Is an all-consuming focus on fast DC charging solutions overshadowing the possibilities of normal AC charging?

Rethinking EV charging: The strategic role of normal charging

By: Mattias Nilsson, Global Sales Engineer at Zaptec.

Those of us who are following the development of electric vehicles and the entire ecosystem around them from the inside have observed how different European governments have experimented with various strategies to expedite the transition to electric mobility.

The approaches vary widely, leading to mixed outcomes. Some initiatives seem tentative or insufficiently committed, while others inadvertently hinder progress. Interestingly, some governments have truly succeeded in their efforts, but ironically, there is often a reluctance to replicate certain successful incentives because the discussion about electric vehicles also tends to take on a distinctly political tone. This makes some politicians hesitant, as they fear that supporting electric vehicles might signal a specific political stance. Politics can be quite intriguing, folks.

Despite these challenges, the overall direction is unmistakably moving towards greener mobility, highlighted by the growing adoption of electric vehicles.

As Europe accelerates its transition toward electric vehicles (EVs), the discussion often centres on the technology enabling this shift. Fast charging infrastructure receives considerable attention due to its ability to power EVs quickly, mimicking the procedure of traditional fuelling – and the traditional gas station. However, normal AC charging offers a spectrum of benefits that align closely with sustainable energy goals and practical, everyday use. The question that creeps forward in all discussions concerning future charging needs is: Have we found the right balance between fast and normal charging?

Comprehensive EV charging networks: Why normal chargers are crucial

A robust, comprehensive EV charging network is vital to support this transition, yet the focus often skews towards high-cost, high-maintenance fast charging solutions. Normal chargers, however, present a cost-effective, efficient, and scalable alternative that can significantly enhance the accessibility and sustainability of EV networks.

  1. Economic efficiency of normal (AC) chargers:
    • Lower Installation and maintenance costs: Normal chargers are more affordable to install and maintain compared to fast chargers. This economic advantage makes widespread deployment feasible, ensuring that remote and rural areas are not left behind in the EV revolution.
    • Reduced operational demands: Unlike fast chargers, which require substantial power loads and sophisticated infrastructure, normal chargers can be integrated into existing electrical frameworks with minimal adjustments.
  2. Enhancing grid stability:
    • Balanced energy demand: Nlow chargers help maintain a balanced demand on the power grid by spreading charging activity more evenly over time. This is particularly important as Europe increases its reliance on intermittent renewable energy sources.
    • Prevention of peak load strains: By avoiding the surge demands that fast charging stations place on the grid, normal chargers prevent potential blackouts and energy waste, promoting a more stable and reliable energy supply.
  3. Sustainability and environmental impact:
    • Extended battery life: Normal AC charging contributes to battery health by reducing the thermal stress during charging cycles, thereby extending the lifespan of batteries, and reducing waste.
    • Support for renewable energy integration: The gradual energy draw of normal chargers is ideally suited for integration with solar and wind energy, facilitating the use of renewables in residential and commercial settings.

Behavioural and psychological aspects of EV charging

The shift to EVs involves not only technological changes but also significant modifications in consumer behaviour, particularly in how individuals manage their energy consumption. Normal AC charging, which allows EVs to be charged overnight at home or during the day at workplaces, aligns well with how we live – and can be integrated into daily routines without disruption. This integration helps change public perception of EV charging from a cumbersome chore to a simple, routine activity.

However, much of the psychological resistance stems from old and familiar patterns, where you feel the need to go to a dedicated place to refuel your car, rather than allowing this process to occur on your terms – so that it follows your own movement and rhythm. Effective communication and educational campaigns are essential to inform potential EV owners about the benefits of normal AC charging and dispel myths about its inadequacy for daily use.

Policy implications and future directions

For normal charging to become a foundational component of Europe’s electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure, it requires robust policy support and innovative strategic planning. Governmental bodies and regulatory agencies need to work in concert to craft policies that not only encourage the widespread adoption of normal charging technology but also seamlessly integrate these systems into the urban and transportation framework.

This integration involves several key initiatives:

  • Regulatory streamlining: Simplifying the process for normal charger installation is crucial. This could involve reducing bureaucratic hurdles for approval, standardizing across EU member states to ensure consistency, and providing clear guidelines that encourage urban and rural areas to adopt normal charging solutions.
  • Incentive programs: Economic incentives such as tax rebates, subsidies for both consumers and manufacturers, and reduced utility rates during off-peak charging hours could be implemented to make normal charging more attractive.
  • Urban planning integration: Normal AC chargers should be included in the initial planning stages of urban development, not retrofitted as an afterthought. Incorporating charging infrastructure into building codes and zoning regulations would ensure that new developments are built with the future of mobility in mind, accommodating EVs from the outset.
  • Education and outreach: Policymakers must also focus on educating the public and stakeholders about the benefits of normal charging. This involves addressing misconceptions about charging times and demonstrating the compatibility of normal charging with everyday life – for example through pilot projects.

Technological innovations and integration

Technological advancements are set to dramatically enhance the functionality and user appeal of normal AC chargers. Zaptec is a market leader in some of the most well-developed EV markets on the planet. We know, first hand, that there is a difference between creating solutions for the early adopters, vs. the late majority. As we stand on the brink of a digital revolution in energy management, the integration of smart charging technologies presents an opportunity to redefine how energy is consumed and managed within the EV ecosystem.

  • Smart charging technologies: These systems use algorithms to adjust charging rates dynamically, based on real-time grid capacity and demand. This not only improves energy efficiency but also enhances the overall stability of the electrical grid by smoothing out the peaks and troughs in energy demand.
  • User-friendly interfaces: Developing interfaces that allow consumers to easily manage their charging schedules and preferences will help integrate EV charging into daily routines seamlessly. This includes mobile apps that notify users of optimal charging times, potential cost savings, and even environmental impact.
  • Grid integration: Advanced metering infrastructure and grid management tools can link normal AC chargers with renewable energy sources. This ensures that charging infrastructure can increasingly rely on solar and wind power, reducing reliance on non-renewable energy and aligning with broader environmental goals.
  • Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) systems: future integration will include V2G technologies, where vehicles serve not only as transportation tools but also as mobile storage units that can supply energy back to the grid during peak times, creating a more dynamic and interactive grid system.


As Europe tries to find the right medicine to reach its ambitious goals, embracing normal AC charging is more than a practical choice – it's a strategic imperative that supports broader environmental and economic objectives. By fostering technological innovation, refining policy frameworks, and educating the public, normal charging can be elevated to the true cornerstone of Europe's approach to more sustainable transportation. This comprehensive strategy will not only support the current transition to EVs but will also lay a resilient foundation for the future, ensuring that the adoption and integration of EVs are as seamless and efficient as possible.