Commercial EV charging stations attract tenants and visitors, increase dwell time, profits, and more. Here's why you should consider installation in 2021.
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A paradigm shift
In 2020, Pure-electric vehicle (BEVs) sales were up 186% and 1 in every 10 cars registered in the UK was an Alternative Fuel Vehicle. Growth was impressive, especially considering overall car registrations were down due to the covid crisis. And 2021 data shows this growth is in no way slowing down – as of the end of August 2021 there were more than 600,000 plug-in vehicles registered (source).
With the introduction of London’s ULEZ and ‘Clean Air Zones’ in major UK cities, it’s believed a lot of drivers are on the verge of making the switch – and for many, this week’s fuel crisis was the push they needed. In fact, on 24th September, when news of a possible fuel shortage really gained momentum, Google search data showed an 1,600% increase in EV related online searches, with many EV dealerships also reporting a dramatic increase in interest and purchases.
To meet growing consumer demand, and offer affordable and accessible charging options, there’s a clear need for commercial property owners to get onboard and implement charging infrastructure.
The types of EV charge points
The first step for anyone looking to install EV charge points is to understand the different types of hardware out there. Chargers come in different speeds, designed to cater for different needs – both business and personal.
There are 3 main types of chargers used to power EVs in the UK, and they are most commonly referred to as ‘Slow’ ‘Fast’ and ‘Rapid/Ultra Rapid’. The clue is in the name as to what to expect – each one offers a different power output and therefore a different charging speed…
Slow chargers charge up to 3.6 kW, can take between 6-12 hrs for a full charge and are most commonly used at home.
Fast chargers charge between 7-22 kW in 3-5 hrs and are the most common type of public charging points for now.
Rapid and ultra-rapid DC chargers can handle power outputs of 50kWh up to 300 – 350kWh, allowing drivers to get an 80% charge from little as 20 minutes, and are usually found at large shopping centres, car parks or motorway service stations. Read more about ultra-rapid charging in our recent blog.
What is the cost of a commercial EV charging station?
The cost to install a commercial EV charging station will depend on the hardware you chose, the distance between the charging station and the meter cupboard in your business premises, and other installation requirements such as cabling and digging.
The benefits of EV charge points for retailers
It might be true that EV owners carry out most of their charging at home – but the data shows that the majority also use public charge points to top up when out and about.
A few key benefits to consider are:
Future-proof your site: Gain first-mover advantage on a clear upward trend. With increased competition for grid connection and a finite number of opportunities in strategic locations – retailers should act now.
Customer attraction & loyalty: customers today expect easy and convenient service experiences in all areas of their life. If an EV driver can shop and charge at the same time – this is likely to be a big attraction, and one that keeps them returning. And if you’re offering faster charge rates than they can get at home – there’s an even bigger pull.
Increased dwell time: It’s natural that customers will be happy to spend longer at a destination if they are able to take advantage of vehicle charging during that time – and in turn, this is likely to lead to further spending. Something that has notable weight, given that the average EV drivers’ income is well above the national average.
A leading UK estate agent recently published details of their roll out of EV charge points at retail locations across the UK and reported a 50% increase in dwell time and average spend ranging from £36 per visit to £80 for longer dwell times.
Improve your footprint & attract employees and customers as a result: Many retailers with charging points in place are also reporting impressive reductions in CO2 from visitor travel. Not only have they improved their carbon footprint, but they can now confidently promote their sustainability credentials – and are likely to attract more business and new employees as a result.
Better customer insights: smart EV charging can allow drivers to connect with a business if they stop by to charge, meaning businesses can gain further customer insights and even communicate deals and offers – increasing the likelihood of return visits.
As a retailer or retail centre owner, you will likely need to consider installing either fast or rapid chargers – which will allow visitors to charge to 80% in 20 minutes – 4 hours.
Ready to consider charge points at your commercial property? We’ve compiled a commercial EV charging checklist of eleven core areas to assess during the process.
The benefits of EV charge points for developers & landlords
Future-proof your land: New building regulations in the UK require every residential building with an associated parking space to install one EV charging point. And in new non-residential buildings and non-residential buildings undergoing a major innovation, those with 10+ parking spaces will need 1 charge point for every 5 spaces. From 2025, existing non-residential buildings with over 20 parking spaces will need a minimum of one charge point.
Developers will now need to consider the EV installation process carefully if they are to avoid expensive retrofits – which Mckinsey predicts could be up to five times the cost of deploying chargers during initial construction (source). Considerations include a site’s electrical capacity, and factoring in smart charging technologies when designing site infrastructure.
Attract tenants: As EV ownership increases, there will be an increase in the number of tenants expecting to be able to charge their vehicles at home. Additionally, businesses renting office space are increasingly looking to offer charging facilities to their employees, charge their new EV fleets, and demonstrate their sustainability credentials.
Bring in extra income: Depending on the cost model you select for your charge points, you may find you can earn back your investment by charging for electricity. Read more about the potential ROI from EV business charge point installation here.
Commercial Charge Point Installation Checklist
If you’re ready to install EV chargers at your commercial property, we’ve summarised eleven considerations to be aware of during the process to make sure you make the right choices.
Public & fleet infrastructure: the first step will involve making an site assessment, as best you can, on the charging needs (number and speed) for your location. There is no one size fits all and you should seek the advice of an operator. At Mer, we tend to recommend starting off with a few chargers in this instance and assessing usage before expanding.
Funding options: There are several funding options available to you, depending on your charge point partner and your chosen model – including partly funded, fully funded, full ownership or profit share.
OZEV grants: check if you’re eligible for governmental grants such as the Workplace Charging Scheme or Low-Emission Vehicles Grant.
Location, location: Location is important – for drivers ease-of-use but also to keep the installation price to a minimum. Consider the Electricity supply location, footfall, groundwork and high DNO costs.
Selecting the right hardware: It’s best to work with a hardware agnostic supplier to have access to a wide range of charging solutions suitable to varying needs.
Charge point power: your needs will be impacted by your location and the type of visitors using the charge points. You can install fast chargers with a charging power of 7kW to 22kW or rapid and Ultra-Rapid chargers which have a charging power from 50kW to 300kW.
Back office system: is your installation partner offering all the features you’re going to need?
Energy capacity & renewability: after making efforts to install sustainable technology – make sure it will also be supplied with renewable energy.
Operation & maintenance: it’s important to choose the right installation provider in the first place, or you may be facing higher costs short and long term. It’s also essential to understand the standard costs involved in maintaining your hardware.
Future-proof plans: It’s essential to future-proof your plans. Electric cars are increasingly more powerful and can travel further – and will in-turn need more powerful chargers. Perhaps think about installing rapid and ultra-rapid chargers for the ultimate convenience and future protection. This advanced hardware is also fitted with contactless payment – something customers now expect as standard.
Promoting your EV infrastructure: have you considered how you will get buy-in from customers / tenants / employees once you’ve installed your chargers?
To access the full checklist for Commercial EV Charging, download a copy below.
EV Charging Checklist
Our 2021 EV Charging Checklist will help you identify what you need to know before stepping into an EV infrastructure project. ⚡️ Access your free copy & start your journey. ⚡️
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