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Ask the Experts – Power Complexities of Installing Forecourt EV Charge Points

As the electric vehicle (EV) market continues to boom, forecourt owners have an exciting opportunity to benefit from the EV transition.

Man charging EV at electric vehicle charging station

Forecourt owners are now considering installing EV charging infrastructure on their sites in addition to their petrol/diesel offering. However, the process can be complex.  

An important aspect of an EV charging project is being aware that charge points require a significant amount of power. It is crucial to determine the source of this power. Most petrol stations do not have sufficient power capacity for EV charge points. Adding the necessary power connection later depends on the capability of the local grid to support it. 

However, this should be viewed as a challenge, rather than a barrier. Planning for an EV charging installation project in advance of when you want your charge points to go live will mitigate the potential issues around power connections. 



Forecourt Charging: Competing for Power 

The earlier forecourt owners plan the installation and consider whether their forecourt has a viable power connection or not, the better chance they have of being able to obtain the necessary connection if their current power supply is not sufficient. If owners leave discussions around power until a much later date, when the market has advanced and EV chargers are more abundant as forecasts suggest, other companies will likely be looking to obtain new power connections for their projects; not only for EV charging projects, but for commercial property builds and other developments with high power demands. This means, soon, others could be applying for the same power connection forecourt owners are looking to secure.  

 This competitiveness around power supply will only grow and will have a significant impact on whether the EV charging development at a forecourt can go ahead. So, if you are interested in installing charging infrastructure, look to start those conversations with experts now so you can capitalise on the opportunity for grid connections before it is too late. 

 What is more, DNO upgrades can take a long time to process and see through, all the more reason to investigate what energy capacity your forecourt has now and whether you will need to make an application for a new connection. 

Associated Costs of Power Upgrades 

Another aspect of this discussion is the expense of upgrading a grid connection. Whilst it can come at a cost, forecourt owners who opt for a fully-funded business model with their charge point operator do not have to worry about funding this. Owners will only have to invest in the upgrade themselves if they choose to pay for the infrastructure project. Whereas a fully-funded solution, like the one Mer offer, means the entire process, from planning to installation and operation to maintenance, comes at no cost to the forecourt owner.  

Applying for New Grid Connections 


Finally, concerns may arise around the actual application process and seeking these new grid connections. Forecourt owners should not be concerned by this, either, for a fully funded model with Mer takes care of the entire process. Mer can apply for the POC for you. True to the ethos of a ‘full turnkey solution’, Mer can use its experience and knowledge to see the project through from start to finish, from seeking planning permission if required to securing the necessary connection upgrades to managing the health and safety aspects of the install. 

 There is also an option to consider load balancing technology, which can help in the event overcoming energy capacity restrictions on a forecourt is proving challenging. This technology fairly distributes the available power to multiple EVs when plugged in. This increases the peak charging speed per socket and therefore improves the charging experience for drivers by increasing, whilst also enabling more efficient use of the power available at the forecourt. 

 When viewed as a value-added service, rather than a bank breaker, EV charging is a goldmine opportunity for forecourt owners. The incremental spend driven through their current convenience offering will bring an additional revenue stream. Working with an experienced CPO such as Mer, forecourt owners can rely on seeing a strong, already-established customer base come to their sites; Mer uses its roaming agreements and marketing channels to drive customers to its sites and boost utilisation.