There isn’t a one-size-fits-all EV charge point solution. The best way to ensure your solution offers maximum value and convenience is to consider the very specific needs of the people who will be using it, whether that’s residents, employees or customers.
There are a few initial basics to consider, such as charge point power, expected vehicle dwell times, tariff requirements and fleet duty cycles. Slower charging solutions are better for vehicle batteries and allow access to variable tariffs but are less likely to be appropriate in locations where drivers only stop briefly.
Getting it right means evaluating what the drivers using your charging points are trying to achieve on their journey and tailoring your solution accordingly.
1. Build around the journey
Even the best possible charging solution won’t be much use in the wrong location. Ensuring a charging point delivers maximum benefit relies on identifying the places where drivers will naturally stop as part of their existing daily routines. For many drivers, this will either be their homes or workplaces.
Once we’ve understood where people stop, we also need to think about why. Have they parked up to spend the night at a hotel? Are they doing their weekly supermarket shop? Are they having a brief break during a long journey?
These are the sorts of considerations that offer insight into the length of time vehicles are likely to remain parked and to choose the appropriate charging solution based on this.
Choosing charging points based on average parked time:
- Overnight: 3-7kW charging will be suitable
- 4-6 hours: 3-22kW charging will be suitable
- 2-4 hours: 7-22kW charging will be suitable
- 1-2 hours: 22kW+ charging will be suitable
- Under an hour: 50kW+ charging will be suitable
- On-the-go: 100kW+ charging preferential
2. Consider vehicle compatibility
It’s important to consider vehicle compatibility when investing in any charging point solution. EVs will have a different maximum charge level, will be compatible with different connectors and will only in some instances be suitable for rapid charge solutions. Installing 22kW units does not necessarily mean that everyone can charge at that power. For instance, the vast majority of EVs charge at 3-11kW even when using a 22kW unit. Gaining insight into the vehicles that will be using the solution is important for investing wisely.
3. Look at the landscape
Once you’ve considered the where and why, it’s also important to look at the aesthetics of the environment in which you plan to install your charging points. Consider whether you’d be complementing or detracting from your proposed location.
If you're planning an on-street installation, the chances are you will detract from the environment unless you go for discreet, less intrusive sockets that are integrated into the street furniture.
For a car park installation, it’s also important to assess whether you’re working with walls, whether your solution is sufficiently durable and how effectively you can make use of the space, such as opting for double-headed sockets in adjacent parking bays.
4. What’s the use?
Installing the right charging point in the right location is a big part of the battle, but more needs to be done to truly realise the full EV potential.
Engagement campaigns that actively educate key audiences about the new charging point and the cost and convenience benefits of switching to an EV will play a significant role in driving usage of the charging point, as well as more widespread EV adoption.
Finally, whether you are an employer, developer or local authority will make a difference to how best you meet the needs of people considering an EV. The following outlines some of the considerations you should make before investing in EV chargers.
Different boroughs will need to offer a different mix of charging solutions based on residents’ specific requirements.
A key initial consideration is how many residents lack access to off-street parking, which would potentially mean rolling out a significant number of on-street charging points. Getting this right can play a vital role in driving adoption. Our research has found that over 60% of UK residents are not able to install a home charger, while 89% of non-EV drivers would be encouraged to make their next car purchase an EV if they had access to a space – at home or at work – where they could charge.
Equally, it’s important to evaluate the number of public car parks in the borough and how often people park their vehicles in these for longer periods – say, next to a train station.
There might also be different areas of the borough with particularly bad air quality, which might determine where immediate attention is focused.
Minimising disruption is also an important concern, which means identifying solutions that are easy to install and that won’t need to be replaced for more than a decade. While some solutions on the market last just five years, there are high-quality EV charging solutions that last over three times as long, minimising disruption to residents and environmental impact.
Ease of use is also an important consideration for local authorities installing EV chargers, including how simple it is to use the physical charging point, as well as how intuitive the supporting software is too.
Like local authorities, residential developers installing EV charge points will want to maximise convenience and cost efficiency while minimising their environmental impact, which is why high-quality solutions with long lifespans will be a priority.
Future-proofing should be a key consideration for developers when selecting a charge point to install. By enabling the development with passive below-ground infrastructure – which can be activated without further digging or disruption - developers are well-placed for the future influx of EVs. Once adoption rates inevitably tick up, they can add more charging sockets with ease to match demand.
Installing the base infrastructure for chargers during the construction phase is far easier and cheaper than retrofitting the development at a later date. It removes the need to re-dig car parks or streets, in turn reducing unnecessary materials, construction activities and disruption to residents.
Developers will also be focused on aesthetics and whether solutions complement the existing design features of their properties.
Any added value within a proposed charging solution is also an important benefit for developers, including whether there is some element of upgradable design, such as induction charging, Internet of Things (IoT) readiness or 5G compatibility.
Commercial workplaces will have slightly different considerations, including whether charging points will be used by employees, guests or the general public, and whether there would need to be a different way of billing these groups.
With a smart approach here, workplaces can ensure that any EV charging solution they install becomes a revenue-generating investment. This becomes an even smarter investment when factoring in a government grant, the Workplace Charging Scheme, which covers up to 75% of the purchase and installation costs up to £350 per socket.
It’s also important to understand the available power supply on site and how smart charging solutions with load management capabilities can ensure this electricity is used in the most efficient way.
Choosing the correct charge point solutions can help commercial fleets reach their emission reduction goals, while reducing their overall costs. Selecting the appropriate solution will mean projecting the volume of the EV fleet in the coming years, whether they can be charged in the day or overnight, as well as the electrical capacity and physical landscape of the site.
Where it’s possible for vehicles to be parked in the depot overnight, slow charging (3-7kW) is an ideal solution, increasing the opportunity for using renewable energy and cheap tariffs while being better for vehicles’ batteries. Despite this, many drivers would prefer to avoid driving back to the depot at the end of their shift, which is why fleet owners might also choose to lobby for more on-street charging options.
Which is the right EV charge point solution for your organisation?
Our belief is that all of these considerations must inform every new charging point installation, and, as a leading EV charge point provider, we ensure that we take into account your organisation’s individual needs when helping you plan, install and maintain chargers within your workplace, development or local authority. It’s through this approach – which is tailored to the needs of the journey and the location – that the full environmental and economic benefits of EVs can be realised.