05 Mar 2024

Charging into work

Charging at work is an advantage for employees and for the company itself. If the charging energy is obtained from renewable sources, charging at work is also an investment in the future and a significant contribution to the promotion of e-mobility.
    
Across Great Britain, people who usually drive to work account for around 68% of journeys among a total of 2.3 million commuters. This figure varies from region to region but gives an indication of the extent to which motorised private transport accounts for the share of greenhouse gas emissions. This fact should be enough to use electric vehicles instead of internal combustion engines, and the wide range of models available on the market, now covering almost all vehicle classes, is also helping to make electric cars increasingly attractive to a wider public. Yet the lack of charging infrastructure is still an obstacle for many users in making the final switch to battery-powered cars. Moreover, the increase in BEVs on the road will consequently require more charging options across the board: motorists will not be willing to give up their combustion engine-driven vehicles without the security of reliable infrastructure. This does not necessarily mean that they need a private home charger.
    
Charging stations are becoming necessary wherever people spend time, i.e. at the supermarket, the gym, and, above all, at work. The possibility of charging points at work is a key factor in the transition to e-mobility, because it allows even those who do not have the option of charging at home to easily switch to an electric car. Rapid infrastructure expansion throughout the country is therefore essential for the further development of e-mobility, but this is not just a call for politicians to take action. In fact, the economy can also make a contribution if companies are willing to install charging stations in parking areas and car parks, offering visitors and employees the option of recharging their vehicles on site.

A benefit for society as a whole
Outside the home, work is the place where a car spends the longest time parked. For the driver, it makes no difference whether recharging takes place during the day or at night. If they are able to conveniently recharge their vehicle during working hours, usually about eight per day, they no longer have to recharge at home overnight. Some commuters live in urban centres, in residential neighbourhoods where access to their own charging infrastructure is still limited. For these people, the availability of charging stations at their work means that they can avoid trips to public charging stations.
    
Rural areas, on the other hand, which are most affected by large industrial and commercial developments, could also benefit from expansion of the charging infrastructure. How? Through installation of modern and efficient charging management systems, vehicles can be connected daily during normal working hours. This in turn can provide impetus for additional future-oriented expansion and can thus increase flexibility and technological progress. The expansion of state-of-the-art charging infrastructure in these areas would also increase the population’s willingness to switch from internal combustion engine-driven vehicles, which are still widespread, to electric cars.

Smart stations for charging in parking areas and car parks
22 kW devices with a type 2 plug are ideal for this type of use, either permanently installed on a wall or pillar, or as portable chargers which also make conventional power sources accessible via various adapters. Regardless of which option is chosen, these stations are mostly intended for parking areas and car parks and must have certain features. First, they must be equipped with integrated fault current protection, which can detect power loss and automatically disconnect the power supply to protect users and the network. They must be safe, robust, and durable in accordance with an internationally recognised protection class, preferably IP67 and IK10. Finally, they must be intelligent and thus set up for dynamic load management, be controlled by the energy supplier, updated over the air, and should make it possible for the charging process to be activated through simple access management with RFID or Plug&Charge.
    
The Juice Charger me 3 from Juice Technology meets all of these requirements, as well as having an attractive design with minimalist shapes that allows the device to integrate well into all kinds of contexts. It is easy to handle and immediately ready for use since it arrives from the factory already pre configured, clear in its functionality and intuitive to operate.
    
The device is available in 11- or 22-kW versions and the hardware of each version is already ready for this modification at no extra cost. It is compact and the entire unit weighs only 6.5 kilos including the 5-metre cable, which guarantees flexibility of use. Being shock-resistant and completely waterproof, the device is suitable for indoor and outdoor use. In addition, it meets the requirements of the new ISO 15118 standard and is compatible with the Plug and Charge protocol, which allows charging to be activated as soon as the cable is connected to the car if the car supports the technology (otherwise, it is activated with the RFID card provided).
    
This wall charger is particularly suitable for charging at any public or private facility, as it can be ordered with a (calibrated) MID-certified meter and, as an additional option, with an integrated circuit breaker. The charging current is therefore accurately billed according to consumption, and the device can be easily and economically integrated into power distribution systems.
    
Communication with the backend system and device updates are carried out either over the air via Wi-Fi or by cable via Ethernet. Each station is ready for dynamic load management of up to 250 units.
Where does the electricity to charge vehicles come from? A question that comes up, but the energy question could also be effectively solved by charging at work using locally generated electricity. Indeed, the proportion of energy generated from renewable sources is steadily increasing and, to date, already accounts for 42.8% of the UK’s total electricity production. Photovoltaic modules can generate solar power efficiently and cost-effectively when installed on the roofs of manufacturing, commercial, office and large car park buildings. Excess electricity would flow directly into car batteries. At the same time, the system would produce enough energy to supply the building and pay for itself after a few years through savings on energy purchases.
    
According to a study conducted by the Fraunhofer Institute on behalf of the German Association for Nature Conservation and Biodiversity, recharging at work is even the most efficient way to promote electric mobility. CO2 emissions could be reduced simply by shifting the recharging time to normal working hours, especially if the energy was generated from renewable sources.

Social benefits
From a corporate perspective, the presence of charging stations at work is increasingly appreciated as a service for employees and visitors, while it can be an essential operational tool for companies with a fleet of electric vehicles. If a company or public body provides employees with the infrastructure and power for charging free of charge, both parties will benefit. Employees will be able to charge their vehicles during working hours and, at the same time, the company will be able to present itself as an employer with a strong employer brand, able to attract new talent and retain the professionals it already employs. Companies like Juice that offer their employees the option of recharging at work not only provide employees with a practical benefit but also promote a sustainable mobility model.