Electric vehicles are becoming increasingly common in markets across the country. In fact, consumer spending on electric vehicles increased by 50 percent from 2019 to 2020 to $120 billion. And the industry has been gradually growing for the past several years, with even more expansion predicted in 2021 and beyond. It is essential to use high grade plastics for car charging ports to ensure durability and longevity.
With this influx of electric vehicles comes an increased need for car charging ports and EV stations. These allow drivers of electric vehicles to power up their vehicles at home and at designated spots along their driving routes. There are currently about 42,000 public charging stations throughout the U.S., with many only constructed over the past several years. However, this still isn’t enough in many areas to accommodate the projected growth of the EV market, and even those drivers who may be currently interested in owning electric vehicles. So increased construction and manufacturing of these charging stations is a must in order for the industry to really expand as projected.
Since this is still an emerging industry, transportation companies are still determining the best formats and materials for the various components needed to successfully charge electric vehicles. However, one area that seems clear is the need for quality plastics in car charging ports and EV stations. Specifically, plastic films can be incredibly useful in the production and protection of these components. There are several specific materials and applications for these materials. Here’s a guide for decision makers in the EV industry for choosing the right plastics for car charging ports and EV stations.
Qualities of Car Charging Ports and EV Stations
Car charging ports are the electrical stations that provide power to electric and hybrid vehicles. Since these cars store power in their batteries, they can generally operate for between 250 and 350 miles before needing to stop and charge again. These chargers can be installed in the private garages of electric vehicle drivers. But they’re also available at public EV stations around the country.
There isn’t yet a universal standard for car charging ports. So different types of electric vehicles require different types of chargers. For example, Tesla’s chargers are different than those used by Chevy Volts. This means there’s a need for components that can be completely customized to the needs of each EV station. The plastics used must fit each charging port perfectly in order to connect seamlessly to vehicles.
The materials used in these stations must be strong and durable enough to resist damage from vehicles and prevent vandalism. They need to be resistant to flame and ignition to ensure safety when exposed to hot electrical components and extreme conditions. And since they are used primarily outdoors, they should be moisture and weather resistant to hold up well over time. Finally, they must suit the visual needs of each application. For example, some components require transparency to allow users to clearly see through to other components, while others need to be opaque and available in an array of different colors.
Plastics for Car Charging Ports and EV Stations
Since the electric vehicle industry is still new and evolving, the companies that manufacture components for charging ports and EV stations are still determining the best mix of materials for their needs. At first, many started by housing charging stations in metals like steel or aluminum. But as the needs of the EV industry have evolved, it has become clear that plastics offer many practical benefits above these other materials. Specifically, plastic films are more economical and lightweight, making them easier to fabricate for the increased amount of charging ports needed throughout the country.
Plastics can be used for a huge array of components within the larger structure of charging ports and EV stations. For example, they can be used in the production of charger housings, covers over front displays or touchscreens, lenses, connectors, light guides, and various other charging station components. There are also an array of plastics that are able to meet the demands of increasingly plentiful and sophisticated EV charging stations. Specifically, ABS, acrylic, fluoropolymers, nylon, HDPE, LDPE, PBT, polypropylene, and PVC all have several applications within the transportation industry.
One type of plastic film that has become increasingly common in the market for EV charging stations and their components is polycarbonate. Polycarbonate is known for being incredibly strong and impact-resistant. This makes it ideal for EV stations and charging ports since it can hold up against potential dings and scratches from vehicles. And it may even withstand vandalism or extreme weather conditions that come with being housed outdoors. Polycarbonate film is also versatile, generally coming in transparent rolls, but with other visual resin styles available. Polycarbonate/ PC film can be used in a wide array of applications throughout this emerging industry, from charger housings and covers to light and display lenses. This allows EV station operators to keep maintenance costs low and invest in materials that actually last as the industry continues to grow and evolve.
If you’re looking for plastics for car charging ports and EV stations, PolymerFilms can help. We offer durable, customizable plastic film solutions ideal for an array of applications throughout the transportation industry. We have an extensive inventory of high-performance plastics, along with in-house conversion equipment that allows us to convert film products to meet the specific needs of each application. We also have five distribution centers conveniently located throughout North America, which allows us to deliver fast quotes and turnaround times on orders. Our knowledgeable team is also available to provide friendly and personalized guidance for those looking to find the best materials or value-added services to meet the needs of this emerging field. Visit our website to request a free consultation and learn more about how quality plastics can improve the experience at EV stations and car charging ports.