Charging electric cars is very simple indeed these days. Even simpler than charging ordinary battery–powered electronic devices, in actual fact. Customers are now enjoying the fruits of the lengthy standardisation work done by the e-mobility world, which has always favoured solutions that can be widely shared and open communications protocols. There are now worldwide standard connections for both direct and alternating current too. That is no mean feat, given that when we travel in everyday life, we have to deal with different plugs, cables and adapters for our cell phones.
Naturally enough, the charging infrastructure exists on the market because the cars exist: the technology adopted by the car makers also drives our investment, in part at least. This is why companies of the likes of Enel X and electric vehicle manufacturers work very closely together from the design phase onwards.
Power availability at charging stations must match the power of the cars. Grid capacity is not an obstacle, however. Planning can size it and adapt it to demand. Until just two years ago, 150 kW columns were the state of the art when it came to rapid and ultra-rapid charging. Over the next few years, however, 350 kW out-of-town stations will be the norm (Enel X is already testing them). They’ll offer even faster charging, a far longer range and a user experience very similar to that of a conventionally-engined car. Charging times and range are the two factors deciding the success of the new-generation vehicles: battery innovation is what will make the difference.