An electric vehicle charging station, also called EV charging station, electric recharging point, charging point, charge point, ECS (electronic charging station), and EVSE (electric vehicle supply equipment), is an element in an infrastructure that supplies electric energy for the recharging of plug-in electric vehicles—including electric cars, neighborhood electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids.
For charging at home or work, some electric vehicles have converters on board that can plug into a standard electrical outlet or a high-capacity appliance outlet. Others either require or can use a charging station that provides electrical conversion, monitoring, or safety functionality. These stations are also needed when traveling, and many support faster charging at higher voltages and currents than are available from residential EVSEs. Public charging stations are typically on-street facilities provided by electric utility companies or located at retail shopping centers, restaurants and parking places, operated by a range of private companies.
Charging stations provide a range of heavy duty or special connectors that conform to the variety of standards. For common DC rapid charging, multi-standard chargers equipped with two or three of the Combined Charging System (CCS), CHAdeMO, and AC fast charging has become the de facto market standard in many regions.
Battery capacity and the capability of handling faster charging are both increasing, and methods of charging have needed to change and improve. New options have also been introduced (on a small scale, including mobile charging stations and charging via inductive charging mats). The differing needs and solutions of various manufacturers has slowed the emergence of standard charging methods, and in 2015, there is a strong recognition of the need for standardization.
Fast charging, however and whenever it gets built out, is going to be key for the development of a mainstream market for plug-in electric vehicles. The broader conflict between the CHAdeMO and SAE Combo connectors, we see that as a hindrance to the market over the next several years that needs to be worked out.