Successfully installing electric vehicle chargers for your staff, visitors, or the public
Sustainability is increasingly a priority for businesses. As companies try to reduce their carbon footprints, attention has turned to how employees commute to work: the majority of workers drive to work alone, and road-based travel contributes to 35.7% of greenhouse gas emissions in Auckland, and 18% of emissions in Australia.
While there are a number of ways to encourage green commuting, an appealing and practical option for many companies is to install electric vehicle chargers at the workplace. Not only does this support EV uptake and the move away from combustion engines, but it also provides a highly valued perk to employees.
Here we take you through everything you need to know about implementing EV charging at the workplace, from the benefits to all the big questions to consider.
Companies may have a variety of reasons for installing EV chargers, from satisfying employee needs to actioning a company sustainability plan to attracting new customers to their doors. Here are a few of the up-sides to consider:
Once you’ve decided that installing EV chargers at work ticks enough of your benefit boxes, there are some decisions to make...
There are a number of questions to answer before installing EV chargers. Keep reading to find out all of the aspects to consider, or click through for a specific answer.
When deciding how many EV chargers to install, there are a number of important factors: your budget, the number of parking spots you have, and the number of electric vehicles that would be charging. Your budget and physical space are typically set, but the number of EVs depends on a few considerations.
First, who do you want to use the charging stations? You may want to limit their use to company electric vehicles, offer them to all members of staff, or make them available to the public for a casual use fee.
If you’re making chargers available to staff, a survey of your team is an important step. Ask everyone if they have an EV already, whether they’re thinking of purchasing one in the next few years, and how often they would want to charge at work. Once you take into account your staff needs, electric fleet vehicles, and any chargers that you want to make available to the public, you should have a good sense of how many EV chargers you’ll need.
It’s also a good idea to make additional parking spots ‘EV ready’ by putting the wiring in place, so if you expand the number of EV charging spots in the future, much of the work is already done.
Like many EV charger decisions, the type of charger you choose depends largely on your budget, electric capacity, and the type of people who will use the chargers.
Firstly, there’s the cost. Installation prices vary depending on the distance between the electric main board and the charging station, but the type of charger is the most significant cost variant. Installing a two-vehicle fast charger costs upwards of $100,000, whereas a 7kW or 22kW charger that accommodates two vehicles will typically be one tenth of that price.
Another consideration is your building’s electric capacity. It’s a quick job for an electrician to check what your electric capacity is, and inform you of how many 7kW, 22kW or 150kW chargers you can install without requiring additional power like a mains power upgrade or solar panels.
As well as cost and capacity, much of the decision depends on who will be using your EV chargers and how quickly they need to recharge. Fast chargers are seen as the gold standard, and they’re often the right choice for businesses with a mobile sales force, electric fleet vehicles that are constantly on the move, or a plan to use EV chargers to attract short-visit customers.
However for many organisations, fast chargers aren’t necessary or even preferable. If you want to install chargers for staff who spend most of the day at the office, there’s no real downside to charging throughout the day at a slow charger, as their vehicles will be parked all day anyway. In fact, in these cases using fast chargers can be an issue, as it means that employees need to be available to move their vehicles when they finish charging, disrupting their work.
Tip: If you choose smart EV chargers with load balancing, you could have an electric capacity of 50kW and three 22kW chargers, and still allow three vehicles to charge simultaneously.
In deciding where to place your EV chargers, you’ll need to balance a few considerations. You may want your EV chargers to be in the VIP parking spots close to the building as an extra perk, or for them to be easily seen from the entrance to display your green credentials. If your chargers are open to the public or visitors, making them easy to find is also important.
However, there’s also the practical and logistical side, which is that the closer your EV charging stations are to your electric mains board, the less digging or cabling is required and the cheaper your installation will be. Because of this, you may need to compromise on location to find a spot that’s both cost-effective and suitable.
One issue that EV charge providers face is ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicles using the EV car parks. This detracts from many of the benefits that you’re trying to achieve - perks for EV drivers, encouraging greener commutes - and if you’re monetising your chargers, it means missing out on revenue.
However, there are a few things you can do. One is implementing Parkable’s EV charger management software, which tracks which chargers are in use and allows EV drivers to quickly report instances of ICE vehicles parking in the EV spots. This makes it easy for administrators or facilities managers to monitor the EV chargers and be alerted to problems without manual checking.
Clear sign-posting is another part of the solution. Signs should be installed at eye-level, and there should also be markings on the ground. One tip is to use wording like ‘EV charging only’ rather than ‘EVs only’, to make it clear that the car parks are for electric vehicle charging, not EVs needing to park.
One question that many workplaces have is whether they can install EV chargers in a leased car park. While landlord permission is needed, often rental contracts have clauses allowing for improvements to the property. When the installation of EV chargers is framed as a property improvement, landlords are generally amenable to the suggestion.
In some instances, deciding whether to provide free or paid EV charging is simple. If your EV chargers are used by company fleet vehicles, it makes sense that charging should be a business cost. If you’re in hospitality or retail, you may also want to provide free charging to attract new customers to your business. On the other hand, commercial properties wanting to generate extra revenue from the car park will want to charge a fee for both parking and EV charging.
But what about your staff? Should EV charging be a free perk, should staff pay for the cost of electricity, or do you want to recoup the costs of the EV chargers by making a profit?
This will depend on your reasons for installing the chargers, as well as whether regular parking at your workplace is free or paid. If you’re motivated by increasing EV uptake among your team, offering free charging at the workplace could be a great incentive. However, the cost of charging an EV is still very low compared to buying petrol or diesel, so setting a usage fee shouldn’t put off your staff either.
If staff usually pay to park onsite at work or if parking is a scarce commodity, you can also incentivise EV uptake by making the cost of parking and charging equal or lower to that of parking an ICE vehicle, or by giving EV drivers (even those not charging their vehicle) priority in the car park.
Generally, EV charging fees are based on either electricity usage, time plugged in, or both. However, if you have a few different types of drivers using your EV chargers - your staff, your fleet drivers, VIP visitors, the public - you may want to charge different rates.
Parkable’s EV charger software allows drivers to easily pay for charging based on kWh, time or a combination of the two, and allows organisations to provide free charging for some drivers while setting a fee for others.
If your EV chargers are for internal use only, it may be possible for staff to manage their use and track availability through group chats on platforms like WhatsApp, Slack, or MS Teams. Shared online calendar tools like Calendly or Skedda are another option, allowing staff to book a charger when they think they’ll need one. However, these platforms have several limitations as their intended use is broad, rather than specific to workplace EV charger management.
Another option is to use built-for-purpose EV charger management software. Parkable’s award-winning app and admin panel make it simple for drivers to check charger availability from their phones and keep track of their EV while it’s charging.
Administrators and facilities managers use the Parkable admin panel to see who is charging, monitor stations remotely, adjust charging fees to keep stations in use and get a sense of how demand is changing over time. Plus, because Parkable’s software integrates with EV chargers, drivers can only begin a charging session by using the app, which prevents people from charging without payment.
Learn more about how Parkable can help, or get in touch - we partner with high-quality EV charger installers to provide a complete software and hardware package for staff, visitor, and public EV charging.
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