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Electric vehicles (EVs) are an environmentally friendly and highly efficient transportation method. For businesses, building an EV fleet can help you lower operating costs while increasing brand recognition. However, the process of developing EV charging and infrastructure is complex. Before going electric, companies must take many considerations into account.
As energy industry experts, American Wire Group (AWG) is your resource throughout this planning process. This introduction to EV fleet charging infrastructure will help you get started and avoid common mistakes.
Determine Charging Needs
Building an EV fleet charging infrastructure plan begins with determining the types of vehicles you’ll use. From there, you can calculate the charging equipment your fleet will require. Some key factors to consider when establishing your charging needs include looking at your vehicle-specific requirements, payload considerations, portable chargers, and more.
Most EV fleets utilize Level 2 chargers ranging from 5-19 kW of AC power which allows most EV batteries to charge fully overnight, so they are a reliable option for fleets. For larger fleets the incorporation of a Level 3 or DCFCs (Direct Current Fast Charger) provides the option to fast charge a vehicle if so required.
Number of Chargers
Charger needs will be determined by the dynamic usage schedule of each fleet. The charging requirements are also greatly impacted by the daily range of the fleet in question.
Vehicle-Specific Requirements and Recommendations
Choosing electric vehicles for your fleet comes down to a host of factors, range, usage, payload etc. There are many options on the market today.
With the recent news of Ford, GM and Rivian adopting Tesla’s NACS (North American Charging Standard) charging ecosystem, fleet owners will have more options. This news provides a great benefit for light-duty fleets enabling them to access the Tesla charging network through the simple use of an adapter.
Many fleets would be well advised to consider payload and its real-world impact on an EV fleet. Two EV fleets with similar daily ranges of 50 miles per vehicle, may face very different scenarios if one carried heavy tools and equipment.
While most charging is done at night during off-peak hours at the place of business, portable charging units are a great backup solution. However, many of them do not have network-connected management options.
Networked Charging Options
Connected to the internet, a networked charging system sends data to the fleet administrator and/or network services provider. These systems are suitable for larger fleets and can provide valuable data to analyze.
Work With Utilities
It’s important to work with your local utility provider early in the infrastructure development process to ensure your charging requirements can be met. The time of day you charge your vehicles can significantly affect your utility bill costs.
Your project plan must factor in:
- The number of units and the types of units needed
- The proximity of equipment to your electrical infrastructure and to wireless internet connection
- Weather, irrigation, pooled water, and other potential hazards
- Codes & standards: EV charging infrastructure must comply with state, local, and national regulations. They also must be installed by a licensed electrical contractor.
- Inspections & permitting: Permitting and inspections come with certain fees and can affect your project’s timeline.
- Cost estimates: The total estimated cost includes project costs, possible incentives, and ongoing fees or expenses.
During the implementation stage, it’s a good idea to develop a charging policy or guidelines for your staff and drivers. This is particularly important if your charging equipment is shared. Train all individuals responsible for vehicle charging, including EV drivers, fleet operations personnel, vehicle technicians, and even local first responders.
EV Infrastructure Support From American Wire Group
EV infrastructure projects involve many factors and require a significant amount of planning. At American Wire Group, we provide full lifecycle support for EV charging infrastructure development. From concept to energization, we offer wire & cable, equipment and hardware you need to implement your EV fleet charging infrastructure successfully. To learn more, request a quote or contact us.
Wildfires can have devastating effects on electric utilities, with a single spark having the potential to ignite a dangerous blaze that can quickly spread and cause significant damage to the infrastructure or more importantly, the potential liability from loss of human life. The increased risk of wildfires caused by climate change has prompted many companies to shift from a reactive approach to a proactive one. Despite the challenges, new technologies and innovations are emerging that allow utilities to prevent wildfires from starting in the first place. One such approach involves insulating power lines, which can help reduce the risk of sparks that could ignite a wildfire, without the high cost of undergrounding.
Risks from Electric Cables Running Through Trees and Vegetation
Electricity and wildfires are a dangerous combination for utilities across the country. Despite efforts to safeguard transmission and distribution lines, power lines are increasingly being implicated as the source of some wildfires. When strong winds cause nearby trees and branches to fall into power lines or snap wooden poles, the resulting sparks can quickly turn into dangerous fires. With so many potential sources of ignition, utility companies face an ongoing challenge to keep power lines from sparking wildfires. The four common ways a power line can spark a fire include:
- Power lines falling: If a power line falls due to any reason, be it a tree fall or any other cause, it remains electrically charged until the power company switches it off. When the high-voltage conductor comes in contact with the vegetation on the ground, it may cause a fire.
