Be.EV charging hub

EV charging on site: a race for power?

Electricity is the invisible thread running through trusts’ sustainability strategies and decarbonisation plans. Electrifying everything from patient and staff transport to heating and cooling means fights for power can easily ensue on NHS estates.

EV charging for fleets, staff, patients and visitors can put a particularly high demand on local power. But can estates teams really justify prioritising power to chargers in carparks over powering the hospital?

Well planned EV charging means they don’t have to. At Be.EV, we work with NHS trusts to build the right charging provision across estates - to cater for all key user groups, now and in future. The issue of power comes up and time and again in our conversations with estates teams. Here are two key tips on how to deliver EV charging without a power struggle.

Don’t centralise

Concentrating all your EV charging in one place is the biggest mistake you can make. It means putting EV chargers close to main facilities to cater for all your different user groups at once - staff, visitors, patients, taxis, fleet vehicles. That’s likely to take up one of the most coveted commodities on your estate: existing parking bays. But it’s also immediately limiting.

To put in a future-proof solution with the right number and the right mix of rapid, ultra-rapid and fast chargers, you need a lot of power available in that one place.

Quite often, this isn’t possible, so sticking to the location means reducing the number or speed of chargers. You end up with a solution that tries to cater for everybody, but in practice caters for nobody and is neither scalable nor able to earn its keep.

Instead, look at the whole estate and its local area. Identify your key user groups and their specific requirements. Who needs to charge very quickly, who can charge over night? Who needs to charge close by, who can charge on the way in or out, away from the main site? Planning EV charging across the estate will result in a decentralised solution that is deliverable today and scalable tomorrow.

Don’t overdo it

Size isn’t everything. And sheer charger numbers are no longer a sign of a fit-for-purpose charging solution. Fewer, but much faster chargers can serve more people and can be used on the go (on the way in or out, farther away from the destination). The right (and working!) chargers in the right place are better than banks of them in the wrong location.

You also don’t have to meet future demand today. Provide what is needed now, with the option to expand. Then monitor demand and evolve your charging sites over time. This means you can plan your power provision and any upgrades needed over the longer term.

And finally, be clear who you as an NHS trust really have to provide EV charging for. Who are your most important users? Who do you want to encourage to go electric? And who of those absolutely need to charge on the estate?

Public EV charging infrastructure is evolving fast. Be part of that, contribute and share, but don’t feel you have to become an electricity source for the community. That way, there’s enough power going round for everybody.

For more insights and an overview of common pitfalls when planning EV charging, download our short guide for NHS estates teams here.

Be.EV is a public EV charging provider. It works with NHS trusts, local authorities, universities and private business to build concentrated regional charging networks that work for local communities. Be.EV cares about getting EV charging right – for existing and future drivers, and for you. Don’t know where to start, need advice or a second opinion? Be.EV’s experienced team can help: https://be-ev.co.uk/what-we-offer/for-nhs-trusts/

 

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NHE May/June 2024

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