We met with a selection of suppliers to understand common themes and considerations around electric vehicle charging. We selected Geo Green Power as the supplier for this project, following the success of our solar panel project with them.
We worked with our supplier to identify the right solution for us, based on installing enough charging points to meet the needs of our employees. As employees would be connected to the charging point for their working day, we identified that rapid chargers were not necessary and would limit the amount of chargers that we could install. We found that installing 7.2 kilowatt (kW) chargers would be more than adequate, providing around 60 kilowatt-hours (kWh) in a working day, which is more than a full charge for most vehicles.
We decided to implement a phased approach, installing 12 charging points during the first phase and identifying a further 12 could be installed as part of a subsequent phase. This approach allowed us to spread the cost of the installation and also meet the needs of our employees both now and in the future.
To support the planned future expansion, we decided to install infrastructure to meet both phases during the first phase. Although this increased the project cost, it means that the later installation will cost less and will be less disruptive, reducing the overall cost. With our own on-site substation, we have reserved the capacity for this planned future expansion and even more charging points, should this be necessary.
We decided to have our charging bays painted green and with a logo, making them easily identifiable, look appealing and providing a visible demonstration of our commitment to being a sustainable company.
We initiated this project due to an increase in the amount of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles that are owned by our staff. Having limited experience in this subject, we decided to consult a selection of specialist suppliers to identify the best course of action to take.
Suppliers were able to advise on the right solution that met the requirements. They were also be able to advise of any funding that is available, such as the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) grant.
We quickly found that the costs can soon add up, with cabling and excavation work making up a considerable amount of the cost. Large savings were seen as the charging points were installed closer to the electrical distribution for the site. This reduced the length of cable and excavation that was required for the installation.
Be aware that the import capacity of the site is an important consideration. This is the maximum amount of power that can be drawn from the grid at any one time. The import capacity is used to identify either the maximum number of charging points that can be installed, or the power that each charger should be. The maximum capacity can be increased by submitting a request to the Distribution Network Operator (DNO), where there is availability on the local substation, but this is not always possible.
Future expansion of your charging points is a worthwhile consideration during a similar project as the infrastructure can be installed to support a larger installation. Planning cabling for a future expansion now will avoid having to excavate the same land again at a later date. Increasing the maximum import capacity for the site may also be possible, reserving the ability to reach this capacity at a later date. It is worth noting that there may be an ongoing charge for increasing the import capacity.