- Power lines coming into contact with trees or vegetation: Even if a tree doesn’t collapse the power line, continual contact with the line can start a fire over time. Branches or foliage between two conductors can produce high-temperature electrical arcs that can create a spark.
- Conductor slap: While utility companies strategically place conductors so they do not touch each other, contact with conductors can happen during equipment failure. If conductors slap, they can produce hot metal particles that may ignite ground vegetation below the power lines.
- Failing equipment: As electrical equipment ages, it is more susceptible to failure. One of the most common outcomes of equipment failure is sparking that, if not replaced, can increase in intensity and spark a fire.
Fire Prevention AerialGuard Products
Especially during wildfire season, utility companies face severe criticism for overhead power lines. Therefore, utility companies constantly look for new technology to improve safety, mitigate fire threats, and upgrade their electric supply system. Reinforced fire-resistant cable has come a long way in recent years to reduce fire threats and safely withstand operation for a certain time in flame-burning conditions. Aerial Cable Systems are a reliable option for utilities in fire-prone areas.
Aerial Cable Systems have a basic structure of three separately run, covered conductors supported by a grounded messenger and held together by spacers, keeping the cables strategically positioned along the line. The supporting messenger protects the system from falling trees and limbs, and if poles or lines do fall, the covered conductor is less likely to spark a fire versus bare wire. Also, the small footprint of ASC reduces the amount and frequency of vegetation trimming along power lines. AerialGuard® is AWG’s aerial cable system that helps with fire mitigation and is used for overhead primary and secondary distribution systems.
AerialGuard® Cables: Tree Wire and Spacer Cables
AerialGuard® Cable is a track-resistant, 3-layer system used on tree wire and spacer cables. Overhead primary and secondary distribution systems rated 15 kV (nominal) use these aerial cables. If the wire comes in contact with trees or wildfire, the 3-layer system, consisting of a conductor shield and two covering layers, is designed to prevent short circuits and flashovers.
When appropriately installed, AerialGuard® Cable can effectively prevent system outages, damage, or fires that result from falling trees or branches. If used in tree wire systems, the line is installed in a flat configuration with a narrow right-of-way corridor. Self-supporting conductors, such as ACSR, are typical in this type of installation. When used in spacer cable power systems, the line is installed with uniform spacing in a diamond configuration maintained by spacer hardware. A bare messenger, such as ACSR, OPGW, bare aluminum clad steel, or galvanized steel wire, supports the spacer and cable assembly. Spacer cable assemblies require the narrowest right-of-way corridor, occupying minimal space.
AWG for Wildfire Risk Mitigation
Choosing insulated power lines equipped with flame-resistant technology is a cost-effective solution for reducing the risk of wildfires. At AWG, we offer AerialGuard® System Solutions including cable and hardware products, such as spacers, brackets, insulators and other hardware, used by utility companies nationwide. Contact us to learn more about using our AerialGuard® System Solution in your tree wire or spacer cable system.
American Wire Group provides photovoltaic wire, power cables, control cables, accessories, and hardware for the Solar market. Our cables are sturdy, weather-resistant, and can withstand mechanical stress from bending, stretching, or pressure. As a leader in the solar wire and cable market, we are well-equipped to offer the best solutions for every connectivity project.
American Wire Group’s solar power system solutions include:
- Photovoltaic cables
- Communication cables
- Grounding cables
- Medium voltage power cables
- Transmission wire & cable
Read on to learn more about our solar power systems solutions.
Photovoltaic (PV) Wire
PV wire is a single conductor, sunlight-resistant wire rated 90ºC wet or dry for interconnection wiring of grounded and ungrounded photovoltaic power systems
The National Electrical Code (NEC) rates the cables in the United States, while the Canadian Electric Code (CEC) rates them in Canada. PV wire conductors are made of copper or aluminum.
