Posted on 8/2/2013 9:32 AM by Ken Sapp

As electric vehicle adoption continues to grow, consumers will gravitate to places where they can charge while doing other activities like working, shopping, or dining. Stadiums and entertainment venues can even let customers charge up while attending a game or concert.

Facilities should consider EV infrastructure as part of a larger sustainability or energy efficiency strategy, not just an independent green project. Realize in advance how the new EV charging load can alter your energy profile and utility costs.

If you’re ready to accommodate electric vehicles on your property, remember that one size doesn’t fit all. Consider the following factors as you evaluate different options to ensure a successful transition to EV charging.

1)    Installation Requirements
EV chargers are not a plug-and-play technology. Make sure you anticipate these possible requirements dictated by code and site considerations:

  • Engineering, electrical permits, and city planning approvals
  • Additional electrical load requirements, including circuits, panels, meters, and transformers
  • Wireless networking, software, and billing system processes options
  • Underground work to bring power from the building to parking areas
  • Existing landscaping and irrigation factors
  • Training of building personnel
  • ADA compliance
  • Bollards, signage, rules, and parking enforcement

2)    Payment Models
To recoup their investment in an EV charger, commercial facilities can add a surcharge on top of a standard parking fee and collect them as they are today by parking staff.

For a pay-as-you-go model, some charging stations have the capability to accept credit cards, selected membership cards, or payment by phone. Others can handle variable billing rates so a facility can optimize time-of-day pricing to balance access and station sharing.

3)    Added Features
Charging stations offer a wide variety of features that provide additional value from a management and usability perspective. Product options range from simple no-frills devices to advanced networked systems with cloud-based software to track activity and create usage reports.

Consider if your charging station requires any security measures. You can limit access using RFID and proximity card readers, key fobs, or PIN numbers.

You can also add renewable energy by pairing your EV station with solar panels, which allows cars to be charged with off-grid electricity.

Ken Sapp is Vice President for ABM Energy Solutions, an integrated facility solution and energy services provider. He can be reached at ken.sapp@abm.com or you can download the full white paper at www.abm.com/Why-ABM/white-papers/pages/electric-vehicles.aspx