As the number of electric vehicles (EVs) on the road skyrockets, drivers are adjusting their habits and looking for opportunities to top up their cars – with workplaces near the top of the list for the most desirable EV charging locations.
But how exactly do you go about installing EV charging stations at your workplace? This complete guide will provide an overview of everything you need to know to get started with workplace EV charging and highlight a few key considerations you should take into account when choosing a charging solution for your location.
Making the decision to install workplace EV charging is a significant investment – from the cost of the charging stations to the installation and any upgrades to your location’s electrical infrastructure; there are a number of aspects worth understanding before diving in.
These factors will vary based on your situation and location, but in general, these are 4 aspects to keep in mind:
Read more about how to prepare your site for installing workplace EV charging stations here.
Understanding employees’ attitudes towards and demand for workplace EV charging can help better tailor your offering and ensure your installation adequately meets their needs.
The simplest way to do this is by asking your employees about the vehicle they drive, their commuting habits, and their interest in a workplace EV charging solution, should it be available to them. This could be in the form of a survey (download a free template here), focus groups, or informal chats.
There are a number of aspects you can ask about, but the key ones should be:
Read more about assessing demand for EV charging at your workplace here.
Cost is an essential part of installing workplace EV charging stations. As with any benefit or amenity, there is a balancing act between the benefit to your employees and your business and the costs you incur.
While the price of workplace EV charging stations can vary greatly depending on the type and number of chargers, the complexity of the installation, and the specifics of your locations, the average cost of an AC charging station (excluding installation) is currently around €1,300.
Overall, the costs of a workplace EV charging station can be broken down into three categories: upfront costs, ongoing costs, and savings.
Upfront costs tend to represent the bulk of the price of workplace EV charging stations and include the purchase of the hardware, the installation, and any preparatory work or upgrades necessary on the site beforehand.
Charging ports vary greatly in shape, size, and functionality, from the simplest port with a single socket to charging stations with interactive displays and smart charging
capability. In general, the more power and features an EV charging station has, the more expensive it is to purchase and install.
As a rule of thumb, purchase and installation costs can represent as much as 60 to 80 percent of the total cost of installing the chargers and can run in the tens of thousands if you’re installing a bigger network of EV charging stations.
While installation and purchase costs may make up the bulk of an EV charging station’s cost, ongoing costs are also important to take into account, as they can add up over the years and decades of the station’s operation.
Ongoing costs include regular maintenance and repair, as well as the cost of the electricity used by the charger. These can vary greatly depending on your region and location, with the average price of electricity in the US being much lower than in Europe, for example.
Besides costs, installing workplace EV charging can also help you unlock savings and generate a return on investment. For one, there are a number of government incentives you might be able to leverage for installing EV charging, including subsidies, tax rebates, and grants.
Second, if you operate a fleet of vehicles or give your employees company cars to drive, offering them EV charging at the workplace may actually help reduce your charging costs compared to public EV charging and give you better control and visibility over your employees’ claims.
You might even be able to generate revenue from EV charging if you decide to offer it as a paid service. For instance, you might choose to offer a discounted rate to your employees while charging guests and visitors a higher rate to make up for the difference.
Read more about workplace EV charging costs here.
After establishing your company’s EV charging strategy, evaluating the demand among your employees, and determining your location's specifics, you’re ready to install the charging stations.
EV charging station installation is not a one-size-fits-all process, and the best approach will depend on your needs and the specifics of your location. What is certain, though, is that you will not be able to install a charging station without a qualified contractor.
Many charging station manufacturers will offer to install their hardware when you purchase it from them, and if not, you should be able to find a list of authorized installers who can help get your chargers set up.
We’ve explored the costs above, but time is just as important a consideration when undertaking building work at your site. As with costs, installation times can vary greatly depending on the scale and complexity of the work, but will usually take anywhere from a few days for a small-scale, simple installation to weeks or even months for a more complex, larger-scale project.
Working with your installer to understand the milestones and timelines in the project can help you minimize disruption to your workplace and ensure employees can continue to carry out their day-to-day activities.
Read more about the practicalities of installing a workplace EV charging station here.
Installing and purchasing EV charging stations may be your main focus, but it’s worth thinking about features that can help your installation build resilience and manage charging loads at your site more easily.
EV charging load management ensures you get the most out of your EV charging installation and your building’s existing connection to the grid by efficiently distributing the energy used by charging stations. One such feature is cluster load balancing.
Cluster load balancing is a type of EV charging load management that intelligently allocates the available capacity between different charging ports. It helps ensure optimal capacity utilization without overloading your building’s power supply.
To illustrate how cluster load balancing works, imagine you have 5 EV charging stations at your site, each with a power output of up to 11 kW. Suppose your building has a maximum 30 kW power capacity for EV charging: cluster load balancing helps allocate this power among the five stations to ensure it will never exceed 30 kW.
For instance, if 4 cars are plugged in simultaneously, cluster load balancing will limit the output from each EV charging station to 7.5 kW, ensuring all the vehicles can charge without going over the building’s maximum power capacity.
A key part of choosing a load-balancing strategy that works for your business is understanding the usage patterns of your workplace EV charging stations. For instance, while slower charging speeds from load balancing don’t sound optimal, it is unlikely to matter for employees working 8-hour shifts while their cars stay parked.
By contrast, if your employees usually come and go during the day and only spend a short time parked at the office, you might want to consider increasing the number of EV charging stations you install or adding higher-powered DC charging stations for employees who need a quick top-up.
Read more about EV charging load balancing for the workplace here.
As the world transitions away from internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, your employees are increasingly looking for businesses that reflect their sustainability commitments and help them lead a more environmentally friendly life.
Installing EV charging stations is a great way to empower your employees in this transition and act as a visible reminder of your business’s commitment to sustainability. In this guide, we have offered an overview of the process of installing EV charging stations and explored a few considerations to keep in mind during the project.
To learn more about workplace EV charging and the different types of charging solutions available, have a look at our workplace EV charging page.
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