UL 4703 Photovoltaic Wire:
- Designed for use and installation in the USA
- First Edition: 30 September 2014
- Latest Edition: 11 August 2020
CSA C22.2 No. 271 Photovoltaic Cable:
- Designed for use and installation in Canada
- First Edition: May 2011
- Latest Edition: January 2020
- In-line spark testing
- Periodic testing of insulation resistance in water at 15 °C
- ICEA S-95-658 Power Cables Rated 2000 V or Less for the Distribution of Electrical Energy
- Field Testing:
- NETA MTS Maintenance Testing Specifications for Electrical Power Equipment and Systems
- NETA ATS Acceptance Testing Specifications for Electrical Power Equipment and Systems
Applications of PV Wire
Connecting Solar Panels to a Combiner Box
The most common application of PV wire is connecting solar panels. This involves running a 12 AWG to 8 AWG wire from the combiner box to the ground in a short run (less than 100 feet).
Open Air Installation
This involves tying the PV wire directly to a rack. It’s a fast and cost-effective way to install solar panels, as there is no need for a trench or foundation.
Connecting Combiner Boxes to the Inverter
PV wire can also connect combiner boxes to inverters. These wires are usually power-sized aluminum cables (4/0 AWG to 1000 kcmil) that extend for hundreds of feet.
Direct Burial (Trench) Installation
Direct burial or trench installation can accommodate many circuits in a single common trench. This cost-effective method allows for native backfill to support the foundation.
Solar Cables and Accessories
At American Wire Group, we specialize in cables, wires, and accessories for renewable energy applications and other utilities. Learn more about our products below.
We offer fiber optic cables in single-mode and multimode varieties. These RS485 twisted copper wires are protected by a single jacket, double jacket, single armor/single jacket, double armor/double jacket, or fiber in duct option. It can be used as optical ground wire (OPGW), with OPGW hardware included.
Electrical wires ensure circuits run smoothly by safely discharging excess electricity. Our bare copper and copper-clad steel wires are designed to achieve this goal.
Medium Voltage Power Cables
Our medium voltage power cables range from 5 kV to 46 kV and come with an LLDPE or XLPE jacket. We offer copper tape, concentric neutral wires, or flat straps. Insulation options include:
- TR-XLPE insulation, MV-90 or MV-105
- EPR insulation, MV-90 or MV-105
Transmission & Distribtuion Wire & Cable
We provide overhead bare or covered transmission wires such as ACSR or AAAC.
Wire & Cable System Accessories
We offer the following wire and cable system accessories:
- Elbow arresters
- Sectionalizing cabinets
Working With American Wire Group
American Wire Group’s full product line of cables, wires, and accessories are ideal for utility and renewable energy applications, such as solar, wind, battery storage and EV infrastructure. Our experts provide services like engineering and design, cable management, supply chain (logistics, procurement, transportation), and more. We are ISO 9001:2015 certified and have over 200 years of combined experience in solar power cables and connectors.
Contact us today to learn more about our solar wire connector products and services.
American Wire Group is a leading provider of electrical wire and cable systems, including low-, medium-, and high-voltage cables. With more than 200 years of combined experience, we have the knowledge and skill to help you find the ideal cable solution. Through quality sourcing, custom cable design and engineering, and skilled cable management, AWG ensures that you receive the appropriate products quickly and within your budget.
When selecting quality cables for your project, it is important to understand the differences between high-, medium-, and low-voltage cables. Each offers unique benefits for different applications and industries.
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Applications of LV, MV & HV Cables
Cables are manufactured in a variety of designs and configurations to meet the varied needs of many industries. They are typically divided into three categories based on voltage capacity. Low voltage (LV) cables are designed to handle 2,000 V or less, medium voltage cables (MV) can accommodate between 2,000 V and 35,000 V, and high voltage, or extra-high voltage cables (HV or EHV) are rated for voltage above 35,000 V.
Low Voltage Cables (LV)
Low-voltage cables are used for up to 2,000 volts, depending on the type of current. LV cables can be found in household electronics, consumer products, and electrical devices in residential, commercial, solar farms, and other industrial settings. Typical applications include automation equipment wiring, security systems, lighting, sound systems, and interior building wiring.
The conducting wire in LV cables is typically a tin-copper blend, pure copper, or aluminum. Depending on the intended application, insulation and jacketing materials can be either flexible or rigid. Most LV cables are jacketed in thermoplastic material such as PVC, or thermoset material such as XLPE.
Medium Voltage Cables (MV)
Medium-voltage cables are used for voltages from 2,000 V up to 35,000 V. Since they are incorporated into a broad range of applications, MV cables come in standard voltage ratings, including 5,000 V, 8,000 V, 15,000 V, 25,000 V, and 35,000 V. They are used to distribute power to equipment in mining and industrial applications, and in mobile workstations for repair and maintenance of power lines, transformers, and substations.
