SMA Solar Technology AG, a German company with over 40 years of experience in the production of inverters and solar systems, is planning to launch a new electric vehicle charger in 2024.
This has been conceived as the “successor” to its current 22-kilowatt equipment, as anticipated by Tobias Neidl, Solution Owner e-Mobility C&I at SMA, to Mobility Portal Europe.
“It will feature a completely new design and incorporate various functionalities, particularly excelling in connectivity and system integration,” he details.
The intention is for it to be used in both home, commercial and semi-commercial environments.
This device adds to the wide range of charging solutions offered by the company, allowing for intelligent, sustainable, and economical charging of eCars.
It’s worth mentioning that SMA entered the eMobility market four years ago with the goal of developing a solution that would enable its customers to efficiently manage energy flows between generation and consumption.
The new EV Charger allows operators of photovoltaic plants to charge with powers ranging from 1.4 to 22 kilowatts.
Additionally, it can be used flexibly thanks to its Type 2 socket, making it compatible with all common electric vehicles.
When integrated into the SMA Energy System, users can leverage various solutions from a single source.
The equipment operates at maximum available power, achieving a charging process up to ten times faster than using a conventional household power outlet.
This is done through the flexible use of energy from the public grid or solar.
It’s worth noting that SMA stands out for its contribution to photovoltaic energy generation, thus promoting more sustainable mobility.
As Neidl describes, in recent years, more than 50 per cent of the energy consumed by electric vehicles charged with SMA solutions came directly from the sun or a battery storing solar energy.
The company also provides services oriented towards businesses, such as the SMA Commercial eMobility Solution.
This allows merchants to enjoy cost-effective and environmentally friendly eMobility, enabling the agile configuration of a commercial charging infrastructure.
Through this comprehensive solution, companies can meet all their needs through a single provider, covering hardware, software, and services, resulting in economic savings.
Not only that, but it also features a planning tool called Sunny Design.
With this software, it’s possible to design custom photovoltaic installations for customers.
Whether it’s grid-connected PV with or without a battery system, intelligent energy management, electric mobility, hybrid systems, or off-grid solutions, it performs detailed business case calculations.
Variables such as home departure and arrival times, as well as the charging period, can be input.
“This provides a realistic view of the potential savings when purchasing an eVehicle or optimizing charging through photovoltaic solar energy,” assures the Solution Owner e-Mobility C&I.
Additionally, especially targeted at commercial installations, it offers a planning service with an associated cost.
The SMA team will assist the customer in calculating and developing a comprehensive system vision, evaluating the business case, and performing all necessary calculations, in addition to creating the system architecture.
Currently, many installers face challenges due to the complexity and need to install chargers.
Therefore, it’s imperative to have a backend that manages aspects such as authorization, billing, and access.
“This is why we have developed the planning service and a solution in which our customers receive both the EV charger and the backend service,” he explains.
The latter is offered free of charge for a period of five years.
This way, in case of any issues, SMA takes responsibility for the overall system.
“Through our backend and our service department, we can provide a remarkable customer experience,” he adds.
What challenges does SMA observe in the German eMobility market?
Currently, the electric mobility landscape in the country is experiencing rapid growth, with over a million EVs and more than 97,000 public charging points.
However, the government has progressively reduced subsidies aimed at boosting this sector, with the most recent measure being the suspension of the Environmental Bonus.
Additionally, subsidies for integrating photovoltaic solar energy charging were offered but depleted within 24 hours.
“There is uncertainty about the availability of subsidies, and I consider this to be a major challenge for the entire industry, as many customers lack a clear planning path and are unaware of what is happening,” he notes.
Nevertheless, he emphasizes that in both the eMobility and photovoltaic energy fields, “we are prepared to move out of the subsidized world, as it functions on its own without too much government influence.”