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Electric car charging points installation: focus on EV Box

Erica Charles Mar 16, 2018 8:36:36 AM

By 2020, a business with 100 employees can expect to have 10 employees with an electric car

It is hardly surprising that we are gradually seeing the inclusion of EV charging points in new build specifications, both residential and commercial.  

If you are needing to specify EV chargers in a project, what functionality should you look for, and which brand should you choose?

 

Which charger?

We have spent a few weeks looking at the different charger brands, and the different approaches they are taking to building a platform to power the EV market. 

The choice of charger and required functionality differs between residential and commercial:

Residential charger considerations

  • does a charger need to be installed, or could a passive charger-ready terminal be installed to enable simple installation and activation of a charge point at a future date (e.g. under the London EV Infrastructure Policy, some provision may be passive, requiring only capacity in the grid connection, cabling to parking spaces);
  • is a 'dumb' charger suitable (a 'dumb' charger is essentially a dedicated car charging socket, without monitoring, remote stop-start etc)?
  • will the homeowner need to monitor 'charger time' or kWh consumption (e.g. to get reimbursement from grown-up kids or an employer), and if so does the charger need a MID approved kWh meter?
  • is there solar PV on site and if so should a charger be chosen such that excess solar PV that could be diverted into a car battery?
  • do aesthetics matter?
  • future proofing - can a 'dumb' charger be upgraded with intelligence, is the charger a universal Type 2 socket?

Commercial charger considerations

  • does a charger need to be installed, or could a passive charger-ready terminal be installed to enable simple installation and activation of a charge point at a future date (e.g. under the London EV Infrastructure Policy, some provision may be passive, requiring only capacity in the grid connection, cabling to parking spaces);
  • is a 'dumb' charger suitable? 
  • what needs to be monitored - 'charger time' or kWh consumption, and, if kWh, does the charging infrastructure include MID approved kWh meters which can be used as a basis for billing?
  • what is the upfront cost of installation, not only of the charger, but also any civil works (foundations, cabling etc)?
  • what subscription fees are there for monitoring, reporting, charger management?
  • how does invoicing for the user of the charger work, and how does payment settlement work? [Ideally it should all be automated; as the number of users increases, the client won't want to be creating a mountain of manual billing, not to mention double entry bookkeeping]
  • how are the chargers accessed - key, fob, RFID card, online account
  • if the client provides vehicles which employees take home at night, they may need to provide home charging infrastructure and it's important to understand how charger monitoring, access and reimbursement will work;
  • is EV charging likely to put a strain on the grid connection - if so Active Load Management is essential... 
  • do the chargers conform to the OCPP (voluntary open charging protocol), allowing drivers to have a single RFID to access all OCPP chargers, thus making it easy for drivers using the chargers?
  • do aesthetics matter, do you need dual chargers mounted on a single pole, and can you brand the chargers with the client's logo?
  • how scalable is the solution and at what cost - whilst most businesses will want to start small with one or two chargers, and see what gives, the one thing we can be fairly certain of is that electric vehicle take up is growing exponentially, albeit from a low base, and whatever capacity is installed now will probably have to increase tenfold or more over the next few years.

Charger types  / chargers compared

Our page on charger types, provides a starting point if you know nothing about electric vehicle charging. 

We have also produced two comparison tables on our website, comparing the offerings of EO, EVBox, Rolec, and zappi (domestic). 

Domestic charger comparison

Commercial charger comparison

EVBox

The most popular brands that we install are EVBox,  EO, and Rolec.

Our favourite commercial brand is EVBox. EVBox is one of the larger suppliers, with a strong track-record and 50,000 chargers installed across 1,000 cities.

EVBox chargers offer comprehensive functionality. The company is well ahead of their rivals in their understanding of the practicalities of EV fleet management, leased cars and public charging requirements, and the functionality required to manage a fleet of EV chargers and electric vehicles.

EVBox's software can manage other manufacturer 'smart-chargers'. And the company has fixed back-office subscription fees per charger, which don't take a % of the user's payment revenue. What's more, EVBox offers the best warranty on the market as far as we are aware.

EVBox has solutions suitable for domestic use, private commercial use and public networks. What's more their solutions are streamlined, coupling a small number of charger models with 'tiered' intelligence, allowing users to access increasingly sophisticated levels of functionality as required. Further, they are easy to work with, which is an essential when investing in a fast-evolving sector where the need to build a long-term relationship with the charger supplier is paramount.

More on EVBox

 

Small-homeline_parkinglot.jpg

EVBox was founded in the Netherlands, which is a few years ahead of the UK in adoption of electric vehicles. The company has become the sole public supplier of public charging infrastructure in cities such as Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Monaco. EV Box has an installed base of over 50,000 chargers across nearly 1000 cities. The company has recently been bought by energy giant Engie and it is generally regarded as a supplier of high quality products with strong financial backing.

Overall, EVBox has developed superior aesthetics, solutions for leased / business cars (cost reimbursement) as well as 'shared charging' at home where more than one owner is using a single charger. 

The main model for businesses is the BusinessLine charger, which is managed by EVBox's BackOffice management system. BackOffice is being upgraded to Everon, which will also allow management of smart chargers by 'other' manufacturers.

The system features automatic tracking and payment software.  Chargers can also be configured with various “smart charging” technologies that ensure efficient energy use, and can also support remote maintenance and upgrades. The site manager can can adjust charging rates to prevent peak usage and increase return on investment.

EVBox also provides HomeLine, which offers an excellent solution for businesses installing chargers in domestic properties as part of a leased car scheme, and PublicLine which is aimed at operators of chargers installed for public use.

Project support

If you have a project that you would like some assistance with, please get in touch. Call us on 0118 951 4490, or email commercial@spiritenergy.co.uk.  Alternatively request a quote here:

Request free advice / quote 


 

Topics: EV charging, EVBox

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