More and more businesses are moving away from their fossil-fuel fleets to plug-in hybrid and adopting all-electric vehicles these days. It is easy to see why when so many companies have sustainable motoring as a part of their corporate and social responsibility policies. Why would you continue to run old technology when electric vehicles (EVs) provide so many advantages, not least in boosting a brand’s green credentials?
And yet there is a cost associated with switching from fossil fuels to EVs. Not only do you have to establish the capital cost of the fleet whether you intend on buying vehicles outright or leasing them but you also need to consider the necessary charging infrastructure, as well. Although charging an electric car’s battery from a three-in mains outlet is technically possible, it will be slow and, worse still, could be unsafe. Given that the production of fossil-fuel-powered cars will cease at the end of this decade, it is consequently not surprising to hear how many companies are buying their own commercial EV chargers.
Indeed, as the 2020s draw to a close, you can only expect the demand for commercial EV charging equipment to grow. Therefore, forward-thinking businesses are already focussed on perhaps the most important consideration of all – adopting this new technology sooner rather than later. If you and your businesses are already committed to such a switchover, what are the other considerations you should be weighing up? Read on to find out.
1. Location and Property
To begin with, you will need somewhere suitable for your EV chargers to go. In many cases, businesses already possess suitably sized car parks outside of their offices where charging equipment can be located. Typically, wallboxes will be fixed to parking bays close to the main building for security and convenience. However, robust floor-standing units are also available that can be fitted further afield and, perhaps, charge multiple cars in neighbouring bays simultaneously.
Please note that it is possible to install EV chargers even if you have no car park but you do have access to off-street parking. In addition, the lease of your business premises will make a difference. Owner-occupiers will be fine but if you rent your commercial premises, then you ought to check what is allowed outside. For now, the main thing to take on board is that in the majority of cases, fitting EV chargers at rented commercial premises is possible.
2. EV Fleets and Capacity
The next thing to consider is how much charging capacity you will need. Some offices may want to be able to charge their entire sales team’s cars when they turn up for the weekly sales meeting. Others may have electrically powered delivery vans that they want to charge up overnight and on weekends. The size and scale of your electric fleet will impact on the capacity you need.
As previously mentioned, some EV chargers can charge more than one electric car at a time. This may affect how fast the process is, however. Therefore, you may still need to ramp up capacity to meet peak demand. Fortunately, there are many different chargers around from the likes of Sevadis and EO, to name but two manufacturers, that will offer a range of charging capacities to suit all business models.
3. Public and Private Usage
Although many businesses will want the sole use of their EV chargers, not all will. If you run a restaurant or a visitor attraction, for instance, then providing EV chargers for customers may be a good way to monetise their use of the car park. There again, you may have a forecourt where you will want to charge your own car while also levying a fee for others to do so at other times. If so, then check out the commercial options available, some of which also double-up as electronic advertising hoardings, before opting for a particular charger.
4. Installers and Suppliers
If you have decided on an EV charger manufacturer, then don’t immediately jump into purchasing your chosen system. Many businesses will benefit by turning to an approved installer instead. According to Go Electrix, an established EV charging equipment fitter that covers London and Essex, it is often more cost-effective to buy your equipment through the company that will go on to install it for you. This is because they tend to offer favourable pricing thanks to pre-existing arrangements with charger manufacturers.
In addition, when you buy your EV charger from an approved installer, you should be better placed to purchase the right equipment. Typically, professional installation companies will conduct site surveys at commercial premises so that the equipment you buy doesn’t just do the job for which you intend it but also looks good, as well.
5. Three-Phase Versus One-Phase Installations
Note that not all commercial premises have three-phase wiring installations as many factories or other places of work that have a high energy demand may enjoy. This may place a limit on the sort of EV charging equipment you can invest in. Typically, single-phase wiring systems can only support up to 7kW chargers while three-phase ones often go up to 22kW. Therefore, if you are considering switching from fossil-fuel cars in your fleet to EVs, then you might also weigh up the merits of a complete rewire so that a three-phase installation will be possible.
6. Grant Funding
Finally, you need to know that you are not on your own when it comes to funding the installation of a commercial EV charger system at your place of work. This is because the government provides grants to businesses so long as the sort of EVs they have bought and the charging equipment they intend on installing are compliant. Many are, so there is still plenty of choice.
Check out the government’s OZEV scheme. Up to £15,000 is available for commercial EV charger installations per application. In fact, you could get as much as £500 per parking bay you convert into a charging zone. This dramatically reduces the amount of finance you’ll have to find from within your business development budget, of course, so don’t miss out.