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THE MARKET FOR ELECTRIC VEHICLE CHARGING POINTS

Electric Car
© Shutterstock

08 August 2018 | FM World Editorial

newsdesk@fm-world.co.uk


FM World reflects on the key points of discussion from the recent webinar on electric vehicle charging points. 

With an estimated one million electric vehicles on UK roads by 2023 the infrastructure for charging these vehicles will need to be developed quickly. We asked key players in the industry to give their views on what is driving the electric vehicle market and how goals for reduced emissions and increased air quality could be achieved.


-Why is the electric vehicle market taking off now?

-What is the likely demand for electric vehicle charging equipment in the years ahead?

-What factors and schemes will encourage greater uptake of electric vehicles?

-How will FMs manage and deliver electric vehicle fleets?

-Who will have access to charging points?


Hannah Collishaw

Ev charging points can be a business differentiator

The future of energy is decentralised and local. It’s about giving customers control. We’re focused on digitisation, decarbonisation and electrification. Driven by the clean air strategy, we’re offering sustainable solutions to our 22 million customers across Europe including 6.8 million in the UK.


E.ON believes that by 2020 there will be half a million electric vehicles on the road, raising to over a million by 2023. Stretching targets to improve air quality, transport and electric vehicles are game-changers. Our vision is to provide sustainable electric vehicle charging to drivers, wherever their destination – hotels, motorways, public parking spaces and at home and work.


EV charging points can act as a differentiator for businesses allowing their employees to charge their vehicles at work. Businesses should be considering installing EV charging points that will offer benefits to their employees and create new value for their businesses, whilst also reducing reliance on the grid. It’s also important for businesses with large fleets, as it can help them to move towards a low-emissions fleet.


Hannah Collishaw, director, E.ON Drive UK


Sunil Shah

Managing access to charging points

From an FM perspective, there are many business benefits for providing electric vehicle charging points within organisations, including reduction of air pollution, improved support for corporate sustainability programmes and carbon-reduction strategies, as well as providing facilities for staff, visitors and customers.


But what will FMs need to consider in order to install charging points and provide electric vehicles? Who is allowed access to these charging points? Is it purely for staff? Do contractors and external organisations have access?


Peak charging is also an important factor. The time when an organisation most uses its electricity is during working hours – the same time that you’re going to be charging your electric vehicles. This slightly goes against the intention of the government, which is for EVs to be charged overnight and, during the daytime when they are low on power, they can be used as an additional battery source.


There are a number of linkages that we need to look at in terms of provision, but also how they get used by an organisation and the FM’s role in terms of how they are managed and delivered. 


Sunil Shah, chair, BIFM Sustainability SIG


Tom Donnelly

Adequate charging Infrastructure is essential

The government is concerned with two big issues: reducing global warming and improving air quality. This involves reducing CO2 and toxic emissions and is driven partly by legislation, but also by customer requirements.


London is leading the world in reducing air pollution and, in 2020, will introduce the world’s first ultra-low emissions zone, followed by a number of other cities including Birmingham, Rome and Amsterdam.


The government’s ‘Road to Zero Strategy’ is to have between 50-70 per cent of new cars (and 40 per cent of vans) to be ULEV by 2030 . There are a number of initiatives to encourage this change including the Workplace Charging Scheme – which will cut the cost of installing charging points by up to 75 per cent – and the EV Charging Fund.


Legislation means that there will be more electric vehicles on our roads in the coming years, and adoption is likely to be biased towards city centres. The cost of batteries is coming down and this will encourage uptake of electric vehicles, which means that adequate charging infrastructure is essential. 


Tom Donnelly, product strategy manager, Productiv


The below is just a taste of the topics covered during our ‘Charging Ahead’ webinar.


Go to tinyurl.com/EONWebinar to listen to the full hour.


Key points emerging

ROI: How can we put people’s minds at ease when considering installing electric vehicle charging points?

COLLISHAW: Consider the type of solution most relevant for most users visiting the site as this will determine the up-front cost. Consider ways of minimising the up-front investment while looking at long-term return.


CHARGING PLUGS: 

Are there plans by government to standardise charging plugs in order to encourage uptake of electric vehicles and speed up rollout of the 

charging network?

DONNELLY: It’s been left to private industry so far, but this is a global issue. Japanese manufacturers have their type of plugs and European manufacturers have developed their type of connector. The market, or the government, will need to sort this out because we need compatibility between vehicle and charging stations. China is the only place so far that has a single charging system.


COMPLIANCE: How can organisations ensure that they are legally as well as health and safety compliant?

SHAH: If managed by a third party, checks and maintenance are carried out by that organisation. However, the FM must ensure these checks and maintenance are happening. We need to consider the increased fire risk of charging stations. In the US, for example, certain fire prevention activities have to take place around charging stations. Fast charging stations are not suitable for domestic settings due to potential fire risk. This is a clear area that FMs need to look at with specialist equipment such as this.


EXISTING LOCATIONS: Where can people find electric vehicle charging points in their locality?

DONNELLY: Zapmap is one body providing a UK-wide map of charging stations. I understand that you can put an app onto your phone to see where the charging stations are and if they are currently in use or available for use. This type of app can tell you where charging points can be found: 

www.zap-map.com/


CHARGING FOR CHARGING? Are there implications for an employer seeking to charge an employee for electricity?

SHAH: This comes down to organisational culture. What is given away for free and what is charged for? For example, does the organisation charge food and drinks? There are some organisations that have a cost-neutral structure. Some might have a two-stage charging process. They will incentivise and promote to people to use their infrastructure who will pay a premium, allowing them to sell to staff at a significantly reduced cost.


LEGISLATION: Can we expect more legislation driving take-up of EVs?

DONNELLY: Large organisations already have to publish their CO2 footprint in their annual report. If they installed an electric vehicle charger to deliver clean electricity they could possibly offset that against their CO2 emissions.

SHAH: Larger FM providers have huge fleets that they manage and maintain, and they need to reduce emissions and their impact. The infrastructure and kinds of vehicles are now in place to make this happen across the board, so the time really is now for the FM market to respond to this and pick up on whether their customers are requesting it.