As the mass adoption of Electric Vehicles appears more inevitable with each passing year, the demand for businesses to offer charging at workplaces is increasing. However, with various manufacturers, models, charging leads and subscription costs, the whole process can seem overwhelming for what is a best-fit product for your needs.
Hopefully with this short blog post we can offer some insight from an installers perspective, and we are always happy to answer questions and discuss needs over the phone.
Questions we always ask businesses
At CW Electrical we always try to match the best fit product for a business’ needs. Thankfully being independent installers we have access to the whole market of EV charging products. Our first questions when coming up with a proposal and worth giving some thought to…
- Are these chargers for staff, visitors/public, or both?
- Do you intend on generating a revenue stream from the chargers?
- What is the dwell time for staff/visitors? (How long do people generally stay at the business?)
- What electricity supply is available at the business?
It is important to answer these questions with the future in mind to ensure the system installed will cater for the businesses needs, both now and in the future.
Future-proof your businesses EV requirements
With attractive tax beneficial lease deals on Electric Vehicles for businesses, more and more companies have made the switch from petrol to electric. However, there needs to be a way to charge these vehicles.
We often install chargers at the home premises of staff which include kWh metering so they can bill the company for electricity used. This is great when staff take the vehicles home.
However, when fleets of vehicles charge at the business, a system needs to be smart and flexible to ensure each vehicle has sufficient charge for the journeys required and the demand does not exceed the electricity supply available.
We are able to offer EV Charging systems that can prioritise users, and ‘learn’ the needs for vehicles. The system can balance the charging network with the supply available, adjusting the demand over three phases and scheduling charge times throughout the time the vehicle is parked.
Allow for easy scaling at a later stage
There may only be a few staff members with EV’s and a small demand from visitors for EV charging, however, inline with the net-zero target of 2032, the demand is only heading in one direction.
Understandably, it is hard to justify installing a large charging network based on the fact there will be a future demand. However, it is important to install a system which can be scaled with minimal costs.
Costs such as civil works, supply upgrades and landscaping can quickly accumulate, and if planned correctly, should not need to be done every time you need an additional charger. We offer systems which can easily be expanded at a later date without the need of running new cables back to the mains position.
Things such as ducting can be run underground so larger cables can be installed without the need of the disruption and costs of recurring civil works, and manufacturers offer systems where you can install the chargers in series so cable runs are shorter. These systems continue to balance the demand of the chargers with the supply available to ensure the day-to-day electricity operational requirements are not affected.
Types of charging available
Depending on the dwell time of visitors and staff this can often mean some chargers have little to no use.
Generally, for short visits then Rapid DC chargers are required. As expected, the faster the charging system, the higher the costs. Costs associated with a new power supplier to handle the demand need to be considered.
For AC charging, then 7kW or 22kW models are available. Systems such as these are great when staff or visitors are at the business premise for at least a few hours. 22kW systems are not always required due to a limited number of models having onboard AC chargers that can handle 22kW – usually there is a 11kW or 7kW.
Often a business can utilise a mix of both DC and AC chargers to cover the needs of all staff and visitors.
Generating a revenue
Costs of the installation and electricity can be recuperated by charging staff and visitors for charging. A ‘plug-in’ and then price per kWh model is most popular. Rates can be set and altered freely through a web-portal which can display the health and usage of the chargers.
For staff-only systems, then RFID cards can be provided to start and stop a charge. Usage amounts can then be downloaded and staff can be charged on for electricity used.
For visitors, depending on the system, payments can be taken through an app or some chargers have built in contactless card readers to take payments.
Subscription & Ongoing Costs
Thoughts should be made to the costs associated with operating a charging system. The back-end systems charge a percentage for payment processing, as well as monthly ‘connection costs’ for linking it to the back-end system.
As a rule of thumb, the costs associated with running a revenue generating system are higher than a staff-only system. Some manufacturers such as Easee offer a system with no ongoing charges.
It is important to balance the initial costs of a system and then the associated ongoing costs as it is common for what appears to be the ‘cheapest’ system to install ends up costing more money in the long run.
If you are interested in finding out how we can help your business integrate EV Charging then feel free to contact us.