Energy Transition New York

Smart charging reducing capital and operational expenditures for EV charging.

Last week Breaking Energy reported that the US will not meet its 1 million ZEV by 2015. All-in all not a very big surprise as the 2010 goal was pretty bald to begin with. Nevertheless it is good to be consciounness about the progress the US made and the hurdles we still need to overcome.

One of the premier drivers of EV’s in the US is the strong support of grassroots organizations like Plug-in America. From 15 to 21st of september they with a nummber of other organizations organize the National Plug-in Week will take place and throughout the US, people will meet EV’s and more importantly their drivers to share experiences.

At these local events, range anxiety is an often heard argument for non EV drivers to not purchase an EV. While the argument of range anxiety is debatable, 95% of commute distance is less than 40 miles, high capital and operational cost for EV infra owners are less so. Upfront EV charger cost, including equipment and installation, are a barrier for property owners to invest in EV charging. After installation, operational cost can be cumbersome, especially when you have a number of EV chargers adding to your demand charge.

Chargers in demand, as number of EV’s continue to grow

For example, in the near future, EV adoption rate will reach 10% in urban areas. To service these cars properly, about at least 3% percent of the parking spaces should be designated for EV drivers (in the Netherlands it is 0.3 publicly accesible charger to the EV). In an average parking lot with 300 spaces, this amounts to 10 chargers. 

As EV’s become more mainstream, customers will be more demanding. And as a propierty owner there is a distinct difference between having and operating 2 chargers or 10 chargers in a parking lot. If you don’t have at least a 11 kW charger, it will be difficult to service the short term visitors.  However putting 10 chargers in place. that charge with 11 kW at the same time, can have severe effects on the demand charge of your electricity bill (which runs up to 30% of your electricity bill) and the wires you need to put in place.

Smart Charging

To avoid these cost, propierty owners will make use of smart charging. The EV chargers are not managed by their technical capacity, but by business rules set-up by the owner of the charging stations. These can be used to avoid demand chargers, to limit the cost of the installation, to implement solar panels. When the operator of the smart charging stations is able to communicate with the utility, they could incorporate time of use pricing and demand response. With demand response the EV charger even turns into a double sided business model.  Dutch field test have shown that EV charge station owners can reduce their operational plus capital expenditures with 15-20%. These results are still preliminary, but as the EV market grows, the demand for EV chargers will grow. To avoid huge cost for parking lot owners, East Coast Electric and its partners want to work with US companies to demonstrate Smart Charging in the US and the effects on the bottomline for a parking garage. 

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