A S Ramsay’s M&E Manager Claudio Cannas looks at EV Charging for blocks and what Block Managers should consider before installation.
Electric car ownership more than doubled last year (there are now around 750,000 pure electric or hybrid vehicles on UK roads) and the market continues to grow. The government pledge that diesel and petrol cars will be banned from sale by 2030 means all cars will be electric in the near future – and electric cars need electric charging points. This is good news for the environment and there are potentially new revenue opportunities for landlords to benefit from too.
However, there are some challenges for Block Managers to consider, such as who will pay for the installation, will the power supply be sufficient, the ownership of land, disruption to other residents during installation and as a result potential opposition to the scheme. Here are our top tips for making sure your EV Charging project runs smoothly and brings benefits to you, your client and their residents.
Site survey and feasibility checks
It is really important that the site survey examines the feasibility of bringing electric vehicle chargers to your clients. You may have a remote parking site that is not attached to your block, or you may not have the power supply necessary to meet the demand of the charging points. Will you be using a landlord’s power supply, for which they will need reimbursing? Most leases do not offer owned car parking spaces – car parks are usually connected to a communal supply that is covered by the service charge. Even if a flat does have an allocated parking space, the electricity supply (if there is one) will not be connected to the flat’s electricity meter. These however, are not insurmountable problems. EV charging technology is rapidly evolving and there are many options available. The survey allows your Block Contractor to put forward the best solution for your project.
Spec your charger properly
Choosing communal or allocated chargers is normally based on a number of important factors. For instance, what kind of power supply can you run into the parking area? It is important to choose a charging system that can provide users with information about charging in real time and keeps a searchable charging history for each user. You may also want to look for an EVC that lets you programme charging schedules to match lower tariff times, reducing the costs for plug-in vehicle owners. Pay-as-you-go solutions work very well as electricity used by individual residents can be monitored and paid for by the individual, not subsidised by the rest of the block. Your contractor should also make sure your charging solution incorporates load management, particularly if there is a limit on the power supply available, as this will share the available capacity equally across all active charging stations.
Get the power supply sorted
The Distribution Network Operator (DNO) will need to be engaged and notified for any large scale EVC installations for approval and good communication here is crucial. Block Contractors with established M&E services, like A S Ramsay, have lots of experience in liaising with the DNOs. This part of the service is vital to the infrastructure of your EV Charging project and your Block Contractor should be on the ball in making sure response times and lead times, or any further work from the DNO itself, are managed efficiently and appropriately factored into your project.
Keep the residents happy
Disruption to residents must be kept to a minimum. Although EVC is the future, it is not yet welcomed by everyone. This is particularly true when it comes to apartment blocks, and it is easy to see why. At the moment, only a few residents are likely to require Electric Vehicle Charging and the majority won’t take kindly to subsidising this extra electricity via the service charge. But there are many different options, such as pay as you go solutions combined with apps, that can deal with the issues that may arise in residential blocks. Some residents may also be concerned about the disruption caused by installation, while others will want to know precisely what they will get for their money. Our vast experience in dealing with multi-let properties means our processes are finely tuned and focus on the key point of clear communication across the project team and with the residents. Our key focus is to minimise inconvenience and offer outstanding communication, with a willingness to adapt to the needs of your residents.
Get the back office in place
Once the infrastructure is in place you will need support on billing, back office and ongoing maintenance. Look for a Block Contractor that offers this as part of their package of options which make life easier for Block Managers. Our EV Charging service incorporates the installation through to the back office and ongoing billing support you and your residents will need.
M and E Manager