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Electric Vehicle charging at Garden Centres: All there is to know about offering EV charging to your customers

Read our breakdown of the different charging options available, and which ones we think are the most suitable for Garden Centres.

It’s no secret that the future of personal travel is electric vehicles (EVs). The government won’t stop talking about it, we won’t stop talking about it, and soon or later you won’t stop hearing about it. In this article, we explain the types of charging available and what we, at Mer, think would be most suitable for garden centres, and why.

With a large portion of the global sustainability conversation focussing on carbon sequestration, biodiversity, and wildlife conservation, it’s impossible to see garden centres as anything other than beacons of hope for a sustainable future.

In our conversations with commercial landowners, it has become clear that the myriad of information out there about EV charge points can sometimes obstruct the uptake of charge points, rather than assist it. We are keen to make sure the message of EV charging infrastructure is articulated so that people who aren’t in the charge point world can understand it and explain it to customers, staff, colleagues, and friends.

It’s worth noting that the amount of power the car can ‘pull’ will depend on factors like:

  • The maximum capacity of the battery
  • The charge level of the battery at the beginning of charging (the lower it is, the faster it will charge at the start)
  • The battery type
  • The outside temperature
  • Whether or not someone else’s car is plugged into the same charging unit

The table below shows how many miles of charge you could expect from a variety of charger types, depending on how long you’re plugged in for.

charging time table

There are also ultra-rapid chargers (anything over 100kw) which can take a car’s charge level from 0-80% in just 20 minutes. These are approximate times and are for illustrative purposes only.

So, what about Garden Centres?

It’s best to think about charge points in terms of fast (AC) and rapid (DC) chargers. AC is anything from 22kW and lower, while DC is anything from 25kW. If a driver wants a slow charge, one that would take 4+ hours for a good top up, AC is the way to go. If, on the other end, a faster charge is needed, then DC is more appropriate.

What we think is most important is matching the type of charger to your normal customer’s dwell time. In the case of garden centres, this is typically 45-60 minutes – which would point you towards rapid (DC) chargers. If you have AC chargers installed, most customers won’t be there long enough to make using them meaningful and so you’d be missing out on both providing a good service to your customers and a revenue opportunity, which rules AC out.

IWG charger Spaces MarlowWe think rapid (50-150kw), and semi rapid (25kw) (DC) chargers are the best choice for garden centres, although we provide a provision of fast (AC) chargers to cater for the plug-in hybrid community. Any charging company can install any charger type, but most tend to specialise in either AC or DC. Mer are one of the few charge point operators to offer both solutions with a customer centric approach seeking to supply a solution for the whole driver community. With the benefit of studying many years of data analytics, Mer now specialise in predominately DC charging and are working with landowners across the UK to install DC chargers in suitable locations.

What can you expect?

Mer would pay for all the upfront costs and do all the installation work, including new grid connections. Mer would also operate the back-end software and integrate the charge points with Zap Map and a range of other similar locator platforms, meaning people looking for a charger will be able to see the ones on your site on Zap Map.  You could typically be paid either (or as well as depending on scale) a competitive annual fee per year for each bay, or a profit share of the charge your users are paying for – this is typically between 10-20% – depending on scale and speed of charging infrastructure. Finally, the contracts are likely to be between 15-20 years long. This length of time is important for us due to the massive up-front capital cost, the long lease ensures there is a stronger chance of achieving a return on investment in the latter years of the contract. Mer also replaces out of date hardware if/when it becomes obsolete and provide 24/7 customer service for charge point users.

 

To find out more about our EV charging solutions for Garden Centres visit our Commercial Landowner page:

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