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Discussion Starter #1
I work at Spelthorne Borough Council and have been asked to write a business case for installing EV charging points in Staines-upon-Thames. What kind of charger would you like (fast/rapid)? What charging model would you prefer (PAYG, or just paying for parking)? And would you use it if it was placed in a town centre multi-storey? Anything else I should consider so that we are providing the facility you as users want and will use?
 

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Leaf lover
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Welcome to this forum.
You could not have picked a hotter topic as your first post.
Do you drive electric?
Why were you given the job of writing the business case if you don't mind me asking.
What are the terms of reference?
 

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Ecohound
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Not knowing your area it is difficult to be specific but generally Rapids in multi storey car park is not a good idea. Rapids are primarily for those on the move.
Think of it like you fuel an ICE you wouldn't go into a town centre car park to refuel. They are better suited for fast food areas / coffee outlets where someone can do all they need in 30 minutes and move on. You don't want blocking of an expensive charger.
Fast chargers 32A type 2 are ideal for car parks and will encourage visitors both leisure and business and need to be protected from people parking fossil fuel vehicles in the spaces.
 

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Firstly, consider how long you are expecting the users to stay.

Rapids are expensive to install and are really only of use for people wishing to charge and go within 20-30 minutes - staying any longer could produce charger hogging fury from other EV drivers.

For a short stay car park I would suggest 7kW (32A single phase) or 22kW (32A three phase) Type 2 socketed outlets, possibly with load sharing if the supply cannot easily cope with 22kW being drawn on all outlets at the same time (unlikely unless the Zoe owners club turns up!).

For a long-stay car park intended for all-day occupation, a large number of 3.6kW (16A single phase) Type 2 socketed outlets should be provided, these should be spaced so that with the 5m long charging leads carried by most EV drivers as many parking spaces as possible can be reached from a charging point.

If the car park has coin operated pay-and-display ticket machines, then if you wish to charge extra for the use of a charging point then you should consider the use of coin-operated charging points - the person emptying the Pay-and-display machine can also empty the charging points at the same time.
 

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I
I work at Spelthorne Borough Council and have been asked to write a business case for installing EV charging points in Staines-upon-Thames. What kind of charger would you like (fast/rapid)? What charging model would you prefer (PAYG, or just paying for parking)? And would you use it if it was placed in a town centre multi-storey? Anything else I should consider so that we are providing the facility you as users want and will use?
Hi Leaf driver
Also all round supporter of ev's and any mention of a better charging infrastructure. Although I do not live down that way perhaps 1st of all take 100% into account where (how far apart) there are other charge points [if any] and if so what type ? Do your homework on this its important...

Most would vote for a rapid 43-50 kw output with a RIFD type card access-due to the fact the world an his brother don't ALL have smart phones with app's-and reading this site will prove use of apps type payment can (after 8pm !) be a nightmare with people stranded because of its specific type of enforcement.

With a rapid type charger if it's got to be paid for at point of use (most likely) then u will struggle to get a majority response from the ev community if we have to ALSO pay parking per hour as well. Even if it is pennies-example 60p..

U will find a greater support for rapids on 2 simple fronts-the speed of charging the certainty/peace of mind of what it provides in a very short space of time-and level of its technology. Because 7kw posts for public charging will very soon (within 2yrs) slowly start to become obsolete. Again read from this site...

If you can get an agreement from local superstore(s) for these structure to go in that will make public access easier. Especially if they are 24hr..

Bob Leaf
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Welcome to this forum.
You could not have picked a hotter topic as your first post.
Do you drive electric?
Why were you given the job of writing the business case if you don't mind me asking.
What are the terms of reference?
Many thanks for your reply. I work in the sustainability team, and so we are always on a mission to support council activities that lower negative environmental impact (ours and our residents/visitors). We are in the process of doing a general upgrade to a particular car park, and so EV charging is part of a bigger effort to be more sustainable. We're planning on doing LED lighting too, for example.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Not knowing your area it is difficult to be specific but generally Rapids in multi storey car park is not a good idea. Rapids are primarily for those on the move.
Think of it like you fuel an ICE you wouldn't go into a town centre car park to refuel. They are better suited for fast food areas / coffee outlets where someone can do all they need in 30 minutes and move on. You don't want blocking of an expensive charger.
Fast chargers 32A type 2 are ideal for car parks and will encourage visitors both leisure and business and need to be protected from people parking fossil fuel vehicles in the spaces.
Thanks. I'm glad you have confirmed what I was concluding re. rapid vs. fast chargers.
 

