Are we prepared to see future docuseries of abandoned gas stations the way we do for abandoned malls and decayed big box stores? Rusted gas pumps that haven’t been touched in years, dirt covered tanker trucks sitting in empty lots, and convenient stores with boarded windows and empty shelves. Will traditional gas stations become ghost towns? With the way electric vehicles (EVs) are changing the game and taking charge—we just might see it happen.
Electric vehicles are taking over the automotive industry at full speed, and as they continue to rise in popularity among everyday drivers, the charging stations that power them are also gaining traction. Stations used to be few and far between, but now you can find them in shopping centers, parking garages, housing communities, and even on the most random street corners. With the growing number of EVs on the road set to increase significantly in the coming years, it’s likely that EV charging stations will become even more abundant and may replace traditional gas stations altogether.
The long list of benefits of owning an EV goes beyond reducing your carbon footprint and working towards a more sustainable environment. There is less maintenance to worry about, lower cost per mile, and even reduced toll fees. And because these benefits are appealing to drivers of all ages and economic backgrounds, the demand for EVs continues to grow, especially now that there are more affordable and accessible EVs on the market.
Now that we are seeing more EVs on the road, the need for charging stations is rapidly increasing. To meet this demand, governments and private companies are investing in the construction of EV charging stations. Just in the United States, the Biden Administration has announced plans to invest $15 billion dollars into EV infrastructure, that will allow close to 500,000 new charging stations to be built across the country.
Building these stations won’t be complicated at all since EV charging stations have the advantage of being built in a wide range of locations. As mentioned earlier, you can find a charging station in an apartment complex, strip mall, movie theater parking lot, or next door to your local coffee shop. Unlike gas stations, EV charging stations can be installed in existing parking lots and other public spaces, compared to having to bulldoze plots of land and build an infrastructure.
The ease of setting up charging stations means they can be placed around cities in more convenient locations and will make it easier for drivers to charge their vehicle while continuing with daily life.
And although public charging stations are incredible and widely accessible, we cannot forget the convenience of an at-home charging station. Imagine this: it’s been a long day of driving and instead of having to search around town for a charging station, you can go straight home, plug in your car in the garage, and climb right into bed. No waiting in line or sitting around for a long charge.
Public charging stations can often have limited charging speed, causing drivers to potentially wait a little longer for a full charge, but at-home stations can achieve a much faster charge because they are typically designed to be more efficient and powerful. And don’t let the misconception of skyrocketing electric bills steer you away from this convenience. There are electric utility companies that offer special rates for EV owners, making it affordable to charge at home.
Whether it’s at-home or public charging stations, there are important electronic components that go into these stations to protect drivers against potential safety hazards. ESD protection devices are designed to protect electronic components from electrostatic discharge events that happen when there is a sudden discharge of electricity in the environment.
As you can imagine, EV charging stations have sensitive electronic components such as charging controllers and power supplies that are susceptible to damage from ESD incidents. ESD protection devices “absorb” energy from the incident and prevent it from damaging the more expensive and critical components in the charging station.
Much like ESD, surge protection is designed to protect charging stations from overvoltage and other electrical accidents in the power grid. It protects the electronic components in the station by preventing excess voltage from traveling through the charging cable and into the electric vehicle. Thermal fuse varistors are a type of surge protection device designed to detect when the metal oxide varistor (MOV) becomes too hot due to excess voltage. When the MOV is too hot, the thermal fuse disconnects the MOV from the charging circuit which prevents the MOV from overheating and causing severe damage to the vehicle and station.
Area51 Electronics distributes parts from a large network of energy, automotive and transportation electronic component manufacturers, who specialize in providing versatile products for EV charging such as ESD protection devices, thermal fuse, and metal oxide varistors, fuses, charging plugs and sockets, fans, discharge tubes, and many more essential components.
As EVs evolve to become safer and smarter, Area51 Electronics is at the forefront of fueling the demand for the newest technology and innovative solutions in the energy, automotive and transportation industry. We supply crucial electronic and electromechanical components that power everything from advanced connectivity features to intuitive intelligent systems.