Requires: Parking spaces, may require planning permission.
Works well with: Photovoltaics in particular, Wind Turbines, Hydroelectric.
Charging points for electric vehicles at the workplace are becoming essential as electric vehicle uptake increases. For instance, visitors such as customers with electric vehicles are likely to have a more positive perception of the site if it caters for their needs. Installing charging points provides the option of switching company fleet vehicles to electric vehicles.
There are a variety of charging points speeds available.
It is important to consider:
Additionally, it may be worth considering whether clients, visitors or staff are likely to be on site for relatively short periods (1-2 hours), on a regular basis that would make a rapid charger a worthwhile investment.
Charging points can be wall-mounted or where this is not practical, consider charging post variants. The cables supplying electricity to the post will need to be buried, increasing the installation costs. (2)
Consideration must be given to the total power likely to be required by the charge points on a simultaneous basis as it is unlikely that a large number of high-speed electric vehicle chargers can be accommodated by a building’s existing energy supply, at least without increasing the connection capacity. The price of increasing connection capacity depends on the load and existing congestion on the local electricity network, especially at peak times. As a result, this cost is highly locational. On particularly congested networks the distribution network operator may not allow installation of electric vehicle chargers above a certain capacity at all.
Installing electric vehicle chargers now, rather than in the future when the need has increased, could be a sensible investment, because in the future it may cost more to install the same charging capacity at the same location if other load on the network has increased.
An alternative to increasing the connection capacity is to utilise an on-site smart charging controller, to balance the energy utilised by the building within the agreed and available connection capacity. This would mean that the charging speed would be reduced at times when there was not enough capacity available (e.g., if the load in the building was particularly high).
Planning permission is usually not required for charging points however it is worth checking on the Planning Portal to be certain. (3)
At the time of writing, the UK Government’s Workplace Charging Scheme is open to grant applications, for up to the lower value of, £350 or 75% of purchase and installation costs for each charging point up to 40 points (4). It is worth checking whether there is financial assistance available for the scheme you are considering.
In the future, most electric vehicle charging is expected to be ‘smart’. This means that charging speeds can be reduced to benefit the local electricity grid at times of high electricity load on the network, and electric vehicle owners are compensated for any inconvenience. It is envisaged that vehicle to grid capability will take this further, enabling electric vehicles to discharge onto the electricity network if required, with electric vehicle owners compensated for the energy exported (5). These are examples of demand side response. For more information about this please see Changing Energy Usage.
(1) Energy Saving Trust (EST), Charging Electric Vehicles. London: EST; 2019. Available from: https://energysavingtrust.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Charging-Electric-Vehicles-Best-Practice-Guide.pdf [Accessed 26th January 2021].
(2) C. Lilly, Zap Map, Charging At Work. Available from: https://www.zap-map.com/charge-points/charging-work/ [Accessed 26th January 2021].
(3) Department for Communities and Local Government and Terraquest, Planning Portal, Electrics, Electric Vehicle Charging Points. Available from: https://www.planningportal.co.uk/info/200130/common_projects/16/electrics/2 [Accessed 26th January 2021].
(4) Office for Low Emission Vehicles and Office for Zero Emission Vehicles, Workplace Charging Scheme: Guidance for Applicants, Chargepoint Installers and Manufacturers. Available from: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/workplace-charging-scheme-guidance-for-applicants-installers-and-manufacturers/workplace-charging-scheme-guidance-for-applicants-chargepoint-installers-and-manufacturers [Accessed 26th January 2021].
(5) N. Storer, Western Power Distribution (WPD), Electric Nation: Vehicle To Grid. Bristol: WPD; 2017. Available at: https://www.westernpower.co.uk/downloads-view-reciteme/2092 [Accessed 26th January 2021].