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Ecohound
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I don't believe 7Kw points will become obsolete even a 200 mile EV needs charging away from home. When they do charge they are more likely to want a 7kW post than a 16A or 10A. Yes I am a great advocate that most of people's charging is done at home but there are numerous reasons why you would need to charge away from home.
I am sure plenty of Tesla owners want a charge at destinations rather than waiting at a Supercharger.
 

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What kind of charger would you like (fast/rapid)?
Depends where you are putting it. If it's in a place where people are expected to park for several hours, "fast" (ie. actually slow) chargepoints are the right answer. For locations where people only stop a short time, rapids are the only thing that makes sense. In general, slow charging is to provide a service to people who are already coming to that location for other reasons, while rapids should expect to attract traffic to the location for people intending to charge (hence no good if it's a hard location to get at due to traffic, and needs to have something for them to do for the 30 mins they are waiting).

In both cases, the parking regulations need to match the charging speed - it must be prohibited to park for long periods at a rapid, and equally putting a slow chargpoint in a carpark with a 2-hour max stay (has been done!) would not allow anything like a full charge.

What charging model would you prefer (PAYG, or just paying for parking)?
The three key criteria are:
  • Reliable. Many existing schemes rely on getting mobile signal, on lots of wonky back-office software working perfectly, on mobile phone apps apparently written by inexperienced amateurs etc. etc. rendering what on paper might have been reasonable schemes extremely undesirable.
  • Easy to use, with minimum pre-requisites. Needing to apply in advance for smartcards, needing to own a particular brand of mobile phone, accepting only UK-issue bank cards are all significant impediments.
  • Not adding undue extra cost. Since the actual value of the electricity is small, the cost of collecting the fee often ends up greater than the value of the electricity. This is to an extent unavoidable, but if it works out too expensive then the whole project becomes a waste of time because nobody will want to use them. This consideration often forces compromise.

If it's at a carpark with parking charges, integrating the cost with the parking cost scores well on all these fronts.

Introducing your own local scheme with your own smartcard is probably the worst thing you could do, as the admin will be disproportionately expensive and you make it available only to those people who thought in advance to get the card. Bear in mind that unless you are offering it for free or you live in a very dense urban area, most of your local drivers won't want to use the facility anyhow - they will be better off charging at home - so your facility is aimed at visitors or long-distance commuters.

Payment with cash or contactless bank cards is great on the easy-to-use front, but may fall down on the cost to operate (both expensive capital and ongoing fees).

Providing reliability is tricky, since most of the established chargpoint designs have turned out to be junk, while the newer ones are hopefully better but have not yet got much of a track record. In the multi-story situation, relying on mobile phone signal either for customers or the chargepoint itself is high risk; you may need to budget for wired network connection. Whichever way you go, budgeting for adequate maintenance is critical - there's far too many schemes out there where the initial project only considered the capital cost and once they broke there was no money to maintain them.

Fixing the per-transaction cost issue generally means joining one of the established chargepoint networks, which vary both in the deal offered to the end user and the deal offered to the site owner.

As a user, I rather like PodPoint's new model where the reliability issue is addressed by giving 15 minutes free charge (which after all only costs the site owner about 20p), which offers a get-out-of-jail if the comms is completely broken, and give the user time to wander around and find working mobile signal. They also have a combination of apps on popular phone platforms plus website that should give access from other smartphones etc.

Franklin Energy have proposed to solve the mobile signal issue by using wired comms for the point and making it into a wifi hotspot to serve the customers wanting to initiate charge from their smartphones; however I don't think they actually have this in operation yet.

CYC have their voice response system as the ultimate answer to people who don't like smartphones, though this largely relies on mobile comms to the chargepoints and so has reliability issues.

And would you use it if it was placed in a town centre multi-storey?
Yes if the town centre is the sort of place that attracts people from out of town to spend time there (major shopping destination that attracts people from a wide area? Theatres etc? Hotels?). But not if it's the sort of place that mainly attracts locals who are able to charge at home for less money. Probably not a good place for rapids.

