If you’ve ever imported anything before, you will understand that prior preparation and planning are critical to the successful delivery of your order. Importing EV chargers from China is no exception.
In most cases, a lack of information about the importation processes, from placing your orders to packaging and transportation, is the challenge for most importers. However, seeking the correct information from experienced hands and detailed online articles such as this can save you from unnecessary headaches and loss of money. So, let’s dive in without wasting any more of your time.
I. Why Buy EV Chargers from China?
It’s no secret that the Chinese economy is one of the 2 biggest economies in the world, with government support in policies and financing driving this growth. Also, the Chinese manufacturing scene is booming as there is the availability of a large pool of experts and experienced individuals who are willing and able to work. All these factors drive down the cost of manufacturing, making Chinese products one of the most affordable in the world. The EV charger manufacturing industry in China enjoys all these itemized advantages and more, including the ability to create innovative charging solutions for various categories of EV owners. Additionally, the quality of EV chargers coming out of China is at par with that coming from the United States and Europe, making it more desirable when the competitive prices of these products are put in perspective.
II. Where to Buy EV Chargers from China?
Various opportunities to purchase your EV charger from China are numerous, and all it takes is knowing where to look. Some of the places are highlighted below.
Online searches – Utilizing an online search engine like google is often the first place to start your search for EV chargers in China. However, a good understanding of standard search operators will make it easier. Using operators like AND, OR, and NOT can help you filter the millions and sometimes billions of results that these search engines return, leaving you with the most helpful search result.
Exhibitions and trade fairs – China holds a lot of trade fairs and exhibitions where manufacturers, including EV charger manufacturers, come to display their products and get chit-chatty with prospective customers. You can take advantage of one of such exhibitions to meet these manufacturers and place an order for your EV charger.
III. Which EV Charger Types can I Buy and Import from China?
Depending on your needs and requirements, there exist three options from which you can choose. These options include levels 1, 2, and three chargers. However, your battery capacity, the brand of the electric vehicle, and the amount of time you often spend on the road will be critical in deciding on which of the three options to select. Let’s look at the three EV charger types.
- Level 1 Charger – This charger is usually for low voltage supply household charging, suitable for residentials. It is often powered by a 120v electricity source typical for most homes, especially in most North American homes, and outputs between 1.2 and 2.4 kW, making it the slowest of the three charger types. Its slow charging rate can take up to 8 to 10 hours to charge your EV battery. However, it is mainly used overnight when the load on the grid is lower and EV owners are not on the road. This charger is often suitable for EV owners that drive short distances during the day and charge at night.
- Level 2 Charging Station – This charger is faster than a level 1 charger, but it is still not the fastest of the three charging options. It uses an electricity supply of 230v and can output up to 22kw of power, making it charge EVs faster than the type 1 charger. This charger is suitable for individuals that travel medium distances during the day and is often available in public places for EV drivers to charge their batteries.
- Level 3 DC Fast Charger – This charger is the fastest of the three charging options as it uses a Direct Current (DC) of 480v electricity to supply up to 350kW of power to the EV. This is usually suitable for businesses offering fast charging to EV owners traveling long distances on the highways.
➤ Related Article: How to Choose Your Proper Home EV Charger?
IV. What should I Know Before Importing EV Chargers?
Placing an order for the supply of EV chargers can be as simple as placing a call through to the sales department of the manufacturing company or even by just filling a simple order form on the manufacturer’s website. However, without considering the critical criteria required for the successful delivery of the charger, it may end in regret or even in the loss of huge sums of money. Here are some important considerations you should clarify before filling out that order form.
- Charging Level – The charging level and speed of the charger is very important as it informs you of how fast the charger can go. Your charging requirements, which are a function of your battery capacity and your usual traveling time during the day, will help you decide on the best EV charger with the best charging level for your requirement. For instance, if you travel long distances to work every day, you will likely do well with an EV charger that charges faster and can significantly recharge your battery in a few hours. Unlike if you rely on a level 1 charger for long-distance traveling, the result might be frustrating as it will be unable to significantly charge your battery.
- Charging Standard – Depending on the location, charging standards differ and affect your choice of an EV charger. For instance, the charging standards in Asia are primarily different from what you have in Europe and America. Some countries use the J1772 charging cable and sockets, while others use the type 2 charging plug and socket. So, ordering an EV charger that is not compatible with the charging standards of your local framework might only end in frustrations and render the charger useless.
