Published on February 4th, 2018 | by Kyle Field0
Current EVSE Market & Innovation Trends, Part 1
February 4th, 2018 by Kyle Field
We recently published our first report focused solely on electric vehicle charging. It’s a deep dive into residential EV charging stations, public EV charging stations, multi-family building and commercial EV charging stations, EV service equipment innovations, EV charging business models, and electric vehicle adoption trends. Below is one section of the report.
In parallel to the increased adoption of plug-in vehicles, innovation is taking root with EV charging points — aka electric vehicle service equipment (EVSE) — as consumers look for options that best serve their new vehicles. The influx of new plug-in vehicle owners has injected significant capital into a market that is transitioning from serving a niche market of early adopters into serving a mass market with robust products ready for mainstream consumers. The increase in EVSE sales is also driving increased competition in the space that is manifesting itself in several specific trends.
In our recent EV charging report, 53% of survey respondents shared that they installed a Level 2 EV charging station for their plug-in vehicle. Adjusting for respondents who did not own a plug-in vehicle shows that 64% (just under 2/3) of plug-in vehicle owners installed a Level 2 EV charging station.
That percentage is expected to increase as battery electric vehicle range increases and allows more drivers to purchase plug-in vehicles that can support longer commutes. Draining the vehicle of more miles per day will require faster home chargers to refill the battery overnight, even for some drivers utilizing public Level 2 and public DC fast charging stations for extra-long commutes.
Interestingly, 39% of survey respondents shared that they used Level 1 EVSE for overnight charging of their plug-in vehicle. 42% of respondents shared that they did not, with the remaining 19% stating that they did not currently own a plug-in vehicle. In other words, among EV drivers, it was approximately a 50–50 split between those who use overnight Level 1 charging and those who don’t.
EVSE Price Reductions
EVSE built for residential use today is evolving rapidly as consumer demand ramps up. The boost in volume has lured more companies into EVSE and, with the increase in competition, has brought inevitable price drops. The Tesla Wall Charger for instance was originally listed at $1,200 and is now available for purchase for $500.
As retail prices of EVSEs have fallen, so have the government incentives that have helped early plug-in vehicle drivers to adopt the new technology. On average, the actual EVSE is just over half of the installed cost, with the average purchase price of an EV charging station in the $600–700 price range. Installing the EVSE makes up another $500 of the total installed price for an average Level 2 EVSE installed cost of between $1100 and $1200.
Installation costs vary wildly, with some homes already having the infrastructure for plug-in vehicle charging and some requiring significant upgrades. Looking at the current installed base of residential EVSE, 16% of survey respondents shared that they took advantage of government incentives totaling more than $1000 for their EVSE purchase and installation. Another 19.5% received less than $1000 in incentives, with a full 40% responding that they did not receive a financial incentive from the government for the purchase and installation of their EVSE. (25% responded that they were not sure or that the question was not applicable.)
The complexity of installing a Level 2 EV charging station (EVSE) is largely determined by the current state of the in-home electrical system. If service from the local electrical utility is limited, high-demand electrical appliances like electric water heaters or air conditioners are installed, or there simply isn’t sufficient room in the electrical panel for a new circuit breaker, the installation may cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Conversely, if a home has a spare 240-volt electrical outlet for an old electric dryer or air conditioner, the installation could be as simple as mounting the EVSE to the wall and plugging it in.
We asked our survey respondents if their home’s wiring had capacity to install a Level 2 EV charging station, and while the vast majority (83%) said that their home’s wiring was sufficient, another 10% shared that it was not sufficient, indicating the requirement to get an electrician and possibly even the utility involved for EVSE installation.
EVSE as IoT-Enabled Smart Appliances
You may think of EV charging equipment simply as a type of appliance, but EV charging stations are rapidly becoming central intelligent fixtures in the “smart home” of the future. This shift is built on the premise of internet connectivity and empowering the devices with the full power of the Internet of Things (IoT). Internet connectivity opens up possibilities and has brought a windfall of new features to the devices.
EVSE manufacturers see the connected capability of their EVSE as strategic differentiators, with eMotorWerks noting that internet connectivity “allows us to do things like blockchain-shared EVSE, solar optimizations, and demand response participation.” All of these features are cutting edge at present but being looked at by all of the EVSE manufacturers and plug-in vehicle charging network operators we spoke with.
Of our survey respondents already driving plug-in vehicles, 31% noted that the EVSE they currently own is a “smart charger,” with the remaining 69% indicating that the EVSE they owned was not a smart charger.
EV charging equipment charging a plug-in vehicle with a moderate efficiency of 4 miles (6.4 kilometers) per kilowatt-hour and being driven 13,476 miles (21,688 kilometers) per year will consume 9.2 kilowatt-hours per day. Compared to the electricity consumed by the average American home each day (29.6 kilowatt-hours), the incremental electricity used by a plug-in vehicle is a significant 31% increase in electricity usage (Source: US Energy Information Administration). We’ll delve further into what that could mean for the grid in the next part of this series.