Anything else I should consider so that we are providing the facility you as users want and will use?
You want multiple chargepoints at one location: to be actually useful, there has to be a good probability that when you turn up the facility will be available, and the maths works out that 2 points can serve vastly more than twice the traffic for a given level of availability. This also keys in to reliability. So if you were thinking about rapids and installing half a dozen across the borough, it might be better to find three really good sites and put two rapids on each rather than 6 sites with one.

For slow charging, the same applies but even more so as there's no prospect of waiting for the car in front of you to leave - they are likely to be there for hours (and forcing/encouraging them to come back early greatly reduces the desirability of the facility).

Also, you need to have in mind what you will do to expand if the facility becomes popular.

For slow charging, it would be desirable to find equipment that lets you install a large number of points that share out the available power (on the basis that not all will be in use all the time - some will have finished charging, some will be charging more slowly, some will be ICEd etc.).
 

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Discussion Starter #10
T
Depends where you are putting it. If it's in a place where people are expected to park for several hours, "fast" (ie. actually slow) chargepoints are the right answer. For locations where people only stop a short time, rapids are the only thing that makes sense. In general, slow charging is to provide a service to people who are already coming to that location for other reasons, while rapids should expect to attract traffic to the location for people intending to charge (hence no good if it's a hard location to get at due to traffic, and needs to have something for them to do for the 30 mins they are waiting).

In both cases, the parking regulations need to match the charging speed - it must be prohibited to park for long periods at a rapid, and equally putting a slow chargpoint in a carpark with a 2-hour max stay (has been done!) would not allow anything like a full charge.



The three key criteria are:
  • Reliable. Many existing schemes rely on getting mobile signal, on lots of wonky back-office software working perfectly, on mobile phone apps apparently written by inexperienced amateurs etc. etc. rendering what on paper might have been reasonable schemes extremely undesirable.
  • Easy to use, with minimum pre-requisites. Needing to apply in advance for smartcards, needing to own a particular brand of mobile phone, accepting only UK-issue bank cards are all significant impediments.
  • Not adding undue extra cost. Since the actual value of the electricity is small, the cost of collecting the fee often ends up greater than the value of the electricity. This is to an extent unavoidable, but if it works out too expensive then the whole project becomes a waste of time because nobody will want to use them. This consideration often forces compromise.

If it's at a carpark with parking charges, integrating the cost with the parking cost scores well on all these fronts.

Introducing your own local scheme with your own smartcard is probably the worst thing you could do, as the admin will be disproportionately expensive and you make it available only to those people who thought in advance to get the card. Bear in mind that unless you are offering it for free or you live in a very dense urban area, most of your local drivers won't want to use the facility anyhow - they will be better off charging at home - so your facility is aimed at visitors or long-distance commuters.

Payment with cash or contactless bank cards is great on the easy-to-use front, but may fall down on the cost to operate (both expensive capital and ongoing fees).

Providing reliability is tricky, since most of the established chargpoint designs have turned out to be junk, while the newer ones are hopefully better but have not yet got much of a track record. In the multi-story situation, relying on mobile phone signal either for customers or the chargepoint itself is high risk; you may need to budget for wired network connection. Whichever way you go, budgeting for adequate maintenance is critical - there's far too many schemes out there where the initial project only considered the capital cost and once they broke there was no money to maintain them.

Fixing the per-transaction cost issue generally means joining one of the established chargepoint networks, which vary both in the deal offered to the end user and the deal offered to the site owner.

As a user, I rather like PodPoint's new model where the reliability issue is addressed by giving 15 minutes free charge (which after all only costs the site owner about 20p), which offers a get-out-of-jail if the comms is completely broken, and give the user time to wander around and find working mobile signal. They also have a combination of apps on popular phone platforms plus website that should give access from other smartphones etc.

Franklin Energy have proposed to solve the mobile signal issue by using wired comms for the point and making it into a wifi hotspot to serve the customers wanting to initiate charge from their smartphones; however I don't think they actually have this in operation yet.

CYC have their voice response system as the ultimate answer to people who don't like smartphones, though this largely relies on mobile comms to the chargepoints and so has reliability issues.



