How to Choose the Right EV Charging Station for your Workplace
Workplace EV Charging
Transitioning to electric vehicles (EVs) has become a logical next step for households and businesses in Australia. In 2022, we’re seeing more EV incentives for EV buyers and more charging infrastructure planned and built across the country. While organisations are pushing to decarbonise their fleets, many drivers are also looking to purchase electric cars as their next vehicles and pointing to their workplaces as preferred charging locations.
Workplaces across the globe are adjusting to this new reality, with many considering developing suitable charging infrastructure to handle the EV uptake and pivoting toward a more sustainable future. Different workplaces will have different approaches based on their needs and unique situation. It can be a mix of fleet electrifying and Workplace EV Charging offered as an employee benefit or even a paid service to visitors and customers.
For many businesses, EV charging is a relatively new concept and can be overwhelming and confusing when considered. This article will help you understand the EV charging concept and what to look for when choosing EV chargers to best fit your business.
Commercial EV charging stations and their available options
It may seem that all commercial EV charging stations are similar, but they can vary in types, capabilities and functionalities. EV chargers differ based on power and the charging they provide. Many are also designed with smart charging features and are programmed to integrate with intelligent charging management software to help optimise energy usage. Choosing the fastest, newest, and most advanced charging options might not always be the right choice. Before deciding on charging solutions, you must consider your business’s needs and demands.
Developing a future-proof EV charging business strategy
When considering charging options, you need to think about the business model that you want to sustain. Whether you want to offer EV charging as an employee benefit or to provide it as a paid service that might be available for visitors.
To identify other specific needs, you should consider:
1- The importance of charging speed:
Charging speed is one of the critical factors that can influence your choice when choosing EV charging stations. Generally, the more power the charging station can provide, the faster it can charge an electric car, meaning it’s more expensive to purchase and install. A direct current (DC) fast charger, for example, can charge vehicles within minutes instead of hours, and of course, it costs ten times more than an alternative current (AC) charging station. It is, therefore, crucial to consider your needs of how fast you need to charge the vehicles.
If you only offer EV charging for your employees as a benefit, then fast charging is not necessarily. An 8-hour working day is enough for your employees to fully charge their vehicle with a level 2 AC charging station, which is much more cost-effective and easier to install than a DC fast charger. On the other hand, if you have a fleet of delivery vans or shared mobility vehicles, speed of charging then will be vital as you want to keep your vehicles on the road and your employees productive.
In some cases, you may find combining AC and DC charging stations works better for your purpose. For instance, you can install AC chargers to offer complimentary charging for employees while opting for a couple of DC fast chargers to serve your commercial fleet and visitors.
2- Future-proof your charging infrastructure
EV is here to stay and the number of EVs on the road will only increase in the next decade to come. As a result, more and more people are switching to this option. At the same time, you will have to also consider electrifying your fleet, which will require additional capacity. It’s hence important to think ahead and consider how your charging needs will evolve in the future when the demand for charging grows. Scalability is what we are talking about. EV charging consumes a huge amount of electricity, you need to ensure that your charging infrastructure will be able to handle charging loads in the future. You will want to also secure enough space for additional chargers.
The development of technology is another aspect that you want to pay attention to. EV charging is a new and fast-moving industry with rapid changes in technology and the development of new features. EV drivers’ expectations will change over time as technology changes.
3- Requirement for charging management system
While you can simply connect your chargers to the grid and charge the vehicles. It only works for a few first chargers. When your charging infrastructure grows in the future, you will have to consider pairing your charging stations with a charging management system (CMS) to optimise your energy usage with intelligent features such as dynamic load balancing.
A CMS also gives you the ability to track and monitor all the charging sessions which can inform you of usage and charging behaviour to adjust different settings for different users. It can also optimise energy use with features such as dynamic load balancing to intelligently allocate the available capacity.
4- Consider your location’s restrictions and limitation
Once your charging needs are determined, it’s important to take into account your site’s limitations and restrictions. You might have to involve your landlord or site’s owner to request permits and comply with site requirements. This is to avoid any potential costly delay further down the line if any stakeholders raise their concerns.
It’s also important for organisations to assess each site separately if they have offices operating across different locations as they might have different requirements.
Electric vehicles are here to stay regardless of your business model and industry. Over 50% of drivers in Australia consider purchasing an electric car as their next vehicle (according to the EVC). Workplaces therefore should start considering how they can adapt to this new standard.
Read our extensive guide to learn more about workplace EV charging infrastructure and how to start planning yours.