Guest post by Van Wilkins, Director of Business Development, ABM

The impressive growth in longer-range models of electric vehicle (EV) models and a steadily rising count of EV charging installations have thought leaders claiming EV is at – or already past – a crucial tipping point. The transportation landscape is changing for consumers and businesses.   Now the question for property owners is how their EV charging infrastructure will fit into that landscape.

More electric vehicles are being produced with larger kilowatt-hour capacity batteries. That helps EV drivers worry less about running out of juice, but it also takes more electricity – and depending on the hardware, more time – to fill up. For fleet operators, longer stretches at the charger devour efficiency. If a property offers EV charging as an amenity, longer “dwell times” limit the value of that amenity – and its attractiveness to savvy users. When offered as a paid service, EV charging needs turnover for profitability.

Two key technologies are helping answer that demand: high-power charging and energy storage.

Better Batteries Aren’t Just for Cars 

Storing energy in batteries for EV charging could be the key to exponential growth in electric vehicles, because it allows smaller, existing services to meet demand. Since a battery can be charged at a slower rate, and discharged faster when needed, EV chargers with energy storage can meet demand without upgrading the property’s electric utility feed. Using close-coupled EV charger battery buffer boxes can also increase charger power output without upgrading the branch circuit.

Energy storage can also reduce the cost of energy used by EV chargers. Demand charges added by the utility can make a big difference on an electricity bill. By drawing energy when demand is lower – say, overnight – energy storage cuts down those demand charges. That means a charger can deliver the same amount of electricity to a vehicle for far less cost. If demand charges in your area also rise during peak demand, energy storage can radically change cost-benefit or ROI calculations for an EV charger installation.

Another benefit of energy storage for EV chargers is the positive effect on the property’s power quality. If you’ve ever seen the lights in an old house dim for a second when a big appliance switched on, you get the picture. Power quality issues can damage equipment. Energy storage lessens the effect of EV chargers on an electrical distribution system, improving power quality and reducing the risk of maintenance issues or equipment damage.

Faster Fill-Up: High-Power Charging

To match the next generation of electric vehicle batteries, charging equipment has also leveled up. As battery sizes rise, leaving a car on a simple level 1 charger at home overnight may no longer complete a full charge. Compare that to the fastest high-power chargers laying claim to 200 miles worth of charge in 20 minutes, or 100 kilometers worth of charge in 3-to-5 minutes. That’s a big difference.

If you’re charging up a fleet, such as delivery vehicles or buses, the speed of the charge will have a huge effect, especially if you’re working with limited parking areas or scheduling needs. Field engineers, technicians, salespeople, or any employee that uses vehicles for work can be impacted by slow charge times.

On the commercial side, it’s clear that faster charging times will continue to be a differentiator.  A 2016 study on EV buyers found that 85% of their sample earned a bachelor’s degree or higher, and over 75% earned at least $90,000 a year. Survey results of the buyers rounded out the picture of EV owners as influencers and early adopters. Depending on the market a property is servicing, faster charging can make a big difference to dwell times experienced by the target demographic. Shoppers can share the resource more often. Parking areas can charge a premium for faster charging.

Together, these two technologies give property owners a lot of options to fit EV charging into their business strategy. Speak to an expert partner in EV charger installations about the benefits of energy storage and high-power charging for your property. An expert will also be familiar with incentives, such as tax credits or utility company programs that help businesses achieve EV charging upgrades.

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About the Author

Van D. Wilkins, Jr., is a national accounts manager at ABM Industries and has more than 25 years of electrical experience in construction, service, maintenance, design and safety.  He has developed electrical maintenance programs and electrical asset management programs in a wide variety of industrial, mission critical, commercial and government facilities across the country.  He has been trained in Power Quality Analysis, NFPA-70e compliance, Thermographic Imaging, Electrical Maintenance, Facility Operations and Electrical Construction. Email him at