Wi-Fi capability extends EV charging stations

August 31, 2016 // By Graham Prophet
Texas Instruments has issued a Wi-Fi enabled EV charger reference design intended to create unique remote monitoring and charge control opportunities for home and public charging stations. The design is expandable to support other applications such as payment, authentication and home automation design innovation.

With Wi-Fi connectivity in an electric vehicle (EV) charging station EV owners will be able to remotely monitor and control the charging of their vehicles with Wi-Fi, presenting dozens of potential use cases from home automation to checking the availability of nearby public charge points. The reference design uses TI’s SimpleLink Wi-Fi wireless microcontroller (MCU) technology that allows design engineers to create stations that intelligently charge at non-peak times or detect and communicate when a charging station is available.


One barrier to widespread EV charging station adoption is the amount of time it takes to charge a vehicle. The reference design supports Level 1 charging, which is compatible with household outlets, as well as Level 2 EV charging, which helps vehicle owners tap into higher current (15A to 30A and higher) connections available in commercial office buildings. Level 2 chargers typically take up to eight hours to fully charge the vehicle if the owner wants to plug it in while at work.


Later in 2016 TI plans to introduce a Level 3 EV direct-current charger reference design scalable to 600V and 400A that cuts charging time down to only 20-30 minutes – enough time to stop at a Wi-Fi enabled restaurant that has a charging station and charge the vehicle during lunch. TI has a blog post on the topic, Electric vehicle charging stations are getting smarter and charging faster.


In its present implementation, the EV Charging Station with Wi-Fi reference design is capable of power delivery up to 30 A, but expandable by using larger relays.


The design can be downloaded from; www.ti.com/tool/tidc-evse-wifi


TI also offers; information on its electric vehicle service equipment (EVSE) charging solutions for Level 1 and 2 and new designs for Level 3 charging. And, a post on; Why you can't overlook Wi-Fi: It's the connectivity that's here to stay


next page; TI infographic on the charging station technology.