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Published on August 2nd, 2020 | by Kyle Field

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The Atom Switch Enables Intelligent EV Charging Without The EVSE

August 2nd, 2020 by  


Atom Power’s solid state Atom Switches offer the functionality of a circuit breaker on the surface, but their real potential stretches far beyond the breaker panel. One exciting application of the Atom Switch is to replace the electric vehicle service equipment, commonly called an electric vehicle charger.

An electric vehicle charger is essentially just an apparatus that enables the connection of an electric vehicle to a home electrical circuit with intelligent starting and stopping built in. The Atom Switch has all that functionality and more, making it an ideal replacement for a home or public EV charger.

At their current price tag of $2,400, don’t expect masses of humans to rush out to buy one as a replacement for a $500 EVSE, but the possibilities get more interesting when we look at large scale deployments of public EV chargers.

Atom Power wrote up a full use case proposal for the application that looks at not just EV charging, but enabling high density EV charging installations with its technology. It’s nothing earth shattering, but it does have the potential to be a game changer for the cost of hardware and installation of increasingly larger banks of EV chargers.

Atom Power's Atom Switch-backed system

Atom Power’s Atom Switch-backed system enables facilities to use excess power capacity to dynamically charge large banks of electric vehicles. Image courtesy: Atom Power

Because the Atom Switch enables the monitoring and dynamic management of power flowing through them, they can be used to leverage the unused electrical capacity of a building or facility to charge electric vehicles. Think about it like demand response, where an EV charger would throttle its charging rate up or down based on a signal from the utility, but behind the meter.

If a building had a 250kW maximum draw from the utility, Atom Switches could be configured to utilize any excess power for EV charging. At 12am, the building might only have a total draw of 15kW, leaving a full 235kW capacity for EV charging. That could be split among however many EVs were charging at the time. Fast forward to 10am when employees are at peak performance, power consumption from the building might spike up to 200kW, leaving just 50kW for all connected vehicles to share. It’s a simple example, but highlights the potential of a smart circuit breaker to serve as an EV charger with extensible load sharing management baked in.

Atom Power's Atom Switch

Image courtesy: Atom Power

Applications like this, where grid infrastructure to facilities might not be sufficient to provide power to 10 EV chargers locked in at 6.6 kW each. If those 10 chargers are swapped out for an Atom Switch-backed EV charging system, the system would enable dynamic charging to happen at the maximum speed possible based on the infrastructure and consumption of the facility, in realtime.

The flexible nature of the Atom Switch and the ability to tune them over time with the free AtomOS software means facility managers have the ability to adapt to new developments over time. Atom Power is already leaning into future tech with a proposal for a full vehicle-to-grid system that would enable the building to tap into the energy stored in compatible, connected electric vehicle batteries. They haven’t tested this functionality yet, but it is definitely great to have the future-proof capability baked in from day one.

Vehicle-to-grid proposal. Image courtesy: Atom Power

 
 


 


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About the Author

I'm a tech geek passionately in search of actionable ways to reduce the negative impact my life has on the planet, save money and reduce stress. Live intentionally, make conscious decisions, love more, act responsibly, play. The more you know, the less you need. As an activist investor, Kyle owns long term holdings in BYD, SolarEdge, and Tesla.



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