support it. Through VGI (vehicle-to-grid integration), EV batteries can store and discharge electricity back to the grid when needed.

This can help balance supply and demand, while allowing EV owners to earn money for supporting the grid. VGI also enables using EVs as backup power sources.

Smart charging systems will help optimize when and how vehicles charge and discharge based on grid needs and electricity rates. Unlocking the huge distributed battery capacity of EVs will be a game-changer for energy management.

Key Takeaways

The electric vehicle (EV) charging industry in the United States is rapidly growing and innovating. Major manufacturers like ChargePoint, EVgo, and Tesla are installing chargers across the country to meet demand. There are several types of chargers, with varying charging speeds and connectors, to accommodate different needs. Chargers can be networked or standalone, public or private. Smart charging and vehicle-to-grid integration is an emerging trend.

Looking ahead, we can expect continued growth in public charging infrastructure as EV adoption rises. Charging speeds will increase to reduce charge times. More networked solutions will enable easier payment and charger locator services. Bidirectional charging may allow EVs to provide power back to the grid. Overall, exciting developments in EV charging will support the mainstream transition to electric transportation in the US.

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