EV Apartment Charging
Electric Vehicle Charging Solutions for Apartments and Office Buildings
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Introducing Apartment EV Charging Stations
The world is undergoing a transport revolution, with environmental concerns, government policy and advances in technology all playing a role in the switch to electric vehicles (EVs). EVs are the largest growing segment of the new car market, according to moneyguideireland.com: “There were 4825 electric cars in Ireland on the road at the start of 2019. (Out of a total of 2.7 million vehicles).
Another 4054 were registered in 2019 – so if they are all still on the road that means there are almost 9000 electric cars on the roads in Ireland: “Electric and hybrid vehicles (PHEV) accounted for one fifth (20.8%) of new private cars licensed in January 2020. This is an increase from 11.6% in the same period in 2019.” Battery manufacture costs have fallen 85% since 2013 with EV purchase price parity with fossil fuel vehicles expected by 2024.
EV's need to have their batteries charged wherever they are parked for long periods of time especially overnight.
This document explores why landlords, managing agents and developers are increasingly putting charging infrastructure into their shared residential parking in apartment complexes, common challenges that are faced and makes recommendations for a cohesive approach to EV charging provision.
Apartment EV Charging Challenges
As with any development project there are several challenges and risks that must be considered. EV charging infrastructures are relatively new and pose new and unique challenges, some of which are discussed below.
Limited power supply
The available power to a premises will be determined by the amount of supply that was provisioned for that site during development. This is normally determined by the estimated peak load of a site plus a small margin, for most existing developments this was estimated prior to the provision of EV charging infrastructure which would represent a significant additional load.
The common area of the apartment block is the responsibility of the landlord and the management company. Without careful planning of an EV charging infrastructure there is significant risk of an uncontrolled network of crisscrossing private cables radiating from the central metering location to the various EV points. This would obviously pose problems both legally and electrically. Furthermore certifying these installations could may pose significant challenges.
The demand for EV infrastructure is relatively low right now but is growing at an impressive rate. Without proper consideration given to future requirements of a site, the cumulative costs for the provision of EV infrastructure will grow significantly. It is also important to consider the aesthetics of a “decentralised” EV infrastructure – an unplanned approach can result in many different styles of chargers each with its own method of installation.
With new technology and new infrastructures, particularly those which are so vital to daily life such as EV charging it is imperative that the technology is simple to use and reliable. Cost recuperation, emergency maintenance and general servicing have the potential of becoming costly endeavours if not implemented properly.
Recommended Solutions for Apartment Complexes
The best solution for residential charging infrastructure that meets current and future needs in the most cost-effective manner is presented here. The primary concerns that are addressed are:
1. Safety and Regulatory Compliance
2. Future Proofed
3. Efficient Use of Power
4. Flexible Payment Structure
5. Minimal Disruption to Daily Operations
Fully Managed Solution Using Landlords Supply.
Image below shows the recommended solution for implementing residential EV charging infrastructure.
The chargers are all fed from a single, landlord or management company operated supply, this can either be the current main incoming supply if there is available power or else it should be a new, dedicated supply for EV charging.
Each charger would be fed from an independent single phase, 40A RCBO and have suitable local isolation within regulation distance from each charger location.
Containment, power and communication cables are installed to all parking spaces in phase 1, this allows additional chargers to be installed in the future with minimal additional costs and minimal disruption.
Dynamic Load Management is implemented across all chargers ensuring the most efficient use of the available power. More detail about load management is provided below.
All chargers are connected to the internet allowing for monitoring, payment handling, 24hr Customer Service (where required) and remote maintenance.
Benefits of Apartment EV Charging Stations
There are significant benefits associated with implementing this type of EV charging strategy for shared residential parking sites. Some of the main benefits are laid out below.
Best Use of Available Capacity
By controlling the whole network of chargers you can ensure compatibility between all of the chargers and the load management system. This will allow for the most efficient use of the available power supply now and into the future.
Reduced ‘per socket’ Cost
By running containment, digging roads and running cables just once, at the beginning of the project you can significantly reduce the ‘per socket’ cost of installing units at a future date.
There are many different brands of chargers on the market – by implementing a centralized network of chargers from the main supply you can ensure a consistent aesthetic is maintained throughout the common area of the apartment block ensuring the value of the apartments are not negatively affected. In most cases, this will actually have a positive effect on the valuation of the apartment.
Standardized Maintenance Program
An obvious benefit of standardized and centralized charging equipment is that of the maintenance that will be required into the future. The use of one type of charger across the car park means that the maintenance will be much simpler. Less parts and less variation in expertise required.
Flexible to Grow With Demand
Another obvious one, by standardizing the charging equipment it becomes very simple and cost effective to grow the charging infrastructure as demand grows. Risk of non-compatibility is effectively eliminated.
In order to best utilize the available supply to serve the maximum number of EV charging points and also maintain a safe and reliable system, a Load Management System is imperative. A load management system used in conjunction with the right charging points will ensure that the cumulative load never exceeds supply while also ensuring that the charging points utilize the maximum amount of available power at any one time.
Image below shows how a Static Load Balancing network with a maximum of 64 Amps available. The chargers are connected together in a network with one charger designated the master, the remaining chargers are designated as slaves. The master charger will define at what power level each charger can use and this will change as cars plug in and out and as their batteries become full.
Sites that do not have a dedicated supply and have other utilities on the same supply as the EV chargers such as lighting, lifts, etc. will need to implement Dynamic Load Balancing. This works in the same way as static load balancing with the addition of a meter that is placed on the incoming supply. This meter communicates the total amount of power that the site is using to the master charger and will allow the EV charging network to utilize as much power as is available while at the same time protecting the main fuses and prioritising the other utilities on the site.
A fully managed billing solution provides complete support for the end user and the landlord or management company. Some of the features that are included:
- Dedicated Consumer App for individual users (shown in image below)
- View real-time charging information including pricing and usage
- Start and stop charging sessions
- Contact customer support
- RFID / App access option
- Tailored Billing options
- 24 Hour Customer Phone Support (Site owner/ Landlord)
- 24 Hour Consumer Phone Support (Users)
- Detailed Back Office Reporting/ Billing per user & per charger
- 3G/ 4G active Sim Cards
- Onsite/ Remote Software Upgrade to accommodate new cars
- Remote Diagnostics Service
Check out some of our previous installations of apartment EV chargers!
How do I get an EV apartment charging station installed?
5. GET INSTALLED
Once you are happy with the quotation an installation date is agreed at your convenience and your charger will be installed by our Safe Electric approved installer.
4. SURVEY AND QUOTE
An ePower approved and Safe Electric Approved Installer will make contact within 24hrs of first contact to organise a house visit at your convenience. ePower pricing is always accurate with no further surprises that can occur when a prices are quoted without a prior survey.
6. FOLLOW UP
We will follow up with you to make sure everything went well and you are happy with your charger!
Ongoing support is always available!
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