Today, the automobile industry is turning to electricity as a power source for consumer vehicles, and driver demand for workplace charging stations is increasing. Fortunately, the federal government is providing billions of dollars in funding to support new publicly accessible infrastructure for EV charging.
By 2040, hundreds of thousands of EV chargers will be available at workplaces across the United States. Employees can use these power sources to reduce downtime and extend the range of their vehicles, giving them more freedom to drive in their off-hours, while employers can use the chargers as a revenue generator and a PR tool that shows they are investing in a greener future.
What is Workplace EV Charging
As the demand for electric vehicles grows, workplace charging will be key to providing employees with a reliable power source for their cars. Understanding the basics of workplace charging can help employers and employees gain confidence in its benefits.
The Basics of Workplace EV Charging
Workplace charging is a technology that provides employees with access to EV charging stations by placing 120V or 208V outlets or direct current fast charging (DCFC) equipment on company property. These charging stations can supply power to plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and battery electric vehicles (BEVs).
Why Employers Should Invest
As organizations adopt environmentally and socially conscious business models that promote sustainable growth, they are looking to bolster their public reputation. Placing EV chargers in visible locations is a subtle yet substantive way for companies to tell the world that they are investing in a greener future.
Many people want to work for environmentally conscious organizations that provide opportunities for meaningful engagement. They want to be involved in environmental initiatives that mitigate climate change and are likely to be happier, more satisfied, and more productive when they are working with employers that share these values. Companies can attract and retain eco-conscious employees by offering EV charging as a perk that incentivizes them to be loyal.
Infrastructure Considerations for Workplace EV Charging
When it’s time to adopt a new technology, organizations need to understand how it fits into their existing infrastructure. This way, they can select the type and number of devices that work best with their current and future operations.
Types of Workplace Charging
Today, fast EV charging facilities can be found at many businesses and organizations, including libraries, restaurants, coffee shops, and other dedicated charging stations.
To understand how to choose EV chargers for the workplace, companies should understand the three types of EV chargers available in today’s marketplace.
Level 1 EV chargers utilize a residential AC outlet rated at 120 volts. They can charge a PHEV in five to six hours or charge a spent BEV battery to 80 percent in 40 to 50 hours.
Level 2 EV chargers use a 240-volt residential AC outlet or a 208-volt commercial AC outlet to provide charging at a rate that is up to ten times faster than Level 1 EV chargers. These devices can charge a PHEV in 2 hours or less or charge a spent BEV battery to 80 percent in four to ten hours.
Direct Current Fast Charging (DCFC)
Direct current fast charging (DCFC) chargers can provide large amounts of power to BEVs in 20 minutes to 1 hour. This facility is typically installed near heavily trafficked areas and is incompatible with most PHEVs.
Assessing Charging Needs
As electric vehicles become more accessible, consumers who adopt them as their primary mode of transportation will need access to charging infrastructure. Organizations must estimate their current and future need for EV charging, predict the number of drivers that will use their chargers on any given day, and account for the costs of providing power. They should also contact their utility to see if discounted rates for EV charging are available.
Businesses will also need to decide how they will provide access to EV services. The number of people who utilize the stations may influence the type and number of chargers a business chooses to install. Companies must determine what building modifications are necessary for the chargers to be installed and calculate how to achieve a return on their investment.
Selecting the Ideal Charger Features
Companies need to select facilities with features that best serve their priorities while providing employees with the power and convenience they need.
Charging Speed Options
An EV charger’s speed affects its ability to serve its users. Level 1 chargers that use standard residential outlets can be slow and impractical, so most companies choose to install Level 2 commercial facilities that can easily charge a vehicle during normal business hours. Fast DC chargers are fairly expensive to install and may be an impractical investment for most businesses.
Connectivity and Network Features
EV chargers need secure and robust network connections for sharing information between drivers, business owners, and utility companies. Networks allow charging station owners to control access to power, track usage, and collect payments. They can also help operators monitor and optimize charger performance in real time, determine when maintenance is needed, and install software upgrades without needing to be onsite.
EV charging stations serve a diverse array of electric vehicle drivers, so their user interface needs to be accessible, intuitive, and easy to use. Screens should be easy to navigate and display clear instructions. Customers should have a variety of payment options available and be able to access additional information and support as needed.
Implementing Workplace EV Charging
While workplace EV charging can be a considerable investment for any business, it can be exceptionally rewarding when the planning, installation, and rollout are well executed.
Before businesses can install EV charging facilities, they need to assess how they will physically integrate their new systems into their existing infrastructure.
Evaluating Electrical Capacity
Installing an EV charger is a non-trivial process. Before the device can be integrated into a building’s power system, a qualified electrician must conduct a detailed site analysis and evaluate the grid connection. Some buildings and electricity meters may need upgrades that require a significant investment in time, labor, and resources.
