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Infrastructure | Workplace | business

What is the best EV charging station for the workplace?

April 14, 2022 | Wesley van Barlingen

Electric vehicles have seen growing adoption in recent years, moving from a niche alternative to a frequent sight on roads around the world. As societies push to decarbonize their economies, this trend will only accelerate: globally, electric vehicles are projected to make up 31% of the vehicle fleet by 2050. At the same time, EV drivers point to their workplaces as preferred charging locations. Currently, 39% of EV drivers charge at work, and a further 1 in 3 would do so if the option were available to them.  

Workplaces worldwide are adjusting to this new reality, with many considering electric mobility’s role in their organization. Crucially, there is an increasingly urgent need to develop suitable charging infrastructure to handle the influx of new EVs on the road. 

Of course, different workplaces have different needs based on their approach and unique situation. While some are electrifying large corporate fleets, others are looking to offer EV charging as an employee benefit or even as a paid service to visiting clients.  

Whatever your situation, EV charging is a relatively new concept with a lot to consider, so it’s easy to get overwhelmed. This blog will help you understand what your workplace should ask to identify which EV charger is the best fit for your business.

A closeup of the display of an EVBox charging station. In the background, some cars are parked in a parking lot outside of a building.

What commercial EV charging station options are there?

While EV chargers may seem similar at first glance, in reality, there are many different types, each with separate functionalities and capabilities. For one, EV chargers differ based on the power, and thus the charging speed they provide. Many also integrate smart charging features and work with intelligent charging management software, which can help ensure optimal use. 

With so many different options available, we often tend to go for the fastest, newest or most advanced. However, it may not be the right fit for your business. Before deciding on a charging solution, it’s essential to look at your business’s needs and wants and take these into account. 

A casually dressed woman is remotely-locking a blue car while walking along an underground parking lot. She is holding the car keys, a smartphone, some documents and carrying a purse on her shoulder. There are no other cars parked in the background.

Develop a future-proof EV charging business strategy

An important consideration when thinking about your charging needs is the business model you wish to use. There are many options and combinations possible, but generally speaking, it comes down to asking yourself this question:

Do you want to offer EV charging as an employee benefit, or do you want to offer it as a paid service that might also be available to visitors or clients?

Once you have decided on the business model that works best for your workplace, you can start thinking about the specific needs. To help identify these, we have listed six must-ask questions below.

6 must-ask questions to identify the right EV charger for your workplace

1. How important is the charging speed?

A decisive consideration for picking the right charger is the charging speed. Generally, the more power a charger can provide, the faster it can charge EVs. However, with greater power comes more expensive infrastructure and equipment. For example, while a direct current (DC) fast charger can charge vehicles within minutes instead of hours, on average, it also costs ten times more than an alternative –and slower– (AC) charger. So, it is essential to consider to what extent speed is useful to your needs.

For instance, if you offer EV charging as an employee benefit only, fast chargers are probably not necessary. Indeed, an 8-hour workday is enough to charge an EV fully with most Level 2 AC charging stations, which is much more cost-effective (and energy efficient) than DC fast chargers. 

EVBox infographic explaining the difference between AC and DC charging. A car is in the middle, on the right there is an AC charger and on the left a DC one. The car shows the different sockets, battery and onboard charger.

On the other hand, fast charging may be essential for EVs meant for high utilization, such as delivery vans or shared mobility vehicles. In these cases, a quick charge is crucial for keeping your fleet on the road and employees productive.

Of course, the decision to install fast or slow chargers is not an either/or scenario. In some cases, you may find that a combination of DC fast chargers and slower AC chargers for different users is the best fit. For example, you could install AC chargers to offer complimentary charging to employees while also opting for a couple of fast chargers reserved for your commercial fleet or visitors.  

2. How will your charging needs evolve in the future?

As we have seen, the number of EVs on the road will increase dramatically over the next decade, reaching 140 million vehicles by 2030. As a result, more of your employees, clients, and visitors will drive electric cars. At the same time, you might also be considering electrifying your fleet, which will require additional capacity.

Given the cost of installing EV chargers, it’s essential to consider how your workplace’s charging needs will evolve in the future. Even without concrete plans, it’s worth thinking about scalability from the get-go. For example, you could consider future-proofing your business by making sure the electrical infrastructure will be able to handle future charging loads, or by ensuring enough space is left for additional chargers.

Another consideration is simply around evolving technology. EV charging is a fast-moving field, with rapid increases in charging speed and the development of new features. At the same time, drivers’ expectations keep changing too. So, what might be an acceptable charging speed or feature set today may not be in a few years.

3. Do you need a charging management system?

While EV chargers can act as simple connectors to the grid, it’s worth considering pairing your chargers to a charging management system (CMS) to make the most of their features. A CMS brings an added level of insight and control to EV chargers, helping you make informed decisions. 

For example, it can unlock data about usage and charging behavior, allowing you to set variable pricing for peak hours, or set different fees for visitors, employees, or clients. At the same time, a CMS automates billing and payments, cutting out time-consuming non-value-added tasks from employees’ workflows. 

A closeup of three cars parked within some parking stalls outside of a building on a sunny day.

A charging management system can also optimize energy use by intelligently allocating the available capacity using features such as peak shaving and dynamic load balancing. Not only can this maximize charger use, but also keep costs under control by increasing energy efficiency. 

4. What are the restrictions or limitations of your specific location?

Once you have determined your charging needs, it’s important to take into account the restrictions and limitations of your location. Depending on the size and type of your charging infrastructure, you might need to involve site owners or local authorities to issue the required permits and comply with zoning requirements. 

In any case, it’s a good idea to think of the potential stakeholders and involve them early in the process: by hearing their concerns and addressing them from the beginning, you can avoid potential costly delays further down the line.

If your business operates across different offices, it’s vital to handle each location as separate, as they likely have different requirements and constraints, making a simple copy of a previous project unsuitable.

A modern black car is the only parked vehicle in a parking lot surrounded by some hedges.

5. Can you benefit from government incentives?

Installing EV chargers comes at a cost, so leveraging government incentives can help amortize some of the investment. Indeed, as economies seek to transition away from fossil fuels, EV chargers are a key target for development, with many countries offering benefits or rebates for their installment:

Taking advantage of these incentives can significantly reduce your workplace’s investment.

6. What about after the purchase?

Building the charging infrastructure is only the first step in the operating life of an EV charger. Maintaining it throughout its use is essential for optimizing performance and ensuring longevity. As a faulty charger can not only leave workers dissatisfied but can also impact your operations directly if your electric fleet cannot charge. 

An important aspect to consider when investing in EV charging stations is the warranty cover. While in the EU, a 2-year guarantee is mandatory, many companies offer extensions for multiple years after that. Given the nature and high cost of the product, a suitable warranty cover can avoid expensive repairs if any problem arises further down the line.

Beyond warranty, EV charging companies offer a host of after-sales services, including commissioning, support, and maintenance. These care plans can ensure optimal uptime through preventative maintenance and a swift —often 24/7— response in case of an issue.

A closeup of an installer working on the electrical panel inside an EVBox charging station.

Electric mobility is here to stay

Regardless of your specific industry or business model, one thing is clear: the future is electric. As societies across the world embrace electric mobility, workplaces need to consider how they can adapt to this new paradigm. 

If you’re thinking of switching to EVs, whether for your own operations or to satisfy employees or clients, it’s essential to study your facility’s needs – doing so can ensure you opt for the right solution and avoid any unnecessary costs.  

We hope the above questions can help you determine your charging needs and give you an idea of what EV charger your workplace should be looking for.

 

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