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What is the impact of voltage fluctuations on ev charger performance?

Electric vehicles (EVs) are growing in popularity every year and the transition from petrol and diesel vehicles is well underway and unstoppable. People are now very active in pursuing sustainable practices, but it has to be convenient and there are only so many lifestyle changes we are happy to accommodate. EV driving is one area where people are anxious about making the switch, even though the demand for EVs is very obvious.

The EV charging network is also growing all the time, and the infrastructure now exists to provide a seamless user experience and enable access to reliable public and private EV chargers. However, there are performance issues which can impact on this, and the most common of these is voltage fluctuations.


How are voltage fluctuations caused?

Voltage fluctuations are the irregular variations in electrical voltage levels provided by the national grid. These can be caused by various different issues, such as grid instability, fluctuations in power demand and the presence of large industrial loads.


How do voltage fluctuations affect EV charger performance?

The presence of voltage fluctuations can disrupt the charging process when using an EV charger. They can result in the charging efficiency being affected, ie. you are not receiving the amount of charge you should be for the amount of time your EV is connected to the charger. So voltage fluctuations can lead to inconsistent charge rates, meaning it can take longer to charge your vehicle.

If you experience continued voltage fluctuations over a period of time, this can subject the components in the EV charger to abnormal stresses and lead to premature wear and tear. This impacts on the longevity and lifespan of the EV charger. It can also lead to more frequent breakdowns, costly repairs and more frequent servicing and maintenance.

Another major concern relating to voltage fluctuations is that it can affect the user experience. The EV industry is still at a delicate stage in terms of convincing people that they can enjoy a seamless driving experience by using EV chargers rather than refuelling at a service station. Unreliable performance of an EV charger therefore leads to inconvenience, range anxiety and frustration. Overall this results in a negative perception of EVs generally.


What can be done to mitigate against voltage fluctuations?

The user has a choice as to whether to install a surge protection device in their EV charger, and it is recommended to do so when installing and commissioning the EV charger. This will safeguard against voltage spikes and prevent damage to the charger and its components. Regular inspection and maintenance will also guard against the damage caused by voltage fluctuations. A technical engineer will be able to see where components are being damaged or exposed to excessive wear and tear because of voltage fluctuations, and can replace these parts to guard against unforeseen breakdowns and inconsistent charge performance.

If you contact Test Instrument Solutions we can advise on all the EVSE (electric vehicle supply equipment) test instruments we supply and what is most suitable for your EV charger set-up. This will include discussing surge protection devices and the equipment needed to carry out regular and thorough servicing and maintenance of your EV chargers. So contact our team today.  

Please note that this section is for information purposes only. Anyone using equipment referred to in this section must be suitably qualified and/or experienced within the respective field. If in doubt before use, please consult a qualified electrician or engineer & thoroughly read all instruction booklets.

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