As electric vehicles (EVs) become mainstream, more and more are being bought by people living in apartments and other dwellings that are not designed for personal charging stations, as well as by people who need to charge not just at home, but also while at work, when out shopping, or otherwise away from a charging point. But while single outlet charging stations continue to be installed, they are no longer enough to meet the demand and requirements of EV drivers, which means the way we charge our cars is evolving. ChargeNode is at the forefront of this development, building large scale EV charging systems that serve hundreds or even thousands of EV customers and installing them in places like office parks, airports, shopping malls, municipal parking garages, and anywhere else where there is a mix of cars coming and going at different times.
The idea for ChargeNode came to CEO & Founder Kristian Sandahl after he bought his first rechargeable car in 2013. While individual charging outlets were the norm at the time, he could already see that EVs were going to eventually take over fossil fuel car sales, which would mean more and more charging stations would be needed. But with individual charging stations, it’s pretty much a first come, first serve situation – and the person who comes late might not be able to charge at all. This is where having large scale installations with energy optimization would be a game changer.
“I realized that my first EV had a really small battery, and it took just 2-3 hours to charge it,” explains Kristian Sandahl. “At that time, though, there were very few charging stations around, so I saw that in a perfect world you could be charging any number of cars at the same time, such as while people were at work or at the mall. It is a more effective use of resources because we can see when people are at work and how long they will be there and optimize charging based on that so that everyone gets the charge they need.”
In order to do this and connect each car, ChargeNode needs information, such as how much the customer wants to charge and how long the car will be parked. This allows them to allocate energy across the charging system in order to meet the customers’ needs.