MV cables come with both copper and aluminum wires, and insulation is critical. Common materials used in MV cable insulation include ethylene-propylene rubber (EPR), neoprene, cross-linked polyethylene (XLPE), or tree-retardant cross-linked polyethylene (TR-XLPE). The insulation and jacket material used in MV cables differs based on voltage, application, and operating environment.
High Voltage Cables (HV)
High-voltage cables are specifically designed to handle voltage that exceeds 35,000 V. HV cables are used in high-energy applications, including power plants, power transmission, and municipal electrical grids.
When it comes to extruded power transmission cables, materials with higher temperature resistance and high ampacities are desired, such as copper, Milliken copper, enameled copper, and Milliken enameled copper. The high power of HV cables requires highly durable insulation for a variety of underground, underwater, and surface applications. HV cables and joints are structurally reinforced to ensure that voltage is tightly controlled and insulation remains intact.
Complete Cable Solutions From American Wire Group
Whether you need low-, medium- or high-voltage cables for utility power transmission or renewable energy applications, American Wire Group has the knowledge and experience to help you find the perfect cable solutions for your needs. For your convenience, we offer a full range of services, from cable design and engineering to supply chain management and distribution.
To learn more about our outstanding cable solutions and other services, contact AWG today!
American Wire Group delivers comprehensive wire and cable solutions at competitive prices. No matter how complex your cable-related projects are, experts at our regional distribution centers are prepared to help in both small and large-scale capacities. As a trusted partner in the energy industry, we routinely reduce outages, source difficult-to-find products, customize cables for clients, and more.
This blog will discuss how to select the correct cable for renewable energy applications, as well as the optimal solutions we offer for the wind and solar power industries.
Choose the Proper Cable for Renewable Energy Sources
The renewable energy sector involves many cable applications that face unique challenges. Wind turbines and solar power components are subject to extreme weather conditions and can be located in remote, inaccessible areas that make transmitting power difficult. Thus, it is essential to select the ideal cable type for applications in these industries.
Here are some specific considerations for wind turbine cables:
- Enhanced mechanical properties: Wind turbine towers can be up to a few hundred feet tall. These heights affect cable length, so selecting cables with higher tensile strength is important. Cables should also have good torsional attributes and resist oil and flame.
- Insulation: Harsh environmental conditions around wind farms often call for specific insulation. Insulated wires offer protection against voltage stresses, can operate over a wide temperature range, and better withstand mechanical abuse to the wire such as abrasion and bending.
- Conductor: Both size and material of the conductor are integral considerations for wind turbine cables. Aluminum cables are increasingly replacing copper cables as tower and base components because aluminum is cheaper and 60% lighter.
The solar power industry also requires high-performance cables. When selecting the best type of solar power cables, consider these factors:
- Type: There are several types of solar wires, and each is best suited to a specific function. For example, single-wire cables are best for domestic electrical applications. Other types include triple-wire or five-wire cables, which work better for large-scale operations.
- Rating: A rating chart shows how many amps a cable can safely handle. Higher ratings ensure fewer voltage drops and a reduced chance of overheating.
- Conductor size: The size of a conductor is defined by conductor cross-sectional area, not diameter. Thicker cables can transmit higher currents and voltages.
- Length: Proper cable length also reduces voltage drop and maintains safe transmission.
The Best Cables for Energy Systems by American Wire Group
American Wire Group carries an extensive selection of cables for any operation in the renewable energy industry. We carry low voltage cables, medium voltage cables, control cables, grounding wires, transmission wire, aluminum photovoltaic wire, copper photovoltaic wire, and fiber optic communication cables to meet the demands of highly challenging applications. Our cables are available in copper and aluminum, with several jacket types. If you’re unsure which cable is best suited to your needs, our knowledgeable experts can help you select the best one.
Reliable Cable Solutions from American Wire Group
The renewable energy industry relies heavily on cables for wind turbines and solar-powered components, which are frequently located in remote areas and exposed to extreme weather. These applications present many challenges and demand dependable, high-performing cables.
American Wire Group provides expert solutions for these industries. We’re devoted to our customers throughout every step of their project, from the development phase to construction to future on-site servicing. To see our complete product offerings, check out our online catalog. If you have any questions or would like to get started on a solution, contact us today.