The UK government announced a series of measures to end the country’s contribution to climate change by 2050 and achieve a greener transport future. These steps include phasing out the sale of new petrol and diesel cars/vans by 2030 and ensuring that all new cars/vans are fully zero-emissions at the tailpipe from 2035. Plans are supported by over £1.8 billion of government funding intended to encourage the uptake of greener vehicles. Funding includes grants for purchasing zero or ultra-low emissions cars/vans, as well as grants for local authorities, businesses, and homeowners to install EV chargepoints. The UK government has pledged £1.3 billion to accelerate the installation of electric vehicle charging stations in homes and on streets across the UK, as well as on motorways in England. However, installing an EV charger is not as simple as just connecting it to your electricity supply. There are many factors to consider and electrical parameters that need to be monitored. Investing in a portable energy logger, such as Chauvin Arnoux’s PEL103, provides an easy, ergonomic, and economic solution to evaluating your company’s capacity to support multiple EV chargepoints.
Investing in a PEL
Some of the things to think about before installing an electric vehicle chargepoint are cost, electrical load, impact on your electricity supply, and earthing requirements. A portable energy logger cannot help you with earthing; however, it does provide an easy way of assessing your business' capacity to support EV charging stations, as well as the impact they may have on your electricity supply, particularly with regards to harmonics and load balance. Portable energy loggers, such as Chauvin Arnoux’s PEL103, not only provide an initial assessment of these criteria, they can help you to monitor the long-term impacts of electric vehicle charging points.
Moreover, PELs offer a convenient method of evaluating your company’s general energy efficiency and can provide insights into ways you could save electricity, money, and emissions. They quickly pay for themselves in recuperated energy costs. For an overview of how you can use portable energy loggers to optimise energy efficiency, please see our blog Eight Steps Businesses Should Take Towards Energy Efficiency.
4 Things to Consider Before Installing an EV Chargepoint
With help from Chauvin Arnoux, we've highlighted the factors you should consider when installing an EV charger. We also offer guidance on using PELs to draw meaningful conclusions about these determinants.
1.) Type of EV Chargepoint
Homes, businesses, and motorways will all have different requirements when it comes to EV chargers. Standard/ slow chargers will re-power a car/van within 8 and 12 hours. This is ideal for homeowners who have the luxury of recharging their car/van overnight. However, it’s not so great for people travelling on motorways to important meetings. Therefore, it is much more likely that you’ll encounter a supercharger or rapid-charger on an M- or A-road. These stations can deliver a substantial amount of charge in as little as 10 to 20 minutes.
To deliver significant charge, motorway EV stations draw a large load; most are rated at 130kW or more, compared to home chargers which have a rating of only 3kW. Installing multiple 130kW loads on company premises will prove very challenging and expensive; however, standard/slow chargers will not deliver enough charge to cars over the course of the workday. Due to this, company’s tend to install mid-range charging stations such as 7kW-rated, single-phase points which will charge a car in 3 to 4 hours or 22kW-rated, three-phase chargers which will re-power a vehicle in 1 to 2 hours.
Another thing to consider before installing EV chargers is how many of these stations you anticipate your business will need. As the UK shifts towards greener travel, more and more of these chargepoints will be required. The more you install the greater the load.
2.) Electrical Supply Capacity
Having decided on a number and type of EV chargers, you’ll need to assess whether you have the electrical supply capacity to support them. Installing a portable energy logger in a distribution board can help with this. For example, a PEL103 will log data over hours, days or weeks, allowing you to ascertain when your business’ peak load occurs and whether you have enough spare supply capacity (headroom) to accommodate the chargepoints. If you do, great that’s one requirement met. If you don’t, it’s not a problem, you might just need to upgrade your energy plan.
Installing EV chargepoints may spark an increase in harmonics. This is because a DC supply is needed to charge a car/van. Therefore, the EV charger or electric vehicle will feature a rectifier to convert the AC supply into a DC supply; as all rectifiers are non-linear loads they generate harmonics. If harmonics exceed the permitted amount specified by your energy supplier you may be required to switch off the EV chargepoints. Moreover, high harmonics can cause malfunctioning equipment and overheating conductors, resulting in costly downtime.
Therefore, to ensure you are not approaching the permitted limit, it is a good idea to assess the harmonics in your system before installing EV points. PELs provide an easy way of doing this; they also offer a simple method of monitoring harmonics levels once EV chargepoints have been installed. For advice on choosing a PEL with the relevant harmonics measurements, please see our blog Introducing Portable Energy Loggers.
4.) Load Balancing
As mentioned above there are two types of mid-range EV chargers: single-phase 7kW-rated stations and three-phase 22kW-rated stations. The 7kW-rated chargepoints, while smaller loads, may prove challenging to install in three-phase systems as they could trigger phase imbalance across the supply. This can cause issues such as excessive vibration, overheating, and inefficient operation resulting in increased energy usage, higher costs, and more carbon emissions – the very thing green travel is trying to avoid. With a PEL, you can verify that the phases are balanced regardless of whether the EV chargers are in use. A portable energy logger also allows you to monitor the effects of load redistribution, allowing you to optimise phase balancing.
For more advice regarding the installation of EV chargepoints and/or further information about Chauvin Arnoux’s PEL103 Portable Energy Logger Kit, please don’t hesitate to contact our Sales team on 01642 931 329 or via our online form.
In the meantime, please browse our complete collection of Chauvin Arnoux Power Quality Analysers.
 GOV.UK, Government takes historic step towards net-zero with end of sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030, last accessed 19 May 2021 <https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-takes-historic-step-towards-net-zero-with-end-of-sale-of-new-petrol-and-diesel-cars-by-2030>
 The information for this blog was gathered using the following source:
- Chauvin Arnoux, The hidden challenges of EV charge point installation, last accessed 19 May 2021
Where additional sources have been used, separate references have been added.