Charging infrastructure on company premises

    The number of electric-powered vehicles on the road is rising constantly - thanks to comprehensive subsidies from the German government for both private individuals and companies, the medium-term trend will be even stronger than before. 

    Even if opinions are still divided on whether hybrid or all-electric vehicles make more economic and ecological sense, the number of vehicles is increasing and with it the need to charge such vehicles. To ensure that the mobility revolution does not fail due to a lack of charging stations, public charging points alone are not enough. The "Charging Infrastructure Master Plan" envisages one million charging points by 2030 for the ten million e-vehicles forecast. Since March, the Building Electric Mobility Infrastructure Act (GEIG) has therefore been in force, requiring the installation of charging points in new or extensively renovated commercial buildings. And it won't stop there: The EU intends to require owners to install charging stations in all major buildings starting in 2025. However, the official EU decision is still pending. So the real estate industry will have little choice but to invest - but it will also benefit.

    Since not every private user has a home charging option, it is increasingly attractive for employers, traders and operators of residential properties to offer charging options in customer and employee parking lots, for example. Various retail chains, home improvement stores, companies with their own parking lots and housing associations already offer charging options. Equipping properties with charging infrastructure not only enhances their value, but also attracts new user groups. When renting out electrified parking spaces, housing companies benefit from increased parking space rents. New business potential can also be tapped with the combination of charging infrastructure and communal power generation systems, especially if properties are equipped with photovoltaics or battery storage. In the meantime, there are also subsidy measures for the charging infrastructure itself in many places, which can be interesting for companies.

    Before planning, installing and commissioning a charging infrastructure for e-vehicles, it is important to consider the company's own usage requirements. The operator must think about to whom and during which period the charging points will be made available. Only employees, only customers or both - during the day or also at night?

    Finally, at the interface with the car, there is the question of which apparatus will be used to transmit the electricity from the property. Location, equipment and type of property dictate whether a wallbox or a charging pole makes more sense. Charging columns are suitable for use in public or semi-public parking lots outdoors, such as at the side of the road. Wallboxes, on the other hand, are primarily suitable for indoor use (private garage, underground parking, etc.). As a rule, wallboxes are screwed to the wall. However, they can also be installed on open spaces such as carports or outdoor parking lots by means of a pedestal.

    If the choice falls on one or more charging columns, the decision for AC or DC columns is still pending. Basically, the batteries of electric vehicles can only be charged with direct current (DC). Since the public power grid is based on alternating current (AC), a transformation from AC to DC takes place during charging. If the electric vehicles are charged at an AC charging station, the current is converted via a charge controller permanently installed in the vehicle. When charging at a DC charging station, this intermediate step is omitted because the current is passed directly to the battery. DC charging is thus significantly faster, but also more cost-intensive in terms of hardware acquisition and network reinforcement and installation costs.

    Whether it is a wallbox or a charging station, the facility manager is affected at the latest in the course of the make-ready measures, i.e. the preparatory technical and structural measures for laying the power connection. In addition, the charging facility must be connected to the IT backend of the charging station operator. In addition, approval from the local authorities is usually required.

    Particularly in the case of properties with several tenants, it is important to draw up an overall concept when setting up the charging infrastructure so that no patchwork charging infrastructure is created that unnecessarily places more strain on the building infrastructure or makes it more difficult to achieve efficiency gains through intelligent load management.

    Even if the expansion of the charging infrastructure seems like an unwelcome constraint to some building operators, the opportunity to invest here has never been so favorable - especially against the backdrop of a market that is just beginning to develop, the many subsidy programs and tax incentives, and the legal situation that is becoming even more stringent for building operators and landlords.