Making your commercial building EV ready
The Drive electric NSW EV ready buildings commercial quick reference guide to making your commercial building EV ready provides an overview of the main charging solutions available for commercial buildings.
The 5 steps to EV readiness
EV charging is a high-power application that impacts overall building power supply. Obtaining sufficient electrical capacity for commercial EV charging can involve high upgrade costs.
Only the owner can make strategic investment decisions for a commercial building, although it is the tenants and visitors that receive the direct benefit of the infrastructure.
A tenant may initiate a request to the owner to provide EV charging. Use our template letter to get started. An owner may react to a request by starting with a few dedicated EV charging car spaces and expanding the number as demand increases.
When you are ready to start planning to make your building EV ready, there are five important steps to consider.
Step 1 – Survey
Carry out a stakeholder survey to help gauge EV charging needs and attitudes. The results can assist with determining the appropriate strategy, including demand and for supporting infrastructure.
Our commercial survey template will help you get started.
Step 2 – Building energy assessment
Obtain a building EV charging assessment to understand the impacts of EV charging.
Critical elements of an energy assessment include identifying:
- existing circuit breaker sizes
- historical peak energy loads
- energy usage patterns
- energy efficiency actions to reduce load and create extra electrical capacity (such as lighting upgrades)
- whether you have the spare electrical capacity to accommodate EV chargers.
Our building energy assessment for EV charging template letter will help you when quoting for work.
Step 3 – Evaluate approach and use
Select the right approach (or combination of) for your building, by considering:
- how long your customers / tenants are parking– overnight, during the day or short stops
- your customers / tenants charging expectations – do they want a top up or full charge.
There may be sites that use a mixture of approaches to cater for shorter and longer vehicle parking, as well as overnight charging.
For example: XY delivery company do city and regional deliveries:
- the city-based fleet may charge overnight and top-up during the day for city trips
- regional trips may require overnight or short stop charging for the return visit.
Overnight charging generally involves low power over several hours in designated overnight EV charging spaces.
This is often the most practical charging option for vehicles usually parked overnight in a commercial setting – they are recharged when not in use.
The class of building this is suited for include 3, 4, 5, and 7: Car parks, hotels, short stay, caravan parks, commercial pool vehicle parking and multi-unit mixed use.
This approach has the following charging level options and considerations:
level 1 – standard power point
- provides 100 km to 200 km range in 10 hours (overnight)
- load control such as timers may be required depending on the number of concurrent charging sessions
- maximum of two power points per circuit (as per Australian Wiring Standard 3000)
- difficult to monitor and implement cost recovery.
level 2 – dedicated EV supply equipment (e.g. 7 kW charger)
- provides the ability to fully charge EVs overnight
- conditional on the electrical capacity of switchboards and wiring
- load control such as timers or peak demand management may be required
- can facilitate usage monitoring and fee-for-use.
Normally installed and maintained by your local electrician.
Part or whole-of-day charging
Commercial buildings can provide a convenient daytime EV charging service to not only its fleet vehicles, but also to visitors and employees who own EVs.
Class of buildings this is suited for include 3, 5, 7, 8 and 9: Commercial buildings, medical centres, universities, hotels, short-stay and associated car parks.
There are two types of charging level options with the following considerations:
level 2: dedicated EV supply equipment (3.5 kW / 7 kW / 22 kW chargers)
- provides 50 km to 100 km range per hour (about 80% charge in 4 to 6 hours)
- may require load control to respond to other electrical demand in the building
- level 3 – dedicated DC ‘fairly fast’ charging station (25 kW to 100 kW)
- Suitable when demand for charging is likely to be high and charging sessions must be limited to no longer than 2 hours
- provides 50 km to 600 km range per hour (about 80% charge in 1 hour)
- requires relatively high dedicated electrical capacity.
