EV charging in commercial and industrial buildings

03 JUNE 2022 • 7 MIN READ

Piotr Majcher



EV charging in commercial and industrial buildings

The conversations on charging infrastructure are still circling around as one of the main topics of the EV debate. As much as it leaves no question that the demand for charging stations remains high, there are also ways to sneak a whole lot of charging points into the everyday use of city infrastructure.

As cities grow increasingly more populated and 'smart', the opportunities to fill them up with EV charging infrastructure arise directly proportional. The infrastructure that's already in place may in fact serve to power up not only the charging networks but most importantly the demand for electric vehicles itself. By infrastructure it can mean anything from shopping malls, office buildings, hotels, restaurants, bigger and smaller venues and residential developments.

Most commercial and industrial buildings have a few things in common: large parking areas, many tenants and employees, and often a central location in the city. These types of buildings are also uniquely positioned to support the growth of EVs, thanks to their pre-existing electrical capacity. These factors make commercial and industrial buildings the ideal candidates for the electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

It also comes with many benefits not only for the eMobility industry, but also for the aforementioned buildings.

EV charging infrastructure - benefits for the building complexes

So as not to focus purely on the advantages for eMobility, let’s take a look at what EV charging infrastructure may bring to the table of building owners and management.

To begin with, sustainability is becoming an important factor in the business world. By installing EV charging infrastructure, commercial and industrial buildings can significantly improve their eco-friendly standpoint. Such actions would work immensely in terms of the marketing value, placing EV charging-inclusive buildings in front of their competitors. What's more, by investing in EV infrastructure, building owners can take advantage of the ever-growing public interest in eMobility. This way, they can ensure that their buildings are future-proof and will remain relevant as the world moves towards a more sustainable future

Positive impact would also be visible in terms of attracting the customers, as all EV users are much likely to choose a place with commodities for them. This also opens up the possibility of collaborating with local car rentals offering electric vehicles.

In terms of the actual installation process, most commercial and industrial buildings already have the electrical capacity to support EV charging infrastructure. This means that, in many cases, installing EV chargers may not require any additional wiring or other major work. Simply put, it's a matter of connecting the chargers to the existing electrical system.

Of course, the number of chargers that can be installed will depend on the specific electrical capacity of the building. However, even a relatively small number of chargers can have a significant impact, as they can be used by multiple tenants and employees. In fact, a study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory found that a single EV charger can service 10 to 20 EVs per day.

Furthermore, the installation of EV charging infrastructure can also help commercial and industrial buildings to meet their energy needs in a more sustainable way. By using renewable energy to power the chargers, buildings can further reduce their environmental impact.

EV charging infrastructure - benefits for the eMobility industry

Certainly the biggest advantage of wide EV chargers installations would be the extent to which it would ameliorate the overall charging infrastructure. Apart from the obvious availability of charging stations for electric vehicles’ users, in such scenario one could also observe the increased familiarity with this particular means of transport amongst those who had little to none contact with it. The great  acclimatization could massively increase the global interest iv EVs, the moment more and more people would realize how accessible and normalized these are by finding the charging components in commercial buildings such as hotels or office environments.

Another benefit here would be for the local Charge Point Operators and eMobility Service Providers who would get the opportunity to partake in shared business ventures of installing, managing and maintaining chargers for the buildings’ owners. Same for those who develop the software solutions required to run a pool of charging stations. In such a case, the local eMobility (but not only) business market could bloom with incoming projects serving the entrepreneurs as much as the industry.

This would also positively affect the electric vehicles’ manufacturers as the market for their product would suddenly open up to a much wider audience. The industrial production of EVs itself could shift to a higher gear once the surge in demand arrives and this could lead to an overall drop in prices due to increased economies of scale.

In the end, it is certain that a wide-spread installation of EV chargers in commercial and industrial buildings would have a positive impact on many industries and economic sectors. The increased availability of charging infrastructure would make electric vehicles more accessible to the general public, which could lead to a surge in demand for these products. This, in turn, would have a positive impact on the electric vehicle industry, as well as the industries that support it. Ultimately, this would lead to a more sustainable future for both the economy and the environment.

EV charging in practise

Of course, such solutions are already used in practice in many places. The idea of charging an electric car at one's lodging is becoming more popular as companies like Hilton and Destination Hotels partner up with Tesla to offer this service. Such partnership means that guests can charge any other kind on sale, including Nissan Leaf - currently ranked among top-selling vehicles worldwide according to the CNN data. Such undertakings can be observed around the world. Marriott Hotels have been integrating EV charges for close to a decade and are currently having more than 1,700 charging stations at more than 600 hotels.

EV charging infrastructure grows increasingly popular amongst residential properties. At present, developers in bigger cities tend to implement charging points in a lot of new blocks of flats, giving their residents easy charging. Same goes with shopping malls and the surrounding parkings.

Possibilities for software development

As mentioned above, such a solution poses a great deal of opportunity for many industries, including software development agencies.

Namely, such chargers require a suitable software enabling the maintenance and management as well as apps for EV drivers from which they can start/stop charging or simply pay. In cases of residential buildings, these may even be apps designed specifically for residents to schedule their charger. It makes for a great opportunity for software houses to build up expertise in the eMobility field and come together in making chargers more accessible and easier to manage.

EV charging infrastructure in commercial buildings - post scriptum

With all the aforementioned benefits, naturally there come many challenges. These include all the technical aspects from picking the right type of charges and their maintenance solutions all the way to anything related to the installation and electrical capacity. Much like with any introduced innovation, the beginning may be slightly hard but so worth it at the end, given all the advantages it brings to the table.

And it brings a lot to both eMobility as it stands as well as other industries who may get involved at any level. Not to mention the marketing behind electric vehicles and mass familiarity with the topic among potential customers and future EV drivers.