- Charging Communication Protocols – The protocols employed in communication between EVs and charger is another critical consideration worth evaluating before deciding on the type of EV charger to purchase. For most manufacturers, the standard communication protocol is ISO 15118, which allows for a plug and charge capability, but it is not the case for all EV charger manufacturers. Some manufacturers employ Open Charge Point Interface (OCPI), while some utilize Open Smart Charging Protocol (OSCP). It is crucial to consider the charging communication protocols of the manufacturer if it is compatible with what is available locally.
V. How do I Import EV Chargers from China?
After adequately considering the pre-importation requirement and critically assessing all pre-requisite considerations, placing your order to a vital EV charger should be done methodically. Here are the steps you may follow to successfully import your EV charger from China.
- Choose your EV Charger Type – Choosing the EV charger that meets your requirements is the first step in the process. This choice will entail identifying your electrical supply capacity, the brand or type of your EV and charging sockets, and your daily traveling routine. Sometimes you might have to call the manufacturer to itemize every one of your requirements to be sure they fully understand it and agree on the most suitable charger that meets your needs. Make sure to go through these requirements one final time before giving the go-ahead to manufacture and ship the EV charger.
- Consider Charging Speed and Power Supply – The charging speed of your preferred charger and your local power supply capacity should correlate so this does not become a futile exercise. For example, preferring a type 2 charger when the power supply available locally is a 120v supply will only lead to inefficient use of power and an ineffective EV charger. The power supply will not be able to power the charger to full capacity and might even damage the charger as the optimum power supply for which it was designed is not supplied.
- Match the Connector Type – Ensure that the charging connector and socket match as manufacturers manufacture different connectors based on the local electrical framework and applicable electrical standards. A type 1 connector will not be compatible with a DC fast-charging connector as the connecting pins are different. The fast chargers often have more connecting pins for a faster supply of power to the battery, while type 1 has fewer connector pins making it slower in charging. Hence it is essential to confirm the connector type when placing your order.
- Confirm the Quantity and Quotation – The number of EV chargers you can order may vary for different manufacturers. Some manufacturers require a certain number of quantities as minimum order, while others might require less. However, you must confirm their minimum order requirement when placing your order to avoid any misunderstandings. Also, it would be best to verify the quotation and prices for the number of EV chargers you are about to order, as discrepancies in the quotation are common occurrences when placing an order overseas.
- Produce and Pay – Different manufacturers have different payment policies as some will require a 50% payment before production can begin. In comparison, some might even require a 100% payment before commencing production. Nonetheless, it is good to understand their payment policies before mandating them to produce.
VI. 4 Problems you may run into when Importing EV Chargers from China
Most processes in production and importation have shortcomings that may occur at some point. And while importing EV chargers from China is no different, an awareness of these challenges beforehand can save you from a ton of headaches. Some of these challenges are highlighted below.
- Failed Safety Regulations & Certificates – Safety is a critical part of any product manufactured within and outside of the intended country of use. Hence a certificate is often issued to ascertain that it has passed required safety standards and regulations. EV chargers are no exception, as they are required to pass the set safety requirements and regulations so that they don’t constitute a source of harm to the user. The manufacturer often issues the Product Test Certificate (PTC) to show that the EV chargers have been tested per the country of destination’s set safety standards. In the US, the PTC is often composed of ASTM F963 and CPSIA, while EN 71 -1,2,3 and a CE mark are often sufficient for European countries.
- Quality Issue – Like the certificate required for safety, the quality test is also necessary for the EV charger to meet the requirements and quality standards set by the intended country of use. However, the manufacturer also has to meet the quality requirements you demanded when you placed your order. Also, the manufacturer has to satisfy the international quality management system ISO 9001:2015.
- Incompatible EV charging connector – This challenge is common but avoidable if it was one of the considerations evaluated pre-production and importation. It is essential that you understand the available local electrical frameworks, including sockets and plug standards, to avoid this problem.
- Delayed Shipment & Delivery Date – Doing a background check on the manufacturer can often help avoid this problem. Sometimes, manufacturers often make promises they cannot fulfill, especially when it comes to the order’s delivery date and shipment date. While an unforeseen circumstance can cause delays in shipment, it is always instructive to read up on customer feedback online to find out if it is peculiar to the manufacturer.
To wrap up, importing an EV charger from China shouldn’t be too difficult if you know where to look and the critical factors to consider when carrying out such activities. Also, an awareness of possible challenges that may occur in production and importation is equally as important as knowing where to look. Ultimately, you want an EV charger that meets your requirements, including the charging speed, the power supply requirements, and the minimum quantity you can order per time. Also, you don’t want to forget to do a background check on the manufacturer, as key information from their previous customers can hint at the possible problems you might face using the manufacturer to import EV chargers from China.