For both options you will need to:
- determine if there is sufficient electrical capacity in all switchboards and wiring (in particular for level 3 DC charging), or if an upgrade to electrical supply is needed
- consider load control to manage electrical demand in peak periods
- decide whether you are offering a free service to customers and employees (to encourage charging and/or longer stays) or will there be pay-as-you-go billing for users.
EV charging operators usually install and maintain charging equipment, however, more electrical contractors are becoming familiar with the technology, so it is worth discussing with your electrical contractor.
Short stops have limited opportunity to deliver charge and so EV charging equipment power needs to be fairly high in order to deliver a useful service to drivers.
Class of buildings this is best suited for include 6 and 7: Shopping centres, restaurants and associated car parks.
There are two types of charging level options with the following considerations:
level 2: dedicated EV supply equipment (7 kW / 22 kW chargers)
- provides 25 km to 50 km range in 30 minutes (about a 10% top up)
level 3 – dedicated DC ‘fairly fast’ charging station (25 kW to 100 kW) – minimal time needed for customers to charge on site:
- provides 75 km to 300 km range in 30 minutes (about a 30-60% top-up)
For both options you will need to:
- consider user expectation of 24/7 availability, so load control may not be appropriate
- decide whether you are offering a free service to customers or will there be pay-as-you-go billing for users
- management of parking – including non-EV use, and dwell time as it may cause issues; parking signage may help.
- determine if there is sufficient electrical capacity in all switchboards and wiring (in particular for level 3 DC charging), or if an upgrade to electrical supply is needed.
EV charging operators usually install and maintain charging equipment, however, more electrical contractors are becoming familiar with the technology so it is worth discussing with your electrical contractor.
Step 4 Evaluating payment options
The main approach to payment or billing for EV charging in buildings is usage billing (kWh based) for electricity consumed.
Usage billing options
- No usage fee: There may not be the ability to measure usage and/or it is not worth the cost of administering billing. This could be suitable at sites with a small number of parking spots and limited expected EV uptake.
- Flat fee: Often the calculation of a usage charge is difficult and may not involve significant amounts of money, so a flat fee (for example $1 per day) may be enough.
- Use existing meter: Where the EV charging equipment is connected to the existing tenant meter for the floor space, any increased usage charges are automatically included into the existing billing.
- Outsourced or ‘turnkey’: Many EV operators provide a turnkey solution that includes aspects of billing and cost recovery, for an ongoing fee.
Owners may also decide they will not incur any cost and the tenant(s) pays for all costs to install the infrastructure.
Step 5 - Building the business case
Most commercial initiatives that require capital investment will need a business case. In some cases the focus is on employee retention or attracting customers, though most of the time it will be driven by balancing the potential financial and non-financial costs and benefits.
These business cases will cover areas such as:
- up-front costs including:
- EV charging equipment
- EV charging electrical infrastructure
- potential electrical supply upgrades.
- running costs including:
- EV charging management services, for example, monitoring and billing
- maintenance of equipment
- energy costs
- peak demand costs
- direct or indirect costs/revenue that can be derived from the provision of charging services
- indirect benefits such as uplift in property values, sustainability and PR branding benefits.
What are the main opportunities and benefits to installing EV charging?
- Uplift in dwell time and foot traffic in retail buildings: increases in foot traffic and dwell time can grow patronage and spend in retail buildings.
- Advertising revenue: some EV operators may make money through providing advertising on charging infrastructure. They may provide cheaper charging through this approach.
- Employee retention: providing EV chargers for employees that own or are contemplating buying an EV can boost employee retention.
- Attract EV driver customers: providing EV chargers for customers that own EVs may attract new (and potentially high-value) visitors to your building.
- Financial opportunities: other technologies such as V2G (vehicle-to-grid), storage and solar in some circumstances may contribute positively to the financial case, noting that V2G is in very early stage development.
- Potential cost savings: there is an opportunity to reduce the electricity bill of the building, and for tenants, by using load control, smart energy management to charge EVs, and make use of other technologies like V2G and solar.
