Surge Protection for EV Charging Stations

Available from Specialist distributor Switchtec is the Citel DAC/DDC range of AC and DC Surge Protectors for use within the Electric Vehicle Charging network infrastructure.\\The UK’s electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure is continually growing and changing shape to meet the needs of EV drivers. According to data from Zap-Map the UK had over 32,000 public charging points to service over 510,000 battery-electric cars (June 2022)

The market for electric vehicles is growing rapidly and the challenge is for the EV Charging infrastructure to keep pace with this growth. At present the EV growth is out stripping the availability of Public networked chargers, therefore its extremely important that all chargers remain in full operation and are protected from electrical surges.

The car is considered a safe place to stay during thunderstorms due to its metal body and thus following the principle of Faraday’s cage. The electronics are also relatively safe from hardware damage however the conditions change during charging.

During charging the vehicle electronics are connected directly to the chargers’ electronics, fed from the power grid. If an Overvoltage occurred it would pass to the vehicle, via galvanic connection, spread directly from the energy supply network. Therefore, its critical to protect all Electric Vehicle Charging Points with suitable Surge Protectors.

In a typical domestic installation, the EV charger supply is taken from the domestic supply and can be up to 22 kW. Surge protection should be installed as detailed in the 18th edition of the IET Wiring regulations “Protection against transient over-voltages shall be provided where the consequence caused by over-voltage:

  1. Results in serious injury to, or loss of, human life
  2. Results in interruption of public services and/or damage to cultural heritage
  3. Results in interruption of commercial or industrial activity,
  4. Affects a large number of co-located individuals.”

In public areas, fast chargers with > 22 kW, mostly DC Charging up to typically 350kW are fed from the grid. If the charging stations are installed outside in the form of charging columns, AC and/or DC Surge protection would be required.

With these types of EV Chargers attention must also be paid to the protection of the communication interface. This extremely important interface should be protected as it represents the link between the vehicle, the charging infrastructure, and the energy system. Protection modules tailored to the application ensure the reliable, safe and continued operation of the Electrical Vehicle Charging Systems.

Switchtec can supply the Citel Surge Protectors in Type 1, Type 2 & Type 3, for use with AC, DC Voltages and are suitable for use on all earthing system including TN, TT/TN, TNS and TN-C-S. The SPD’s are available in Single Pole, Single Phase, 3 Phase and 3 Phase & Neutral. Citel produce a range of DIN rail mounted surge protectors which are easy to install in any standardized distribution panel or control cabinets and also PCB mounted Surge Protectors for OEM applications.

The DAC & DDC range of SPD’s is born from Citel’s 80 years’ experience in the manufacture of high-quality Surge Protection Devices. With collaboration from Citel’s manufacturing and design locations in France, Germany, America and China, the new range was designed with key design features including Security, Performance, Design & Ergonomics, SPD Knowledge and Warranty.

As leaders in Surge Protection, Citel have designed their Surge Protectors to meet the most extreme constraints, beyond that asked by the IEC/EN standards. In order to ensure total safety, the DAC/DDC series are designed to provide a safe disconnection, high resistance to fire and short circuit and built with a high mechanical robustness. The DAC/DDC series utilises technology uniquely available to Citel, who are specialists in the manufacture of Gas Discharge Tubes (Gas Spark Gap), along with their own design of varistors to obtain the best performance and reliability for their SPD’s.

Key performance features of the DAC/DDC range include an improved ergonomic design, which incorporates a quick release retaining clip for the replaceable SPD modules.

Further features include, improved plastic materials used to increase the products strength and rigidity, whilst also taking into account environmental concerns with the use of Halogen free plastics. A larger disconnection indicator allows the operator to easily and quickly identify if the SPD has come End of Life. A green indicator displays a fully functioning SPD whilst a red indicator indicates immediate replacement required. This indicator is in conjunction with the built in remote signal output, a volt free contact, suitable for connection to an external signalling device.

Citel’s main objective with the DAC/DDC Series was to design the most efficient SPD which is fully compliant with the current SPD standards but is also future proofed as much as possible to allow it to remain compliant with future amendments to the SPD standards. Citel’s experts are members of national and international standards committees, and as such have first-hand knowledge of current and future SPD standards.

The DAC/DDC range has been tested in Citel’s own internal laboratories, where they can test up to 240kA, and also recognised by external laboratory including EAC, IEC, VDE and cULus.

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