Yes if the town centre is the sort of place that attracts people from out of town to spend time there (major shopping destination that attracts people from a wide area? Theatres etc? Hotels?). But not if it's the sort of place that mainly attracts locals who are able to charge at home for less money. Probably not a good place for rapids.



You want multiple chargepoints at one location: to be actually useful, there has to be a good probability that when you turn up the facility will be available, and the maths works out that 2 points can serve vastly more than twice the traffic for a given level of availability. This also keys in to reliability. So if you were thinking about rapids and installing half a dozen across the borough, it might be better to find three really good sites and put two rapids on each rather than 6 sites with one.

For slow charging, the same applies but even more so as there's no prospect of waiting for the car in front of you to leave - they are likely to be there for hours (and forcing/encouraging them to come back early greatly reduces the desirability of the facility).

Also, you need to have in mind what you will do to expand if the facility becomes popular.

For slow charging, it would be desirable to find equipment that lets you install a large number of points that share out the available power (on the basis that not all will be in use all the time - some will have finished charging, some will be charging more slowly, some will be ICEd etc.).
Thank you for your considered reply. It's really appreciated. At present I'm trying to hold out for offering free charging, with just the usual parking charges applying as we don't have any resource for dealing with extra administration, but it will depend on the economics working out - I need the pay-back for the capital investment to be within 5 years, otherwise I probably can't get budget at all. I'm trying to ensure we have infrastructure for at least 10 charging points, even if initially we only actually put in between 2 and 6. And part of the business case will take into account that users might stay in Staines town centre slightly longer if they are charging their cars - do you agree that this is a valid possibility? Thanks.
 

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Ecohound
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@arg is right about multiple points I believe in Norway they have found that EV users are more likely to charge at these points. It stands to reason really, if a point is out there is another you can use and if other EV's have arrived you can get a charge.
 

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T

Thank you for your considered reply. It's really appreciated. At present I'm trying to hold out for offering free charging, with just the usual parking charges applying as we don't have any resource for dealing with extra administration, but it will depend on the economics working out - I need the pay-back for the capital investment to be within 5 years, otherwise I probably can't get budget at all. I'm trying to ensure we have infrastructure for at least 10 charging points, even if initially we only actually put in between 2 and 6. And part of the business case will take into account that users might stay in Staines town centre slightly longer if they are charging their cars - do you agree that this is a valid possibility? Thanks.
If it's for all day shopping then ten 13A 3 pin plugs would be the cheapest to install and manage with little risk or maintenance.

If you're more targeted at people coming in for a meal or the cinema etc then 7kW is the way to go....and preferable over the 13A ones where possible.

Some people will stay longer if they're charging their car. If the charging is free and the parking is free then it's a definite that some people will stay longer.

Of course even if the charging is free but car parking is £0.50 an hour the parking costs will be more than the electric people are getting, people who NEED the charge will stay longer, but those who are just grazing on a few electrons wont IMHO.

On the other hand you WILL attract some people to Staines who would otherwise go somewhere else entirley just by having a charging point.
 

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And part of the business case will take into account that users might stay in Staines town centre slightly longer if they are charging their cars - do you agree that this is a valid possibility?
Yes, though probably the bigger one is that people driving to a shopping/leisure destination often have several towns they could drive to, and availability of charging (or quality thereof) is likely to influence which one they go to.
 

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Leaf lover
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Many thanks for your reply. I work in the sustainability team, and so we are always on a mission to support council activities that lower negative environmental impact (ours and our residents/visitors). We are in the process of doing a general upgrade to a particular car park, and so EV charging is part of a bigger effort to be more sustainable. We're planning on doing LED lighting too, for example.
I would keep things simple.
You are doing a general upgrade.
Look for an area that is generally underused because of the layout of the car park. Put a 13a socket to each bay that you are going mark and sign as strictly for EV parking and simply loose the cost of the electricity in the overall parking charge.

Of course the really clever thing to do if the layout is such that every parking space has a place to fix a socket, then fix a 13A socket at every one. That way you have no need to mark and sign the bays and you have no hassle as to who can park where.
 

