Electric cars, the study: from wallboxes to ultra-fast columns, this is how much charging systems cost

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The interest (and the demand) towards electric cars is growing, but doubts about which is the best charging system in case of purchase are also increasing, not only from the point of view of convenience, but also of cost.

In fact, among the many questions that those interested in switching to electric ask themselves, there are several regarding the charging methods: how, where, for how much, how much it costs. And so Arera – the Regulatory Authority for Energy, Networks and the Environment – has decided to make a first reconnaissance on charging systems, analyzing 225 devices with powers from 2 kW to 350 kW, produced by 24 companies.

Arera has tested home wallboxes and street columns, put to the test slow, quick (86% of the devices), fast and ultra-fast charging systems. And the results highlight price variations ranging from 700 euros for devices designed for families to over 80 thousand for ultra-fast recharges used by professional recharging operators, with a unit price for each kW installed ranging from 36 to 580 euros in relation to the charging speed (therefore electric power at stake).

The study, released under the name of “Market and characteristics of recharging devices for electric vehicles”, is part of the activities of the Focus groups on electric mobility set up by Arera at the beginning of 2020, which also contributed to identifying the terms of the experimentation defined by the Authority – starting from 1 July, with subscriptions open from 3 May – to favor domestic recharging at night and on holidays, with free power increase.

Participation requests were sent to several dozen companies, Italian and foreign, with devices installed in Italy or offering interesting products. 24 companies responded, including Enel X and Tesla, making it possible to survey and investigate 225 models.

The differences between the various charging devices

225 devices surveyed in 2020 cover a wide range of charging powers, from a minimum of 2 kW up to a maximum of 350 kW, classified into 4 market segments: slow or “Slow” charging (95 devices), for charging up to 7.4 kW; accelerated or “Quick” (98), for recharges up to 22 kW; fast or “Fast” (20), for recharges up to 50 kW; ultra-fast or “Ultra-fast” (12), for recharges over 50 kW.

The market offer is particularly rich for the Slow and Quick segments (ie up to 22 kW supplied in alternating current) with a total of 193 devices (86% of the total), where 78% of the companies considered operate. The situation is different for devices with higher power, where only 9 companies operate in the Fast segment and in the Ultra-fast 6 segment, half of which offer devices that supply direct current only.

The products analyzed cover a wide range of needs: from those typical of a family or small professional context (often with a single socket and mounted on the wall, commonly referred to as wallboxes) to those most suitable for companies, businesses or public administrations ( columns with two sockets and power not exceeding 50 kW), up to much more bulky products suitable above all for installation along motorways or important extra-urban traffic junctions (Ultra-fast).

Prices of charging devices

Despite the great variety of products, the study made it possible to identify the main cost factors.

For slow / Slow charging devices (up to 7.4 kW), the average cost for the purchase and home installation of a wallbox can be estimated between a minimum of 900 euros and a maximum of 1,500 euros, with an approximate average value of 1,200 euros. .

There are also low-cost solutions that cost only 700 euros, as well as “top of the range” solutions from 1,700 euros and more, but the mid-range is centered around 1,200 euros, with several car manufacturers offering a combined auto-wallbox purchase, with the “free” charging device.

For devices for accelerated / Quick charging (up to 22 kW) the basic products (single socket, with a power of 11 kW and without any authentication mechanism or internet connection) may have prices slightly higher than those of the previous segment, ranging from 700 and 1,300 euros. For a column with 2 charging points, each of 22 kW, the typical prices (real to the public) can instead vary in the range between 2,000 and 4,000 euros (with basic functionality, prices are reduced up to 800-1,000 euros).

The least expensive devices are those that can be used for free top-ups with free access and which, therefore, do not require authentication (physical or electronic) or internet connection to manage payments. The highest price range (between 3,000 and 4,000 euros) corresponds to devices complete with all the features, such as Rfid and internet connections, or with Sim on the device.

For devices for fast / fast charging (up to 50 kW) the typical column costs between 22,000 and 29,000 euros, but there are less performing devices, even if interesting (such as wallboxes with a single socket from 30 kW to 7,500 euros or columns from 24 kW, whose prices can vary between 12,000 euros (single socket) and 19,000 euros.

Ultra-Fast / Ultra-Fast Charging Devices (over 50 kW) are the most expensive. For those between 60 and 150 kW, the prices available concern only 3 of the 6 total devices surveyed and vary between 26,000 and 40,000 euros, increasing with the power supplied.

For devices with power between 150 and 350 kW, the prices available concern 5 of the 8 total devices surveyed and vary between 54,000 and 80,000 euros, increasing with the power supplied.

How much does the standby consumption of the charging devices weigh?

Another element to take into consideration, often relegated to the background, is the consumption in stand-by of the devices, that is, the consumption when you are not using it but it is still active.

Arera has ascertained that about 1 in 3 devices constantly consumes between 20 and 30 W and 80% of devices consume no more than 30 W. Only 1 in 5 devices has negligible consumption (less than 5 W).

If we consider that each W of withdrawal in stand-by corresponds to an annual energy consumption of 8.76 kWh, the installation of 10,000 Slow or Quick recharging devices (with an average consumption value in stand-by of approximately 12 W) today would involve exceeding 1 GWh of annual consumption in stand-by, while as many Fast or Ultra-Fast devices would consume 5.25 GWh / year.

“Consequently – explains Arera – consistently with the scenarios of diffusion of electric vehicles presented in the PNIEC, where a private-public charging network is developed consisting of at least 3 million devices of the Slow or Quick type and about 10,000 of the Fast and Ultra type -Fast, the stand-by consumption could reach, without the advent of new high-efficiency technologies, about 300-350 GWh / year, thus representing by 2030 over 3% of the estimated energy needs to power the 6 millions of vehicles in circulation “.

“The market for charging devices for electric vehicles shows a particularly lively competition in the segments characterized by medium and low charging powers, dominated by alternating current devices, and particularly interesting for the consumer market (single homes or condominiums), for the micro -business (e.g. professional offices, garages), for corporate fleets and for most of the hotel, restaurant and coffee markets and for modern organized distribution – concludes Arera – Precisely these devices will be used to equip the vast majority (well over 90 %) of the recharging points our country will equip itself over the next ten years “.

Different speech for the market segments dedicated to fast and ultra-fast charging points, “where a much smaller number of companies still operate (less than 50% of those present in the previous sectors)”.

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