| Preparing Commercial Facilities for the Age of Electric Vehicles
| A NEW ERA FOR MOBILITY
Electric vehicles are on the rise. Not only is the demand increasing, but supply is beginning to catch up with that demand. Most major vehicle manufacturers have committed to developing at least a handful of electric vehicle options by this point, and it’s only a matter of time before they become a popular choice for the general public. In the commercial vehicle world, buzz around electric fleets is starting to grow. So with all that in mind, here are some important things to consider when it comes to the effect of EVs on commercial facilities.
| APPEAL TO EMPLOYEES AND CUSTOMERS
There are pros and cons to electric vehicles. We know they’re not everyone’s first choice, but there are enough positives that demand for battery-powered logistics and transportation is steadily climbing. So before we look at how commercial facilities can incorporate EV infrastructure, let’s talk about why you’d want to in the first place.
If your facility is open to customers, it’s a good idea to have a few EV chargers in the parking lot. Because EVs take longer to recharge than standard vehicles take to refuel, dedicated charging stations aren’t as feasible as gas stations. It’s much more convenient to have them in mall parking lots and other similar locations. This way, customers can recharge vehicles while they shop and dine rather than wait at a charging station.
For employees, EV chargers can be a great perk when deciding where they want to work. Especially in a job market as volatile as today’s, something as simple as EV chargers can help your business attract top candidates. The convenience of having a fully charged electric vehicle at the end of the work day can be a welcome relief for your employees. Not to mention the fact that it’s a great investment in greener technology that can save money long-term.
| FLEET CONVERSION
But what about the facility itself and all of its assets? How will electric vehicles impact business logistics in the future? These questions will become ever-more important as EV popularity expands.
Many major corporations like Amazon are already looking into electric delivery vehicles. Recent announcements from major automotive manufacturers have also brought electric mobility into the realm of fleet trucks and there are already electrified versions of existing equipment like forklifts. All of this means installing electric vehicle chargers can benefit your business directly in addition to the benefits they can offer to customers and employees. The efficiency and cost effectiveness that these vehicles have provided to consumers are now available to businesses, helping your bottom line.
| PROFESSIONAL EVALUATION
Let’s say you’ve done your research and you’re excited about the prospect of bringing EV chargers to your facility. Now what?
It’s time to call your electrician. They’ll be able to visit and give you a professional evaluation with all of the pros and cons for your specific situation. Be sure to let them know what types of vehicles you’ll be charging. While many vehicles can plug into a wide variety of standardized chargers, some require specialized equipment and connections so your electrician will need to factor that into an installation plan.
They’re going to look at a few different things when determining if and how your facility can take advantage of this technology. First and foremost, they ought to look at the primary power supply for the facility. Some older structures don’t meet the standards of modern electrical code, so that would need to be updated first before proceeding with electric charger installation. After that, it’s just a matter of determining how to route power to the chargers and completing the installation.
| ELECTRIC VEHICLE CHARGER INSTALLATION
Depending on the charger placement, installation can involve a combination of a few different steps. For most exterior installs, routing power is going to involve some excavation to run buried conduit out to the chargers. It keeps the conduit out of the way, which improves both safety and aesthetics. When it comes to interior installs, in places like warehouses or service centers, it’s more common to see conduit run overhead and along the walls rather than buried. That’s because aesthetics aren’t as important in those settings and it saves you from having to dig into a building’s foundation.
After power is routed, it’s just a matter of installing the charger according to the manufacturer’s specifications. This should always be done by a licensed electrician that’s certified in EV charger installation. These devices have power levels that can reach up to 600 volts in some cases – more than enough to be highly dangerous. It’s best to leave this to the professionals. They’ll make sure everything is properly installed and safe to use.
| HERE TO STAY
Any way you slice it, mobility is changing. Electric vehicles are surging right now and alternative fuels are being researched for future applications. Whatever happens, one thing is certain: these changes are here to stay. They’ve progressed enough that they’re good options for commercial facilities to consider. If you’ve been thinking about how electric vehicles can impact your business, now is a great time to contact your electrician.
AAA Facility Services is a C-10 licensed commercial electrician and certified EV charger installer. Contact us today to learn more about our EV charger installation services.