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Of course the really clever thing to do if the layout is such that every parking space has a place to fix a socket, then fix a 13A socket at every one. That way you have no need to mark and sign the bays and you have no hassle as to who can park where.
I'm not convinced installing 50, 100 maybe 500 13A sockets is really clever in the slightest. Great for EV owners......but the Councils ROI will be decades. :)

Then you'll get the moaners who have never seen anyone use them, then the FOI requests. And the inevitable local rag or opposition politician shouting that 5 people used the facilities in the last month and it cost X etc etc.

Even the really adopter countries with a decent % EV there are no/few car parks like this.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I'm not convinced installing 50, 100 maybe 500 13A sockets is really cleaver in the slightest. Great for EV owners......but the Councils ROI will be decades. :)

Then you'll get the moaners who have never seen anyone use them, then the FOI requests. And the inevitable local rag or opposition politician shouting that 5 people used the facilities in the last month and it cost X etc etc.

Even the really adopter countries with a decent % EV there are no/few car parks like this.
I could never justify expenditure on putting 13A sockets across the whole car park, but it gives me a sense of your vision for the future. I'm probably going to start with 1% of parking spaces being for EVs - that's 6, but will locate them in the most popular places so that they are visible and shows we value EV users. And yes, you are correct that (rightly) the council is under constant scrutiny, and we need this to be a positive story, not one open to criticism and negativity.
 

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will locate them in the most popular places
Please don't. That guarantees they will get ICEd.

I'm also not much convinced of the 13A socket argument in a city centre carpark. 13A sockets (about 8 miles range per hour of charging) are a reasonable second-best option for places people park overnight (hotels etc) but too slow to be really useful in places where people only spend a couple of hours.

Back on the payment issue, agreed that there's huge savings on equipment and running costs as well as benefit to reliability if the charging equipment is just plug-and-go with the payment collected through the parking. If it's a pay-and-display carpark there's lots of things you could do with just a sign on the wall - you could require all people charging to buy at least 2 hours parking regardless of length of stay, or you could require them to have tickets valid for 30 minutes longer than their parking time or whatever fits the tariff to make them spend a little bit more.

IMO (though this is contentious), it's actually not ideal for the charging to be 100% free - as that encourages people who didn't actually need to use it to occupy the spaces, and drives strange behaviour as people bend over backwards to "save money". Doesn't have to be full cost recovery, just a modest disincentive to abuse.
 

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Leaf lover
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I'm not convinced installing 50, 100 maybe 500 13A sockets is really cleaver in the slightest. Great for EV owners......but the Councils ROI will be decades. :)

Then you'll get the moaners who have never seen anyone use them, then the FOI requests. And the inevitable local rag or opposition politician shouting that 5 people used the facilities in the last month and it cost X etc etc.

Even the really adopter countries with a decent % EV there are no/few car parks like this.
Obviously every bay having a socket will not be practical for a lot of places but some multi storey car parks are such that there is a place to fix a 13A socket in a high proportion and I am talking just a good quality 3 pin switched type surface mounted and chances are nobody other than EV owners would bat an eyelid.
This is part of a general upgrade but it future proofs it to some extent.
It keeps it simple, it provides a benefit that encourages shoppers/visitors to stay longer, maintenance is kept simple (plug out of order, move to another spot, council do batch repairs as and when).
I would imagine the cost of install and running would be nothing like as expensive as more elaborate setups and considerably less problematic.
 

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Leaf lover
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I could never justify expenditure on putting 13A sockets across the whole car park, but it gives me a sense of your vision for the future. I'm probably going to start with 1% of parking spaces being for EVs - that's 6, but will locate them in the most popular places so that they are visible and shows we value EV users. And yes, you are correct that (rightly) the council is under constant scrutiny, and we need this to be a positive story, not one open to criticism and negativity.
The reason I asked if you drive electric yourself is that the industry and infrastructure has suffered from money being spent by people who have little knowledge and enthusiasm for EV.
For example a minister with a multi million budget claiming that there wasn't yet a car suitable for his family.
Simply owning an EV makes you realise not only how good they but how simple the charging is for the vast majority of your mileage. The first six months of my Leaf ownership I just plugged into a socket in my garage before I got a tethered lead. At work I had half a dozen sockets to choose from.
This is why the terms of reference would give us an insight as to what the council expect. Do they want to simply give encouragement to shoppers/visitors to use EV or to display how green they are with some very visible expensive equipment?
 
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