Investing in some charging stations could be beneficial to employees and the company as a whole
- Many employees would appreciate having electric charging stations at the workplace
- Their installation could also benefit the company
- Electric upgrades might be necessary beforehand
- Implementing an adequate charger management system is also essential
There’s a lot of buzz surrounding electric vehicles, especially as increasing fuel prices make gas-powered vehicles less economical. In fact, 6.6 million fully electric and plug-in hybrids were sold in 2021, and an additional 2 million hit the streets during the first quarter of 2022. These numbers put the number of EVs on the road at triple the amount from 2018.
However, there is a drawback associated with electric vehicles, as drivers have to find places to charge them. Many EV owners have home charging stations, but locating spots to plug in their cars away from the house is often a challenge.
As a result, more employees are looking for workplaces with EV charging capabilities. Here’s what business owners should know before installing electric vehicle charging stations at their commercial properties.
The benefits of workplace electric vehicle charging
Before learning the process of installing electric vehicle charging stations at your office or warehouse, it’s a good idea to explore the benefits. It isn’t worth investing the money unless there’s a clear benefit for your employees and the company.
One of the main benefits is how your employees will react to having vehicle charging available. This upgrade could make current employees happy, helping you retain talent, and it could even help you attract new talent in the future.
Your charging station could also help you achieve green building credentials, as programs like LEED, Green Globes, Energy Star, and Green Point Rates offer points for buildings with workplace charging. Green building credentials are excellent for public relations while impressing partners and employees, as well.
On a business level, charging stations can increase your property value. If you ever want to sell the facility, having charging stations available makes the building more attractive to potential buyers, especially as electric vehicles reach mainstream status.
Your charging stations could also make a company’s EV fleet viable, saving the business money long-term. If you believe electric vehicles are the future of the automotive industry, there isn’t much downside to installing some charging stations.
How to install charging stations
Before installing charging stations, you may want to take a quick survey of your employees to determine how many own EVs and would use them regularly. From there, you can select the types of charging stations you require.
The first option is to install some Level 1 stations in your parking area. Level 1 charging is convenient because it only requires a 120V circuit, which your commercial building already has. You might need to install additional outlets and create EV-only parking areas, but the transition should be relativity easy. You’ll also want an electrician to inspect your outlets before using them in this manner to ensure they’re safe.
Of course, the issue with Level 1 charging is the speed. Typically, standard outlets charge a battery at a rate of five miles of range per hour, so a full day of charging only provides an EV owner with 40 miles of range.
Alternatively, you could upgrade your electrical to make Level 2 chargers viable. Level 2 charging requires a 240V circuit, so there’s a chance you’d need an electrician to make this move possible. These options offer 32 miles of range per hour of charge, so each employee would only need the station for an hour or two before making room for another vehicle.
There’s an added expense associated with 240V circuit upgrades, but it might be worth the money if numerous employees plan to use the service. Many industrial buildings already have this upgraded electrical, too, cutting your upfront costs.
The fastest option to have available at your workplace is Level 3, or DC fast charging. This method provides 100 to 200 miles of range per 30 minutes of charging, depending on the vehicle and its battery. Drivers with Level 1 or Level 2 connectors can also use a DC fast charging station, making them the most versatile option on the market.
The issue with DC fast charging is the expense, as these systems require a 480V circuit. Your business will need significant electrical upgrades before going this route, but it could be worthwhile if you plan to run an EV fleet or if most of your employees plan to use your charging stations daily.
Speaking with an electrical service provider is your best bet when determining your company’s needs. From there, you can make your decision based on what will work best in your situation.
Managing the stations
Planning how you’ll manage your new electric vehicle charging stations before installing them is advisable. You’ll want to determine who gets to use them, how long their vehicles can stay per day, and whether you’ll charge employees for their use.
Many businesses ask their employees to register the car they’ll be charging at work and sign a liability waiver before using the equipment. These documents protect the company against damage to employee vehicles when using these stations.
Level 1 charging is relatively easy to police because most employees who need chargers will have access to an outlet. However, the job gets more challenging when offering faster options that require employees to share equipment throughout the day.
Upgrade your electrical service
The first step toward installing electric vehicle charging stations at your workplace is having an electrician inspect your current electrical system. From there, you can determine if you need any upgrades and get the ball rolling in the right direction.
Universal Electrical can assist as you upgrade your Florida company’s electrical services before installing EV charging stations. Our team will ensure your system is up to code and capable of handling these stations, no matter the charging option you’re planning. Contact Universal Electrical Services to request a quote.