How home charging works in domestic architecture

Load management - importance and benefits

  • Knowledge, Charging, Technical, Business
There are still more ICE vehicles than electric cars. But what if the situation changes over the next few years? Are the power inputs, particularly of large residential buildings, de-signed to have the majority of tenants “fill their tanks” at home? The answer is yes – if the load management is sophisticated enough.
Three e-cars are charing at the same time

How much charging power is needed when there are many e-cars?

A electric vehicle generally charges at a 3-phase wallbox with up to 11 kW, if the driver hasn’t reduced the charge limit manually. So, if one e-car requires 11 kW charging power, two require 22 kW, and 50 require 550 kW. Add to these consumers in the garage or carport the energy consumption in the apartments. Which is about the same as that of the e-cars. This would amount to quite a lot, and electric vehicles would more or less double the re-quired charging power in existing real estate. But as the subjunctive mood suggests, the calculated figures are only theoretical.

Diversity factor

Things look different in practice. All cars will never be charging at the same time at full ca-pacity, much like all fifty apartments will never have the stove, oven, washing machine, etc. running at the same time. That’s why the so-called diversity factor is used to calculate the real sufficient dimensioning. It is based on the empirical values of the network operators in combination with a security margin, so that statistical peaks are definitely covered. This is a practical solution that is applied in all areas of life in order to use resources efficiently: A town’s water supply is designed in such a way that many people can run a bath at the same time, but never all of them. Similarly, a hospital has enough beds for a fraction of the popu-lation, and not every employee in a company has her or his own printer.

Simultaneity factor for multiple charging points in private space

In the example of fifty e-cars with 11 kW charging power, the diversity factor is about .28. The total of 550 kW thus results in just under 155 kW of required input.

Load management – what does it mean?

The charging infrastructure of a building with many wallboxes certainly requires supervision, because as few as twenty e-cars simultaneously charging at maximum speed would cause the power requirements to skyrocket. To avoid overloading the building’s electrical system, a control unit decides how much power can be provided for charging. This distribution be-tween consumers in the building and vehicles is called load management.

Static and dynamic load management

We can distinguish between static and dynamic load management. In static load manage-ment, the charging stations are simply assigned a fixed upper limit. They won’t get more, no matter how many cars are plugged in. The maximum power is equally distributed among all plugged in cars. This is to make sure that the domestic connection is never overloaded, but never maxed out either.

In dynamic load management, the control unit uses a special energy meter to measure how much energy is consumed in the apartments and reacts in real time. This way, the freely disposable power can be allotted to the plugged-in vehicles.

Smart load management according to usage time

Smart load management lets you further reduce the dimensioning of the power input in newer buildings and make better use of the existing power input. This smart design makes use of the residents’ typical daily schedule: If stoves, ovens, dishwashers, or blow-dryers are increasingly used in the early evening, less power is available to charge e-cars. During this time, the charge rates at the wallboxes are automatically reduced without hampering the usability of the e-cars – after all, most cars have just been parked at that time. As power consumption wanes overnight, the e-cars are able to use more power and are sufficiently charged in the morning. A direct result is a further reduction of the power peaks.

Comparison of the charging load with no load management to smart load management

To the left, the power consumption of a residential building with 50 BEVs during the day without load management. To the right, the same with smart time-of-use load management. The required power input can thus be reduced to about a third.

It works: The urcharge project proves it

KEBA Energy Automation has launched the project Urcharge (Urban + Charge) in cooperation with the energy provider Linz AG, the housing association Neue Heimat, the Vienna Univer-sity of Technology, and the environmental management agency ETA. In a six-month experi-ment, we proved that it is possible to keep fifty e-cars and one hundred charging stations in a large residential building in constant use without increasing the power input. The most important findings of Urcharge were that power could be supplied to the house’s electrical system at all times and that the tenants did not notice the load management’s interventions when using their e-cars.


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