Cities and municipalities around the world are planning a new class of street furniture. They are looking at the issues of permitting, installation and maintenance of EVSE’s (Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment).
Much has been written already about the building & electric codes that must be followed for installations.
However there are open questions regarding what maintenance is required for the public Charging stations. In the US we’re seeing requirements for regular preventative maintenance each month or quarter.
The main goals are to ensure that the EV Charging stations are 100% safe and provide reliable operation to the public. This is new high voltage technology being installed in varied and sometimes extreme environments. There are up to seventy new vendors of Charging Stations. For all these reasons it’s wise to be extra careful.
If a problem or technical issue does occur, there must be clear support and maintenance processes in place to react in a timely manner to resolve the issue. The main goal for the EV Charging network operator is to take the support burden and responsibility away from the client location, whether it’s city owned parking or a commercial property.
Many of the new public EVSE products coming to market have integrated communications in the form of wireless modems (GPRS etc). The primary purposes of these communications are to enable centralized payment, authentication and access controls from the Charging station back to a central network management datacenter. The secondary benefit of these communications links is that the network can monitor each Charging station’s status and health. This is known as remote asset management in networking.
From a support perspective, the technical issues may arrive through multiple channels:
- Fault detected through remote management system
- Call , Email or Text from Driver/User
- Call, Email or Text from property owner
- Preventative maintenance inspection & test.
The remote management system will alert the operator to some issues, but to get complete coverage, regular local inspection and tests are required.
If a call out to the EV Charging Station location is required, the Electrician should be equipped with portable equipment that can test the safety and functionality of the EVSE. A test report should be saved to prove that the equipment is operational.
In my next blog I’ll discuss the recommended testing & reporting for Electricians who are maintaining the EVSE’s.