AC or DC? Which EV charging should you choose and does it differ from country to country?

At Ensto we work daily with businesses and individuals who are adopting EV charging. One question we get very often is should we install AC or DC? Well, before we explain why let’s explain what they are in relation to electric vehicles

  • AC – Alternating Current: The charging station capable of up to 22kW supplies current to the on-board vehicle charger.
  • DC – Direct Current: The charging station supplies current directly (up to 150kW) to the vehicle battery. Imagine a glass of water being filled on full blast gets to 80% then spills over. DC is similar but once at 80% that final 20% takes longer to fill

Currently AC charging stations are the dominant charging type used by plug-in vehicles. It is expected that this position will be retained long term, the reason being that AC charging is cost effective and doesn’t require large upgrades to the electricity grid. In fact with the development of Advanced Dynamic Load Management the need for upgrades can be reduced even further!

AC charging is believed to be anywhere between 80-90% of total EV charging by 2020 whereas DC due to power requirements, practicality and cost will be found on the outskirts of major town and city infrastructure rather than urban environments.


At Ensto we see two (no, three) distinct models forming 

1. Opportunistic Model: AC charging, the convenient way to charge, Whether you stop at work, when parking the car, or going shopping, Plug in and top upwhen you stop, meaning you never run the risk of running out completely.

2. Logistics Model: DC Charging on major arterial routes such as motorways etc. Stop at a Service Stations and charge up. You may have business or are staying near these routes in a Hotel outside major cities, or perhaps going shopping at an out of town retail park that isn’t near the local networks or towns & cities.

For those clever people out there yes there is a third model! But make sure you take in to account your needs!

3. The Hybrid Model: AC and DC in differing ratios are based on proximity to major cities or desire to attract people travelling from further afield. With this in mind though, experience has taught us that due to its nature the DC offering is around 10-15% of the total EV charging infrastructure offered.


Ok James, we get that, but what about my country?

Well, every blog written in Ensto utilises our experience from every country we work in Norway, Germany, Italy, UK, India and beyond!!

Right, so we get the premise and the model but how do we decide without getting caught out on cost? It doesn’t need to be that complicated when you take in the following 5 factors:

1. Current power available for EV charging stations – Do you have enough? Are you restricted? Do you have or need the capability to manage or even prioritise the load?

2. Proximity to the supply – the closer the better! Make sure this is evaluated in initial feasibility by suppliers

3. Customer type and target audience –  Profile the customer is it for leisure, retail or fleet etc. what is the distance travelled by customers?

4. Future scalability – It is more cost effective to lay the foundations for future EV stations while the ground is open. Identify if  the system cope with additional loads and updates in car and software technology?

5. Software & Hardware type – do you need a wall box, pole mounted product, floor mounted? Do you have space or are you restricted? Is advertising revenue important to you? Do you need billing with seamless customer journey?


So there you have it from Norway to India! No matter the challenge the answers exist, always think SMART Business and you will keep your operational costs low and whether it is you, your staff or customers the experience will be a pleasure! 

If you would like to know more as you enter in to an Electrified Future beyond just the cars identify your local Ensto Partners here! Your local Ensto Partner will effortlessly manage any concerns and make your switch to Electric Vehicles and easy one.


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