At the recent Forecourt Show at the NEC, our PEIMF ‘Chair’ Michelle Machesney, Business Development Director of TSG, wowed a ‘standing room-only’ audience of industry professionals, with her view on the developing electric vehicle charging market.
Our editor has asked Michelle to present this ‘idiot’s guide almost’ to our readers, as help. This will be the start of a regular item in INSITE, where we take a look at the new developments in fuel and fuelling.
So over to Michelle:
The fuelling world as we have known it for many, many years is changing. Environmental concerns, alongside legislation changes, are challenging us to drive cleaner vehicles. This could be hydrogen cars or LNG/CNG trucks, but one of the real big step changes is the introduction of electric vehicles (EV’s).
EV’s are not a fad; they are becoming an increasing addition to our motoring community and with ‘most’ major car manufacturers now committing to electrifying their offerings within in most case the next 5-10 years, it is evident that EV’s will form an increasing part of our industry, albeit relatively small today.
Crystal ball – so where will people charge their EV’s?
Well, today it’s not clear as to what this will look like in 10 years’ time. Will charging happen at home, workplace, destination or en route? I think it would be safe to say that all these charging options will be required in the future, but some will have a bigger requirement than others.
When is a good time to start looking at or investing in EV charging solutions?
Most definitely now! EV’s are here and customers need EV charging…now!
So a few things to know when considering en route EV charging
Land: Is there sufficient space to install chargers? They are quite large, and if being installed on a service station forecourt, will have to be positioned outside the hazardous area zones.
Incoming supply: Is there sufficient incoming power available? DC EV Chargers require a certain amount of power to be available, depending on the size of charger being installed. If this incoming power is not available, an application will have to be made to the local District Network Operator (DNO) to see if additional power can be supplied. It would be prudent to note that a new supply can cost as much as the EV chargers themselves.
Cost: Know the costs and put together a budget and business case. There are many companies offering various types of EV charging hardware, installation services and owning/operating options. Look into all the options and see which would work best for you in the long term and think how adding EV charging can add value to your customers and business because, as previously stated, EV’s are here to stay.
Knowledge: Who to ask for advice? There are lots of government guidance and information documents that can help increase knowledge.
The London Fire Brigade have also compiled a guidance document for those looking to add EV chargers to their existing forecourts.
Join a few EV forums. This will give you a real insight into EV owners and what their feedback is on the current EV network; both good and bad.
Ask the experts: Speak to companies already supplying, installing and maintaining EV chargers.
Other things for consideration
- Energy storage
- Include EV charging into any up-coming development plans
- Energy generation – solar, wind
EV charging today is not as quick as traditional fuelling; even with rapid chargers, so EV drivers are more likely to look for, and attend, locations that have one, or all, of the following services:
Good convenience offering: It is proven that consumer spend increases when there is a good choice, the site is well presented, good marketing and offers. EV drivers have nowhere to go for at least 30 minutes, and very few will not make a purchase during this period.
Good coffee offering: The world loves coffee, and EV drivers charging their cars for 30 minutes will love it more!
Free Wi-Fi: Whether it is work emails, Facebook, Twitter or just surfing the internet, people cannot live without a Wi-Fi connection for very long.
Clean toilet facilities: May seem obvious, but with all that coffee, these are an absolute must.
And now the briefest of sales pitches!!
TSG is passionate about our industry; an industry which is changing. We work hard to embrace these changes, and to offer the very best solutions to all; from a singleton dealer to a major group. TSG will support all the fuelling solutions of today and the future.