With the rapid increase in the demand for electric vehicles (EV), the need for robust EV charging infrastructure is also rapidly emerging across the country. However, the advent of EVs brings a new set of inherent and unique charging safety problems. The onboard power batteries can be charged by conduction through charging piles, charging guns and cables. Safety has emerged as a key concern for EV users in recent times. While several issues have been identified around the battery quality and the battery management systems in the EV models, another area that is important managing safety is linked to EV charging.
The right EV charging solutions will ensure that EV batteries are able to retain a long life and are not impacted by sudden disruptions during the charging cycle. Plug-in charging for EVs have exited for over a decade now and have proven themselves to a safe and reliable charging option for vehicles. To understand the role of plug-in charging, let us understand the safety concerns and how the model assures safe EV usage and enhanced battery life.
Safety concerns with EV charging infrastructure
The safety of EVs come first and foremost from the quality of the batteries and their battery management system. These need to be tested and adapted to function in the local environment keeping in mind various environmental factors and road conditions. A poor thermal management system can cause a ‘thermal runaway incident’ which could lead to fire incidents.
While most of the safety concerns of EV charging can be traced back to poor cell quality, overcharging is one of the major causes of short circuits that result in EV fires. Overcharging the Lithium Ion batteries can result in the formation of dendrites, which result in short circuits by connecting the cathode and anode. In addition, continued overcharging over a prolonged period can lead to degradation of batteries which could also lead to incidents.
How does the Plug-in Charging ensure EV safety?
Overcharging can be avoided by using smart plug-in chargers to charge EVs. A good smart charger would be able to regulate the EV charging cycle and ensure that power surges and overcharging are preventable. Other attributes could include a built in temperature measurement system sensor and smart charging features which regulate the amount of charging by communicating with the EV battery to minimize overheating. Other features such as regulating power load in public charging locations OR connecting into the battery and cutting off charging in case of overheating of the battery are attributes that can help keep the battery safe.
Safety guidelines: What customers can do?
Customers can also pursue several good practices that can help maintain their battery health and maintain safety when charging. Some of these include:
Avoid continuous charging even after the EV battery is fully charged to reduce risk of overheating
Allow the EV to rest and cool down before plugging in the charger
Ensure that charging is being done at a well-regulated or known charging point
Use fast charging as an occasional convenience as that allows battery quality to be maintained and batteries will last longer
EV charging infrastructure will scale up over time given the government policies and demand for EVs. However, following best practices in terms of battery health and charging management can ensure a safe charging experience that avoids any risk to property or life. While multiple charging approaches should all work with appropriate safeguards, smart plug-in charging has proven its effectiveness and reliability on safety, to ensure a hassle-free and secure EV charging experience.