Getting an electrical connection to electrify your business fleet

Electric Vehicles (EVs) are undoubtedly entering a boom. Recent figures from Total claim over 150,000 EVs are currently registered in the UK, with the figure expected to hit 1 million in the next few years and 9 million by 2030.

Alongside these staggering predictions of growth, the infrastructure required to charge the vehicles is also one step ahead. A recent study from Zap-Map shows that the number of EV chargers in the UK has recently exceeded the number of petrol stations.

As UK businesses begin to explore the financial and environmental benefits of electrifying their fleets, it is also a good time to examine the practicalities of installing the charging facilities.

THE BASICS OF EV CHARGING

Put very simply, EV chargers need an electrical supply. Quantifying the size of the required electrical supply depends on the power rating and number of EV chargers you intend to install.

A couple of slow chargers (up to 3kW) for overnight charging will have a much lower demand than a bank of rapid Direct Current (DC) chargers (over 50kW) which can charge a vehicle in around 30 to 60 minutes.

EV chargers can create harmonic distortion on the network. Even if you have the available capacity within your current supply agreement, you will need to inform your Distribution Network Operator (DNO) of your intention to install EV chargers to ensure that the local network can cope.

Ultimately, you are likely to be looking at a new electrical connection to your site to supply your EV chargers.

So how do you go about working out how much it will cost?

FIRST, WORK OUT HOW MUCH CAPACITY WILL YOU NEED?

The rate at which your vehicles need to be charged will determine what type of charger you need.

* Slow chargers take around 8 to 10 hours for a full charge and are usually rated up to 3kW.

* Fast chargers take around 2 to 5 hours for a full charge and are usually rated between 7kW and 22kW.

* Rapid chargers take around 30 to 60 minutes and are usually rated at anything above 55kW.

At the extreme end of the spectrum, the Tesla supercharger operates at 120kW and the ABB Terra High Power at an incredible 350kW.

You will also need to consider the number of EVs and your charging strategy.

Can any of the vehicles be charged overnight? Will there be a staggered charging strategy throughout the day? Or is it likely that all EVs will be charged at the same time, daily.

These factors will determine the maximum amount of power you are likely to need at any one time.

SECOND, WILL YOU HAVE ANY EXPORT?

Do you plan to link your EV chargers to a battery storage solution? This would allow you to charge the battery during the cheaper tariff periods and then discharge to the vehicles during higher tariff periods. It means that you can charge your EVs at a low tariff irrespective of the time of day you are charging.

However, it also means that your Distribution Network Operator (DNO) will need to analyse the network’s capability to cope with the export of electricity back onto the network as the battery storage system repeatedly charges and discharges.

THIRD, IS THE CAPACITY AVAILABLE LOCALLY?

To identify whether your required electrical load is available from the local distribution network, you will need to apply for a Point of Connection (PoC) from your Distribution Network Operator (DNO).

A PoC is simply the point on the distribution network (usually a cable, overhead line or substation) where you can connect a cable to bring the required supply to your site.

The DNO will provide you with a quote summarising the costs. The biggest impacts upon the price will be whether:

* The DNO has to undertake any reinforcement works on their network to provide you with a PoC. If so, they will pass these costs to you, and

* whether they grant you a PoC at Low Voltage (LV) or High Voltage (HV). If it is HV, you will also require a substation as part of your installation which will increase your costs.

Independent Connection Providers (ICPs), like Rock Power Connections, hold the accreditations to provide you with an alternative quotation for your electrical connection.

FINALLY, WHO WILL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE INSTALLED NETWORK?

If the DNO installs your new electrical supply, they will also own it (also called ‘adopting’) and it will become part of the distribution network. They are responsible for all future maintenance and for ensuring the power remains on.

There are a number of Independent DNOs who will also adopt your installation, but give you a financial incentive upon energisation. This can make a compelling and competitive proposition to the DNO. Rock Power Connections has established relationships with iDNOs and can organise this on your behalf.

HOW CAN WE HELP YOU?

With our experience and engineering knowledge, we successfully manage electrical connections for EV chargers across the UK.

We are happy to liaise with the Distribution Network Operator to obtain a Point of Connection and then design a solution which meets your needs.

We’d be delighted to offer you a free, no obligation, competitive quote for your electrical connection project. Please email Emma on Emma@rockpowerconnections.co.uk , call 01905 456384 or click here to submit your enquiry

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Rock Power Connections is fully-accredited to undertake new and upgraded electricity connections to the grid being an Independent Connections Provider (ICP) who is listed on the National Electricity Registration Scheme (NERS) or Lloyd’s register
Rock Power Connections is registered on the Achilles Utilities Vendors DataBase (UVDB). Their rigorous, independent audit of our quality, environmental and Health & Safety procedures in the office and on-site gives you peace of mind
Rock Power Connections is registered with the National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting, known as NICEIC.This involves a rigorous on-going assessment process, be assured that we achieve the highest technical and safety standards
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ROCK POWER CONNECTIONS LTD. Unit 5, Buckholt Business Centre, Buckholt Drive, Worcester, WR4 9ND.

Company registered number: 8247808