Load management is the key to EV-friendly facilities

Tim Washington, Director, JET Charge

Load management is the key to EV-friendly facilitiesTim Washington, Director, JET Charge

Electric vehicles have cemented their place as the future of personal automotive transport. Bloomberg projects that EVs will achieve price parity with combustion vehicles by 2025, and parity over the life of the vehicle is expected to arrive in as little as two years thanks to EVs’ significant on-road savings. Yet, as efficient as EVs are, they still need regular charging. Usage data shows that 90% of EV charging is done at home or work, so a societal shift away from combustion will radically change the way we refuel.

We’re used to thinking of fuel as a product; combustion engines force us to go out of our way to refuel, and we pay a hefty premium for the privilege. Electricity flips this dynamic. Thanks to EV technology, cars today are no harder to charge than a smartphone. Plug-in overnight and return to 100% capacity in the morning. Combustion fuel may be a product, but charging is a service, and it presents an enormous opportunity for facilities management. Charging has the capacity to turn car parks from passive to active utilities.

However, large-scale EV charging that is un-managed and un-monitored has the potential to challenge even the most robust electrical networks, so a reliable Load Management System (LMS) is essential to success as a facilities provider. A dynamic LMS can be responsible for charging entire fleets of EVs at a time. New developments will be able to integrate their LMS at the circuit origin to service whole buildings, and retrofitted projects can do the same through integration with existing distribution boards.

Any LMS selected by facility managers must involve the EV charging hardware and software communicating with each other without relying on a single provider. Non-proprietary load management systems prevent you, your residents or customers being locked into predatory contracts or outdated technology. The risks associated with monopolized pricing are too great to justify binding entire developments to them, especially in such a fast-growing industry. An LMS that can integrate with a building’s Building Management System or an Energy Management System, so that EV charging can take advantage of on-site renewables generation, is even better.

Once a charging station is connected to an LMS and dedicated distribution board, that software provides the crucial final step to electrifying facility parking. Load allocation can be customized for distribution based on need or on a set schedule. Users can be automatically billed at a set $/kWh rate and pay via an app or associated RFID card. Usage can be tracked for each user or facility-wide. The tools for integrating EV charging with your facility are extremely robust; tenants and customers will come to expect the convenience of these systems over time.

Building the ideal charging system for your facility can be a daunting challenge, but it’s also an incredible opportunity. Car parks are no longer just empty space. EV charging generates activity where there has historically been none. They don’t just represent the future of transport, but the changing face of passive car park real estate.

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