Office And Workplace EV Charging

Considerations For Facilities Managers

TEK Chargestorm Connected 2 EV charger

If you manage a large office or other workplace, now is the time to get EV (electric vehicle) ready to meet the current and future needs of your staff and clients. This is especially so if you manage a fleet of vehicles, as bans on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans are just around the corner, in 2030.

A recent CTEK/YouGov survey1 revealed that 12% of drivers are already charging at work, and this is set to increase as EV adoption rises, especially among drivers with nowhere at home to site an EV charger.

CTEK's UK Energy & Facilities Account Manager, Kaya Ferdinand Kaya Ferdinand, UK Energy & Facilities Account Manager for CTEK, provides some guidance on the key things that facilities managers need to consider when setting up an EV network.

1. Choosing the right equipment. Charging services should be appropriate for need. Rapid direct current (DC) charge points are more costly in hardware, and network connection costs are greater, than for alternating current (AC) chargers. Our experience shows that, for offices and workplaces where drivers will generally be plugged in for two hours or more to top up their batteries, AC chargers are generally more than adequate.

As a very basic comparison, an investment of around £25,000 for a single 60 kW DC charger, with a new mains or upgraded power supply that it will likely need, allows the charging of one vehicle delivering perhaps 60 kWh (kilowatt hours) of power.

But if you use AC charging, the same £25,000 investment could potentially be used to deliver seven dual outlet 22 kW AC chargers, possibly without having to upgrade any mains power supplies. You would then have 14 outlets delivering up to 22kW each, that’s a total of 308 kWh - although the EV will limit the charge it draws in, usually to 11kW and in some cases to 7kWs or less.

In real terms, where these chargers are used as part of a payment solution, with EV drivers being billed for the power they use, this represents the possibility to deliver five times the revenue per hour, from the same investment, whilst spreading the service across a wider area.

2. Taking full advantage of workplace grants. The Government offers Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS) grants of £350 ‘per socket’ up to a maximum of £14,000 for 40 sockets. As the grants are available ‘per socket’ and not ‘per charger’, installing dual socket chargers like the CTEK Chargestorm Connected 2, where two vehicles can plug in and charge at the same time, makes sound business sense, as you will receive a £700 WCS grant for every charger installed, as well as reducing your installation costs. These chargers can be wall or pole mounted, inside or out, and CTEK also offers a 4 socket ‘back to back’ solution, where two dual socket chargers can be sited on a single pole.

3. Future-proofing your network. As charge point technology is developing all the time, you should seek to ‘future proof’ installations to ensure they can be easily expanded as demand inevitably grows. Choosing technology that is open charge point protocol (OCPP) compliant is important in this respect, as this will allow you to integrate chargers from different manufacturers on the same network, so you can take advantage of any new technology coming onto the market.

4. Using power efficiently. As the number of vehicles that require ‘charging up’ increases, focus will inevitably turn to the impact this could have on power supply.

CTEK Back to Back 4 socket charging If your building has a three-phase power supply, then it is highly beneficial to install a three-phase charger like the CTEK Chargestorm Connected 2. This ensures that all three phases of the power supply are being used equally, which helps to balance load on the system. It is of course possible to install a single-phase charger on a three-phase supply, but it is not best practice. This is because you essentially make one of the phases busier than the rest, which puts strain on the cables and isn’t good for power companies, or for the national grid in general.

For larger installations with multiple EV chargers, a dynamic load balancing system like CTEK’s Nanogrid can help you avoid high grid connection costs, by balancing the power used by the chargers against other power usages such as lifts, ventilation, lighting. Dynamic load balancing will help to optimise the EV charging network and distribute available power equally across all operational charge points, ensuring that EVs are charged as quickly as possible, while also ensuring essential systems have the power they need to operate efficiently, by maintaining a well-balanced power system.

  1. Smart integration, control and maintenance. There is now a range of software available that, if your chargers are OCPP compliant, can be integrated with your EV network to provide additional services such as invoicing, billing, energy and tariff management. With a back end management system like CTEK’s Charge Portal, you can manage and maintain your chargers online, identify any problems quickly any fix them remotely. Sophisticated reporting also enables you to optimise your charging network, as well as providing valuable data on charging and emission savings, for sustainability and ESG (environmental, sustainability and governance) reporting. For larger installations across a single or multiple sites, CTEK’s Charge Portal can be customised and integrated with customers’ own systems, be that a building’s infrastructure management system or other back office systems such as payroll, for streamlined accounting, management and reporting.
  2. Data security. Where a charge point communicates data that is personal to the consumer, that communication must be secure. Where a charge point is responsive to remote signals in a way that affects the operation of the charge point, those signals must be secure. The entire system, including the vehicle, electrical and communications connections, and the electricity grid itself, needs to be secure to protect the electricity grid, customer privacy and consumer data.
  3. Planning permission. There is normally no need for planning permission when installing EV chargers, as they fall under Permitted Development Rights, but CTEK recommends that you check with the local planning authority, as there are rules around size and location of chargers, particularly in conservation areas and for listed buildings.

There is however, a need to inform your utility company. There is a standard form to be completed when advising your utility company that you plan to install an EV charger. This is to allow forward planning of the power networks and also confirm adequate supply both in the local area and also to the building.

1 Source: SMMT/DfT

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Office And Workplace EV Charging