- Improving the valuation of the building: upgrading electrical facilities, services and investing in modern equipment can increase a buildings valuation and attract tenants.
- Reputation: demonstrates commitment to sustainable practices, which may in turn attract those looking to spend with environmentally minded organisations.
Steps to building a business case
Step 1: Recognise the opportunities and risks
- identify the reasons to install charging infrastructure in the building
- identify and acknowledge any challenges and risks for installing, owning and operating EV charging infrastructure. Create a plan to mitigate these challenges, such as parking signs.
Step 2: Compile your fact-based evidence
- based on your survey and building EV assessment, put together your analysis that shows future EV demand and the electricity capacity of the building
- include in your business case all of the charging infrastructure costs related with charging infrastructure to present an accurate costing profile
- consider contracting out installation, operation and maintenance of infrastructure to an EV charging operator.
How to get charging infrastructure approved
Commercial buildings with a single asset owner have a simplified approval process to install charging stations as there are few stakeholders involved.
Commercial buildings that are mixed use and regulated by strata schemes will need to refer to the processes outlined in step 5.
The following costs are based on real-world EV supply equipment pricing and estimates of installation costs from case studies in consultation with the electrical contracting industry.
They exclude any electrical supply upgrade costs (if required). High-capacity electrical supply upgrades are complex and potentially expensive. Actual costs are best from your distributed network service provider.
Cost estimates are per installed EVSE. Installation costs vary significantly between buildings and can only be taken as a guide.
Hardware: 25kW DC charger and associated hardware, $18,000 to $20,000.
Hardware: 50kW DC charger and associated hardware, $40,000 to $45,000.
Understanding the stakeholders
- EV drivers/owners: tenants, employees, customer or other visitors to a commercial or mixed-use building.
- Tenants: occupiers of commercial buildings who want charging facilities installed in their buildings, either for their own use or for the use of visitors to their site in a commercial context.
- Owner: person or entity who owns a commercial building. Even though the decision-making is via a single entity, there is often a need to get the business case approved by their own stakeholders.
- Commercial single asset owner representative: a representative of commercial buildings who acts on behalf of the owner.
- Facility and property managers: responsible for the daily operations and maintenance of properties, including energy management works with tenants and owners to coordinate and manage upgrades (such as EV charging infrastructure), maintenance, housekeeping, and security activities, ensuring compliance with standards, laws and codes.
How to manage the installation of EV chargers
Stage 1: Finding the right EV supplier.
You should decide if you want to use an independent electrician or a specialist EV charging operator.
Then if you want to manage the installation internally or outsource the installation to a consultant or turnkey provider. Research a range of EV suppliers – a good place to start is the list of providers on Transport for NSW.
Stage 2: Getting preliminary advice.
Consider examples from other buildings that have installed chargers. If your upgrade is large or complicated, engage a specialist independent EV charging consultant.
Stage 3: Seeking requests for proposals.
The owner should contact selected suppliers to provide detailed quotes based on written specifications.
Stage 4: Installation of the EV charging infrastructure.
Once you have evaluated proposals, engage your selected supplier to carry out electrical works install your selected infrastructure; advise your facility manager about time frames to minimise any inconveniences for tenants; work closely with supplier to set up required software and billing systems.
Templates and useful links
- Quick reference guide (commercial)
- Template – Building Assessment for EV charging
- Template – EV charging request to owner
- Template – EV User Survey
- Charging an electric vehicle
While the information and documentation published on this page have been created with all due care, they are provided as general guidance only and does not constitute legal or professional advice and should not be relied upon as if it were. You should obtain independent expert advice before making any decision based on the published material.
To the extent permitted by law, the NSW Treasury provides no warranty and accepts no responsibility for the accuracy, currency or appropriateness of the guidance material. The department will not accept liability for any loss, damage, cost or expense that you may incur as a result of the use of or reliance on the guidance material in any way.
If you have any questions or concerns about the guidance material published here please contact [email protected].