Load Management Strategies
Load management involves balancing energy use while electric vehicles are charging. During peak demand times, it lowers the supply of energy to reduce the burden on the electrical grid. It also provides more power during off-peak hours when energy is less expensive and balances power over multiple charging stations. These operations can be static and pre-scheduled, or they can be programmed or monitored to dynamically direct energy where it is needed most.
Charger Placement and Compliance
EV charging stations must comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines and be accessible to people with disabilities. They must provide people who use wheelchairs or other assistive facility freedom of movement around and clear access to the charger. EV facility installations must comply with the manufacturer’s guidelines, local regulations, building code requirements, and local and national electrical codes and standards.
Cost Analysis and ROI
To get the most out of their investment in EV charging facilities, businesses should consider their initial costs and estimate their ROI over time.
Initial Investment Breakdown
The initial investment needed to equip, install, and operate an EV charging facility is significant. Equipment costs can vary based on the number of charging units, points, and the type of charging technology employed. Companies must also pay for permits and inspections and hire professionals to take on electrical work to ensure safe, reliable operation.
After the EV charging facility is installed, businesses must pay for utilities, monitoring and operation, payment services, internet access, and occasional repairs.
The upfront costs of installing EV charging stations can be offset by charging employees for power. Partnerships with utility companies and pay-per-use or subscription pricing models can be used to cover the cost of providing employees with a convenient charging option.
Incentives and Tax Credits
Businesses that install new EV charging facilities can benefit from generous tax incentives and credits provided by the Inflation Reduction Act. Although EV chargers are not fully tax deductible, the tax credits can save companies hundreds of thousands of dollars the year the facility is put into place.
When a business installs EV charging facility, it needs to consider how it will operate, be maintained, and provide value from day to day.
Final Inspection and Compliance
Before a business makes EV charging available, its facility must be inspected to confirm that it meets the National Electrical Code (NEC) and local building codes and regulations. A licensed contractor can perform a preliminary inspection of the wiring and connections after installing the charging equipment to ensure it will pass local government inspections.
Maintenance and Upkeep
Companies that install EV charging facilities must also maintain it and keep up with any necessary software updates and upgrades. Annual maintenance costs can vary but are typically relatively low. Generally speaking, stations must be regularly cleaned, checked for potential safety hazards, and tested to ensure they function properly.
Tips for Safe Charging
Outdoor exposure and regular use can make EV chargers susceptible to wear. Chargers must be free from damage to be safe. Plugs should fit securely into the car’s charging port, and users should avoid using the chargers in extreme or wet weather conditions.
H2: The Recommendation for Workplace EV Charging Solution
Today, some of the best workplace EV charging solutions on the market are offered by En Plus. In particular, the Cubo Series AC Charger integrative system provides businesses with a highly efficient and reliable EV charging solution. This EV charger can provide two vehicles with up to 370 miles of driving range on a one-hour charge. Its space-saving floor-standing design includes a built-in RCD Type A hookup with 6 mA DC residual current protection and leakage detection, plus a MID-certified energy meter to ensure safe, accurate charging. The 2x7kW or 2x22kW output enables two electric vehicles to charge at the same time, which increases the EV charge utilization rate.
The Cubo Series charging station is built to last and comes standard with a three-year warranty. Its robust galvanized steel housing is built to withstand corrosion and bad weather, but it can also be installed in an enclosed structure like a parking garage. The Evchargo Cloud platform allows business owners and operators to view and maintain charge points and administer multiple chargers at once. Owners can also use the platform to customize the charging station with their brand logo, corporate color scheme, and slogan.
Drivers can use a proprietary smart mobile app to monitor charging status and costs. The app’s functionality, RFID authentication, and plug-to-go capabilities allow for easy and secure operation.
Future Trends and Sustainability
The need for sustainable, clean power sources is driving innovation in the EV charging industry. Understanding future trends can help businesses get excited about investing in a brighter future.
Advancements in Charger Technology
The technology that drives EV charging equipment is quickly evolving. In the future, drivers will be able to utilize efficient wireless charging technology that allows them to charge their cars on a pad. They may also be able to take advantage of smart charging, automated payment systems, and solar-powered charging stations.
The Role of Legislation and Environmental Initiatives
In the United States, government initiatives and regulations will soon drive businesses to adopt EV charging stations at the workplace. Incentives like grants, rebate programs, and tax credits will support the installation of EV charging equipment and foster a more sustainable future for drivers.
As more businesses and government agencies encourage green commuting, it’s only a matter of time before EV charging stations become a normal part of daily life. Today, forward-thinking companies are turning to EV charging solution providers like EN Plus to acquire technology that helps them attract eco-conscious employees and build a positive public image. EV technology represents a sustainable future, and EN Plus is leading the way with robust and advanced charging solutions.