FEATURE POWERING AHEAD Whether your organisation already embraces the electric vehicle (EV) or is

planning to invest in EVs and related infrastructure, Shane Thomas of installation contractor ICEE Managed Services, explains why fast charging of batteries is becoming increasingly important to FM.

How do you regard EV parking and charging at your facility – well in hand or a headache? How many employees are driving EVs to work and how many visitors? Are there enough charge-points to meet demand? Is senior management ticking boxes on EV and corporate social responsibility, or compliance on the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS)? Or electrifying more fleet vehicle assets? Are you looking at grants from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV), to install workplace charge-points at less cost?

“A thorough site survey from a qualified installer will identify and

enable issues to be addressed now rather than (expensively) later.”

Whatever the case, EV looks like becoming an increasingly significant issue on the facilities management agenda. There are already big issues. First, the UK-wide re-charging infrastructure lags way behind EV uptake. In some cases, workplace car parks may be part of that issue.

Mileage is another constraint. Today’s mid- market EVs travel around one hundred miles before running out of energy. Expensive, top-of-the- range models may go three times that distance. In practical terms, a business driver might rack up a hundred miles in a morning and do the same after lunch, or want to take a long motorway trip. Having to stop for several hours on the way to top up or completely re-charge a low battery may not be possible.


Fast charging offers a practical solution Rather than wait hours to re-charge and be forced to plan EV use around that, fast charging - also known as Level 3 charging (Levels 1 and 2 are slower) - is more flexible and immediate. 80% of battery strength may be re-stored in twenty to thirty minutes (less than ten minutes for top-range vehicles). Today, not every EV will accept fast charging, but as technology progresses charge times will drop and mileage ranges will increase. Soon, EV charging may become as quick as visiting a petrol filling station.

There is another, equally important EV point impacting facilities management. Fast chargers operate on direct current (DC) and draw a lot of power. When planning installation of these devices, especially several, check the additional power required against existing energy consumption and the allowance supplied to site from the national grid. Will the change risk overload the system? If total consumption is near the limit a good case may be made for installing an energy management system. Potentially, it will benefit the whole site’s electrical usage and cost efficiencies, not just the EV investment.

The system is designed to monitor highs and lows of demand across an entire facility, performing dynamic load management. In real-time, to ensure sufficient supply, it adjusts and distributes appropriate energy to all electrical assets, including normal and fast EV chargers. In short, it balances peaks and troughs of power usage and warns against costly overload.

“Charger functions may be seamlessly linked to the energy

management system and in turn, a CAFM system.”

For organisations where supply is constrained (for example, a local sub-station is too small), at a stroke, this technology may solve what might otherwise be a major problem. What’s more, it is capable of delivering big cost savings.

‘Smart’ automation adds value Normal (AC) and fast (DC) chargers from advanced manufacturers incorporate a number of comprehensive monitoring, control and reporting functions, including options on how users pay. Each device will operate in either standalone or clustered networks and offer

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