Plug'n Charge: Designer charging stations housing technology in the tightest space

Overview

Charging points from Plugn Charge GmbH  

The charging points from Plug'n Charge GmbH have a unique and functional design

  • Based in Bad Emstal near Kassel, Germany, Plug'n Charge produces charging points for electric cars and pedelecs.
  • The charging stations are intended to serve as modern “street furniture”, and not only need to satisfy functional requirements, but also those placed on design.
  • The solution is a complete charging technology concept in a confined space as defined by design considerations.
  • The charging points are immediately recognizable, thanks to their unusual shape and consistent design – featuring components and expertise from Phoenix Contact.

Customer profile

Dr. Christian Kahl, Managing Director of Plugn Charge GmbH  

Dr. Christian Kahl, Managing Director of Plug'n Charge GmbH in Bad Emstal, uses charging solutions from Phoenix Contact

Plug'n Charge develops and distributes charging stations – from custom-built solutions to series products. “The connection to billing systems plays an important role here,” explains Managing Director Dr. Christian Kahl. “The sustainability of our products is also very important to us, which is why we use a special type of concrete for the housing material.”

Application

As the company's name suggests, the experts at Plug'n Charge have concentrated on the essential aspects. The result: a distinctive design with the primary functions of plugging and charging. There were numerous stages of evolution along the way. “We started off with a complicated and expensive charging station for civic dignitaries,” recalls Managing Director Dr. Kahl. “In 2011, we scrapped everything and completely redefined the terms charging infrastructure and charging station.”

A lot of attention was given to the visual appearance and aesthetics of the charging station. “The subtlety lies in the simplicity,” explains Dr. Kahl. “The charging station should be immediately recognizable as such at first glance. So we chose the synapse shape and a color that evoked power. The charging station is intended to represent the synapse in the intelligent power grid.” The aim was to realize the Plug'n Charge philosophy, which is also declared in the company's name: simply plug in the charging connector and charge without further impediment.

Solution

Charging station from Plugn Charge GmbH  

The position and height of the charging socket make it easy to enable charging via RFID card or QR code

Drivers of electric vehicles now encounter a modular, user-friendly, and networked designer station made from special ultra-high performance concrete. Since 2016, Plug'n Charge has offered a charging station product range for electric cars and bikes that is ready for series production – from its wall box solution to the electromobility parking lot system.

Comprehensive setup, startup, troubleshooting, and maintenance services complete the package. “With our backend solution, we offer customers data management, online monitoring, and billing, including roaming, as an all-around carefree package,” explains Dr. Kahl.

The charging station is shown as a WLAN access point on the smartphone  

The charging station is also detected as a WLAN access point by smartphones for pedelec charging

The Bad Emstal-based company has also come up with some innovative ideas for operation. “E-motorists are still delighted to find helpful user guidance at many of the charging stations available on the market,” says Dr. Kahl, “however, as they become more familiar with the charging process, they get to a point where they would prefer not to encounter it.” It is only the pedelec system with its multiple charging points where user guidance is really required. With this in mind, the decision was taken to provide smartphone operation here, which means that the charging station offers WLAN access. The user selects “Plug'n Charge” as the WLAN network on their smartphone and this takes them to the operator interface for the station.

Inner workings of the charging point with residual current monitoring, measuring sensor, Lock and Release, and EV Charge Control charging controller  

Inner workings of the charging point

The core component of the charging stations for electric cars is the EV Charge Control Basic, a compact mode 3 charging controller from Phoenix Contact based on IEC 61851-1. The premium version of the charging station uses the EV Charge Control Advanced, a powerful IEC 61851-1 charging controller with Ethernet TCP/IP. The EEM-350-DMCB MID – a direct metering, MID-compliant energy measuring device with RS-485 interface – is also used.

The Plug'n Charge CPOC (Charge Point Operation Controller) forms the logical interface between all devices and the backend. The controller is open for future charging controller series from Phoenix Contact in accordance with ISO/IEC 15118. The entire technology is encapsulated in SVi housing standardized in accordance with DIN EN 61439-2/-3.

Summary

Feedback from the market proved the Bad Emstal-based company right. The new sophisticated, comprehensive concept for an affordable and eco-friendly modular charging infrastructure has arrived.

In addition to the robust design and excellent thermal properties, the concrete charging station offers the following advantage: Plug'n Charge's customers can choose their own color scheme – such as sandstone for use near historic landmarks. A number of locations and regions along the German Fairy Tale Route from Hanau to Bad Karlshafen in Hessen are currently electrified with charging points from Plug'n Charge.

Do you want to implement your charging solution with us?

Send us your request and benefit from our services:

  • Combination of the right hardware and software components
  • Production of charging connectors with your logo for comprehensive branding
  • Charging cable ends can come with a step cut, pre-assembled, or compacted upon request
  • Creation of tested wiring diagrams for simple and safe implementation
  • Consideration of the latest charging standards, technological standards, and the German Weights and Measures Act
  • Support during connection to billing providers and building and energy management systems

PHOENIX CONTACT (Ireland) Ltd

C6 The Exchange
Calmount Park
Ballymount
Dublin 12
D12 XE18
Ireland
(01)2051-300

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