Integrate EV charging technologies into your workplace

ChargePoint’s Jaynesh Patel on EV charging as a critical commercial technology and ways in which businesses can leverage it for energy efficiency

The biggest transformation to the energy sector receives further demand from the EV sector, which is putting pressure on networks to provide for a growing number of drivers. 

Naturally, this brings us to the charging conversation as many drivers are still unsure whether EVs and the network of public charge points are ready to overtake the historic system of internal combustion engine (ICE) industry already in place. Even industry CEOs are witnessing the problem—Jim Farley, the CEO of Ford being one of them whose road trip led him to uncover charging inadequacy in the US. 

It’s safe to say that growth has been far greater than anyone could have anticipated, but what is not to be underestimated is the scale of expansion required to reach decarbonisation deadlines. Technology has an inherent role to play in this and it’s crucial for both businesses and consumers to look at EVs as valuable assets, which is why we turned to an organisation with a foothold in the future—ChargePoint is actioning the energy transition from its own angle and championing EV charging as a major component of business infrastructure. 

Speaking with Jaynesh Patel (JP), Senior Policy Manager for UK & Ireland at ChargePoint, on this subject, he delves into some of the necessary points that govern business charging decisions and sheds a light on how it integrates EVs into the energy ecosystem. 

TS: What makes charging such a vital component of any home or business infrastructure?

JP: With growing environmental pressures and government policies like the 2030 ban on new ICE vehicles, EVs are going to become increasingly popular among consumers. Research from BloombergNEF predicted that global passenger EV sales are set to increase by 93% over the next three years, meaning that the demand for EV infrastructure is also likely to soar. 

Whether at work or at home, EV users need somewhere to charge their vehicle when it is parked. For an EV driver who doesn’t have access to a charger near their home, charging at work becomes essential. The provision of charging at a retail or hospitality establishment is already a deciding factor for EV drivers, and as their numbers increase it will become a critical factor not only for drivers, but also for these establishments to continue to attract customers. 

TS: How have charging technologies evolved? 

JP: ChargePoint has been in the charging industry for 16 years, before the first commercial EV was on the road.  We have grown to cover all use cases, both in terms of hardware and software, across two continents. Despite incredible growth in the sector, most EV charging still happens where cars spend most of their time, parked at home or work. 

This baseline of lower power AC charging will remain key to cost effective EV growth. However for journeys when EV drivers need to drive beyond their EV’s range, or require a quick top-up charge, DC charging will be the solution they seek out. The progression of DC charging speeds has evolved incredibly quickly, with some vehicles now accepting up to 350kWh.

TS: What are the commercial benefits of EV charging in terms of energy consumption? 

JP: Implementing a comprehensive, networked charging solution is the best way to streamline operating costs and set to scale as employee demand for EV charging grows. For commercial firms with large fleets, it gives complete control over station access and pricing, with the ability to set different policies for employees, fleet vehicles, visitors and the public. 

Networked charging also allows you to monitor stations remotely and share power among multiple stations without increasing your initial electrical capacity, which helps keep electric bills low. There are also tools for tracking energy usage and GHG emissions reductions — both of which key stakeholders will appreciate.

TS: How does EV charging integrate with the wider infrastructure to become smarter? 

JP: ChargePoint’s charging technology is already smart, able to distribute power dependent on a wide range of inputs, such as time of day (cost & capacity), fleet planning and routing demands (through fleet management integrations) and type of user (employee, member of the public etc). 

There are also a wide variety of solutions being integrated into the wider network, such as stationary storage and local renewable sources, which can be combined with smart charging to help further reduce infrastructure costs related to grid connection and electricity procurement costs (e.g. by enabling truck fleets to minimise cost by arbitraging price variability throughout the day, taking advantage of vehicle-to-grid opportunities)

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