Fly and charge: Explore the massive EV charging system at Norway's largest airport

Just a short distance from Norway's largest airport, you'll find one of Zaptec’s largest charging facilities. With 244 active chargers in the same parking lot, Gardermoen Parking is well-equipped to meet the current and future charging needs of their customers. Thanks to Zaptec's patented load and phase balancing, the facility efficiently uses available energy, allowing as many cars as possible to charge simultaneously.

Customer: Gardermoen Parking (Gardermoen Parkering)


The quest for a future-proof charging system

Gardermoen Parking was an early adopter of electric vehicle charging, starting back in 2013. After a few years, they saw the need to upgrade their old charging system and began searching for a technically advanced charger that would enhance customer experience and easily integrate with their existing solution. The goal was also to find a scalable system that would later adapt to Gardermoen Parking's chosen payment solution.


Efficient and safe charging

Following a recommendation from Zaptec's long-term partner, Smart Elektro, a smart charging system with Zaptec Pro was chosen. Gardermoen Parking opted for Zaptec because the charging station delivered the best quality. The chargers also solved the challenge of limited power access many large charging facilities face, yet with a desire for as many charging points as possible. With Zaptec's patented phase balancing technology, available energy is optimally distributed, allowing a large number of cars to charge at the same time and facilitating easy expansion of the facility. This ensures that Gardermoen Parking's customers can charge safely and efficiently when they are on their way to the airport and while traveling.


A charging facility that’s built to last

Rows of electric vehicles charging side by side, Zaptec Pro chargers lined up as far as the eye can see, and a parking lot covered in a thick layer of snow – this is what greets us at Gardermoen Parking on this winter day. Not far from Norway's largest airport, Oslo Airport Gardermoen, the parking lot aims to become a fully green parking operator.

"Our goal is to offer our customers a sustainable parking experience, which means generating power with solar panels, having electric bus transport to and from the airport, and providing electric vehicle charging to a large portion of our customers."

Lars Gustav Haugli, Chairman of Gardermoen Parking.

This is where Zaptec comes in. Together with Smart Elektro, a custom-made charging facility with 244 electric car chargers has been set up, ready to function in all weather conditions. The charging posts are specially made to accommodate three chargers each.

"We have soon installed around 200 Zaptec charging systems, and Gardermoen Parking is definitely the largest. The main reason Zaptec is our preferred charging system is the quality of the charging stations and the simplicity in everything from installation to operation."

Ole Morten Furseth, Marketing and Sales Manager at Smart Elektro.

Gardermoen Parking had already from the beginning planned for a possible expansion of the parking area, and both user-friendliness and future needs were discussed early on. Thus, the charging facility is set up to last for a long time.

"Gardermoen Parking has been proactive throughout the process, planning for their needs now and in the future. They have focused on long-term thinking, and the result is a charging facility that will function for many years."

Øystein Nilsen, Project Manager at Smart Elektro.

Capacity and phase-balancing – like a highway?

On average, each car is parked at Gardermoen Parking for about a week, meaning there is a continuous rotation of cars using the chargers. Lars Gustav Haugli reports no capacity problems with the power supply to the charging spots, averaging about 60 kWh per car. The distribution key for the power supply to the cars is set up by Smart Elektro together with Gardermoen Parking.

"We always set the capacity available in the charging facility to a level below the realistic total consumption to ensure that the facility does not draw more power than it should. This key determines how the different cars are supplied with power, which is especially important in larger charging facilities. This way, the power will automatically adjust based on the available capacity, allowing all cars to charge simultaneously," explains Øystein Nilsen.

This is also known as load and phase balancing. With Zaptec's patented solution a Zaptec system facility can, on many occasions, charge three times as many cars as a traditional charging system.

"Think of it as a highway with three lanes. With a traditional charging system, you would have to stay in the lane you originally chose, even if there is better movement in another lane, because there are barriers between them. But with our phase balancing, you can switch to the lanes with available capacity automatically. This means you get to charge at a higher speed, there's a smoother load on the power grid, and more cars can charge at the same time."

Fredrik Hegland, charging expert at Zaptec.

Gardermoen Parking also has the ability to control the available power given to the cars through the cloud solution Zaptec Portal. Then, the power can be limited or increased in line with the desired energy tariffs or opening hours, or if there are other power-demanding activities in the area that one wants to prioritise. The ease of communication with the chargers, combined with the load and phase balancing solution, is why it's also easy to expand the facility as needed.

"All our chargers are connected to our cloud solution and command centre Zaptec Portal, which continuously communicates with the chargers and gives them instructions on what to do. This makes it easy to scale up the facility, as you can add as many chargers as you want to the portal, and then it will automatically distribute the available power. There's actually no limit to how many chargers you can set up, as long as you have the space and available power," says Fredrik Hegland.

Real-time instructions to the chargers

Fredrik notes that in the world of charging, terms like 'master' and 'slave' are often used to describe the relationship between individual chargers and the command centre that instructs them. At Zaptec, the Zaptec Portal is the 'master' and continuously communicates with the various Zaptec Pro chargers, telling them what to do. The Zaptec Portal thus has an overview of all the chargers' activities and will automatically instruct the chargers to limit or increase power as cars connect or disconnect.

"All the individual Zaptec Pro chargers are in constant dialogue with our Zaptec Portal in real-time. They report on their current power usage, whether they have ongoing charging, and how much power is being consumed. The portal constantly monitors that the consumption does not exceed set levels and informs new chargers about how much power they can draw. If the internet goes down and the system goes offline, there's also a calculated power amount in place so that the chargers know how much power they can use without blowing a fuse. This ensures charging even if the chargers go offline," he adds.

Since all charging stations are connected to a cloud solution, it also means that all chargers receive regular updates and are equipped with new features, even if it has been several years since installation.

Charging infrastructure for a greener future

Gardermoen Parking has ambitious plans to become a fully green parking operator and is already well on its way. The next step is to set up a payment solution for all the charging stations to make the system even more seamless.

"We are in dialogue with Zaptec and a software provider for a payment solution, so that we will soon have a system where each customer is identified by the booking they've made and where they use the same login for the charger they choose. This will result in a clear receipt showing the amount they have parked for and the amount they have charged for. It will improve the customer experience and is something we look forward to having in place," says Lars Gustav Haugli, Chairman of Gardermoen Parking.

Together with Smart Elektro and Gardermoen Parking, we are proud to build charging infrastructure for a greener future.