Electric vehicle (EV) charging presents an opportunity for many entities to enter the market and capitalise on the skyrocketing growth of the sector.
Offering EV charging to customers, employees or residents is becoming a norm as the demand from EV drivers for convenient charging possibilities grows.
As EVs are becoming mainstream, those offering EV charging are developing new-found needs and seeking to make operating an EV charging business as smooth as possible.
At Virta, we keep developing our product to meet the evolving needs of the sector and our existing and potential customers.
This blog post will look at Virta’s new energy products, Virta Preconnect and Virta Priority. What they are all about, who they serve and why they are important.
Virta Preconnect: Preconnect EVs to charge during long-term parking
There are many examples of long-term parking sites. Be it parking garages in residential areas, where cars are usually parked overnight or airports, where parking can occur even for days at a time.
Often, the charging capacity of such parking sites doesn’t correspond with the charging demand. Sure, expanding the electrical infrastructure to raise the capacity is an option. But infrastructure updates can be quite a hefty and costly process.
Let’s imagine a scenario. An EV driver arrives at a residential parking garage and plans to leave their car parked and charging for the whole night. But there is not enough charging capacity at that moment.
With Virta Preconnect, the EV driver can plug their car in, start the charging transaction and leave for the night. Virta Preconnect makes sure their vehicle starts the charging whenever electricity becomes available again. When the driver returns in the morning, they just unplug their charged car and leave for the day.
How does it work?
You’ll need a smart energy management solution to ensure efficient charging and protect your electrical infrastructure, especially if we’re talking about large charging sites with multiple charging stations.
With Load Management solutions like Dynamic Load Management (DLM) or Adaptive Load Management (ALM), you can achieve a peace of mind regarding your infrastructure. However, on some sites, the electrical infrastructure calls for a more sophisticated solution to ensure efficient and carefree charging.
Let’s look at a practical example.
Imagine a site with four chargers and the total available power being 20 A. Distributing the available power equally to all four chargers with a basic Load Management solution would mean each car would get 5 A of power.
However, the EV always has the final say if to start charging or not. And with the charging current less than 6 A, most EVs won’t.
This is where Virta Preconnect proves beneficial. One of the charging sessions will be paused, and the available power of 20 A will now be distributed only between the other three cars. That way, those cars get enough power to charge, and once one of them is done charging, the fourth plugged-in vehicle will start its charging event.
In simple terms, this solution rotates charging turns while ‘pausing’ some of the charging sessions when there’s insufficient charging power available. Virta Preconnect makes sure all plugged-in vehicles get to charge while not putting too much pressure on the site’s electrical infrastructure.
Virta Preconnect works on a ‘first come, first serve’ basis or the turns can also be allocated based on preassigned priority. The priority user will always receive the maximum possible power, like you see below. But we’ll get into that later.
How do you benefit?
Improve user experience
EV drivers value convenience. If we want to make electric vehicles mainstream, we need to ensure that EV charging is as simple and convenient as refuelling a petrol or diesel car at a gas station.
Virta Preconnect ensures that your EV drivers simply arrive, plug in, start the charging transaction, and then return to a charged vehicle. The charging session will start automatically whenever there is enough power to do so, but that is not the EV driver’s concern.
Protect electrical infrastructure
One thing’s for sure, you want to offer EV charging to all your customers, but you don’t want to blow any fuses while you’re at it. Virta Preconnect ensures your EV driver customers charge with the maximum possible power while your electrical infrastructure stays protected.
Install more chargers
The electricity connection of your site only allows you to install a certain number of chargers. Thanks to the Virta Preconnect’s ability to rotate charging turns, you can install more chargers and still have them ready to charge.
Manage high charging demand
At many long-term parking sites, there are certain times when the demand is higher than others. An afternoon when people arrive from work for residential parking garages or a holiday season for an airport.
Virta Preconnect optimises the charging and makes it as efficient as possible during those high-demand hours.
Now, you’ve ensured that all plugged-in cars get to charge while there’s no damage to your electrical infrastructure.
But what if you have different needs for different electric vehicles or EV drivers? Here's where Virta Priority comes into picture. Let's get into it.
Virta Priority: Guaranteed energy for your priority vehicles
This energy service enables prioritisation of charging events. Priority vehicles are always charged first and with the maximum available power, no matter what charging station they are plugged into.
Let's take an example of a logistics company that needs to transport goods on a schedule. Some of the vehicles from their EV fleet need to charge up as fast as possible to complete a morning delivery, while other vehicles can wait in line for a while longer.
With Virta Priority, you’ll always have your priority vehicles ready to go whenever you need them.
How does it work?
If a priority vehicle arrives at a charging site and starts a charging session, Virta Priority immediately starts charging the vehicle with the maximum available power. The rest of the plugged-in cars are subjected to the remaining power available.
How do you benefit?
Guarantee energy for your priority vehicles
Your priority vehicles not only secure the first spot in the queue and start charging immediately but also get more charging power than the rest of the plugged-in vehicles.
The increased charging capacity for priority vehicles means increased availability of those vehicles, be it an emergency vehicle or a delivery van completing important deliveries.
Manage priority charging virtually
Virta Priority is a cloud-based solution meaning you can manage the charging of all your priority vehicles virtually. Furthermore, there is no need to make any changes to the physical facilities as any Virta charger can provide priority charging. Convenient, right?
Energy management with Virta
Energy management solutions are a crucial part of any EV charging business. At Virta, we’re well aware of that and focus our efforts on developing new solutions to ensure the efficiency and safety of EV charging for all our customers.