What I’ve Learned as an Advanced Energy Intern

My name is Gwen Pratt, and I am wrapping up my marketing and communications internship at Advanced Energy. This August I will be going into my senior year at UNC Greensboro to receive a bachelor’s degree in communication studies. Although my internship lasted only five weeks, I learned a lot about the energy industry, and about electric vehicles (EVs) in particular — something I did not have much knowledge about before. I do not own an EV, so coming into this internship, most of my assumptions were based on the commentary I had heard from other people.

One idea that I believed before working at Advanced Energy was that EVs are only useful for driving short distances because they do not have great range. I also believed that gasoline cars were better for road trips/long drives since you do not have to take the time to charge them. However, I have learned that taking a road trip with an EV should not be an issue as there are many charging stations, especially off major highways. After viewing the PlugShare website, I was surprised to see how many charging stations are in North Carolina.

There are also different types of charging. Before my employment here, I was under the impression that there were just two types of charging stations, one for Teslas and another for all other types of EVs. However, there are actually multiple levels of charging and kinds of charging connectors. For example, the charging stations for non-Tesla EVs use the CHAdeMO and CCS/SAE Combo (for DC fast charging) and J1772 (for Level 1 and Level 2 charging) connectors. Level 1 and Level 2 charging are much less powerful than DC fast charging. Tesla EVs have their own connector that is used for DC fast charging as well as Level 1 and Level 2 charging. Non-Tesla EVs cannot charge at Tesla stations, but Tesla cars can charge at specific non-Tesla stations, but they must put on an adapter to the end of the car charger.

I learned that different charging stations are found at different types of locations. For example, Level 2 chargers are more common in places that you will be in for a few hours, such as recreation centers, offices, hotels, grocery stores and parking decks. DC fast chargers tend to be located more along highways and popular traffic routes. When it comes to how long it takes to charge an EV, I thought the cars charged at a constant speed, kind of like your phone or laptop. However, that is not the case. There are the various levels of charging noted above, and particularly with DC fast charging, EVs typically charge quickly from 10-20%, 20-30%, etc. up until 80%. After the car reaches 80%, it starts charging at a much slower rate.

While working at Advanced Energy, not only has my understanding of EVs expanded but my understanding of marketing and communications has as well. I have learned many skills here that I will use for the rest of my career, such as how to more effectively navigate the Microsoft suite of programs, especially Teams and Outlook, and how to host a business meeting. It has been a pleasure to work with the staff, and I have gained much practical knowledge about the industry.