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Can I install a charging unit at my offices?

Discussion in 'The UK and Ireland' started by roym, Nov 5, 2014.

  1. roym

    roym Member

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    Hi All

    I have only recently ordered a Tesla model S and contacted Chargemaster to install a charging unit at home but it would be useful to have one at our offices in Leeds too. We have our own electricians so wondered if it would be something they could install? Is there a trade supplier in the UK for these units? Are they pretty standard boxes or makes/types that anyone could recommend?

    Any pointers appreciated

    Regards

    Roy
     
  2. arg

    arg Member

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    They are fairly standard devices, available from a number of suppliers. Strictly speaking, your electricians would want to be familiar with the "IET Code of Practice for Electric Vehicle Charging Equipment Installation", though in fact that's mostly explanatory material so they know what they are installing, and some extra guidance on how to apply the ordinary regulations: the only thing that's not necessarily obvious is earthing for units installed outdoors.

    One question is whether you are installing single-phase or 3-phase charging. Most of us have no option but go for single phase at home - so 7kW maximum, 20 miles of charge per hour, overnight to achieve a full charge. At your offices, you quite likely have a 3-phase supply already in the building and may well have enough spare capacity to support a 32A 3-phase charge point (22kW), which can charge three times as fast. If you already have the power available, then it's not much more expensive to install the higher capacity EVSE and probably worth doing.


    These people have a good selection of EVSE at reasonable prices: http://nuworldenergy.co.uk/shop/ev-charging-stations

    or if you want to save more money and are only going for single phase, they will also sell you the critical bits that you can then combine with stuff from your usual electrical wholesalers to make up the complete unit with tethered cable - for an indoor installation I recently bought the whole lot (their kit, the other bits to make up the EVSE, and cable back to the consumer unit etc.) for a grand total of £375.16 (inc VAT).
     
  3. roym

    roym Member

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    Thanks for the quick reply Arg, thats exactly what I was looking for!

    Roy
     
  4. roym

    roym Member

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    I've now had my Rolec 32A point installed at home and looking at something similar for our offices. It looks as though I can get the same Rolec 32A single phase point like this or a Rolec 32A 3 phase point like this.

    Is there any reason NOT to go for the 3 phase version (as we have this available) and can you confirm if it is best to go with a type2 SOCKET for extra flexibility rather than the tethered lead I have at home?? (just in case visitors want to charge their car)

    Thanks

    Roy
     
  5. smac

    smac Active Member

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    Roy a few questions..

    Who do you intend to use it ?

    How fast do you need it to be, and did you pay for dual chargers ?

    How often will you use it ?

    Are you using it as a "statement" to show visitors how green you are?


    One definite option to consider is to get your own electrician to install a simple "Commando socket", and get the Tesla UMC with whichever adapter you need. I won't leave home without my portable EVSE, and if I had the option to have bought one with the car (they weren't available at the time), I'd have the Tesla one because you can buy cheap (relatively) adapters to suit pretty much any eventuality.

    Getting the UMC out the boot, is not really any different to getting the cable out, so if you go for an untethered socket it makes no odds.

    The only reason I had a proper EVSE installed is I managed to get a local council grant (or as I prefer to look at it rebate from our "Workplace Parking Levy" bill!!), otherwise I'd have definitely just had a Commando installed!


    HTH Simon
     
  6. roym

    roym Member

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    Hi Simon

    i don't really *need* a charger at work as I suspect 90% of my charging will be done at home but I thought we might as well install one for emergencies and thought 3 phase would be better for the minimal price difference. I do have dual chargers but speed is not really an issue - I just think faster is always better!

    I thought it would be useful for any customers too but more to be "nice" than promote the green bit. I had assumed a Type 2 would be more flexible (for visiting customers in the future) than Commando but as I haven't actually recieved my car yet I'm still trying to get my head around it all!

    I had also assumed my charging would be at a) home, b) a supercharger or c) a Best Western hotel so I wouldn't need a UMC or is that incorrect???

    Thanks

    Roy
     
  7. arg

    arg Member

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    #7 arg, Jan 7, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2015
    I'm going to disagree with smac here. Already, a significant proportion of EV drivers don't carry portable EVSE (I think I'm right in saying that none of the manufacturers bundle one with cars sold in the UK), and even among those that do, they don't all carry the full set of adapters. And it's going to get rarer in the future, as commando sockets are definitely not the way of the future:

    1) A proper EVSE is safer than commando sockets. Now, you could argue that Commando sockets are 'safe enough' when handled carefully, but if EVs take off then we have to expect that people with no technical skill and little interest are going to be handling this stuff.
    2) Long term, we are going to need multiple outlets particularly at places like offices, so that people can just drive up and plug in rather than faffing around with queues/reserving chargers/popping out during the day to shuffle cars around in the carpark. There won't be enough power to fit high-power commando sockets at every parking slot, you are going to need something smarter to share power between the cars depending on demand. Expecting people to spend money on portable EVSEs is going in the wrong direction; installing a dumb EVSE steers people in the right direction and can be a part of the solution for a long time, even if it eventually will become obsolete.


    So, my feeling if you are going to do something at your office, it should be a proper EVSE. If you aren't going to be using it yourself every day, then it should be socketed rather than tethered - to give the flexibility for visitors who might need type1 rather than type2, and so that the tethered cable doesn't get damaged lying around on the floor in the carpark. And if you've 3-phase easily available, then no disadvantage in wiring it up and you will probably be grateful for it once in a while.

    It's certainly feasible to live with no portable EVSE. Personally, I think a 13A-plug EVSE is too valuable to live without at the current state of public charging - for the ability to get a (slow) top up when visiting friends/family rather than hotels, and the flexibility to dig yourself out of a hole having screwed up your planning rather than having to get towed. But I don't see many occasions where I would be able to use a commando socket (except perhaps the 16A variety - which the UMC doesn't directly support). I do visit industrial locations where such sockets might feasibly exist, but the prospect of getting the car inside the factory or whatever to access the sockets isn't attractive, and business trips aren't the ones where I find public infrastructure lacking anyhow. People with friends who live on farms etc. may feel differently.

    If you are going to get a 13A-plug capable EVSE, you then have to choose between a dedicated 13A unit which can have the safety benefit of temperature monitoring in the plug, or the UMC which isn't so ideal for 13A plug use and is more expensive but does have the adapters for other plug types. (The Juice Booster is even further in the direction of more cost/more flexibilty).
     
  8. smac

    smac Active Member

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    I'll agree (and disagree) with Arg :D

    1) It's safer than a non-interlocked Commando, not that they are generally consider dangerous, even in environments like marinas. However depending on the failure more of an EVSE (welded shut Contactor ) there is very little benefit over a mechanical interlock commando which doesn't suffer this problem.

    2) For sure. I'm 110% on side with this. There is still a long way to go though IMHO. I've struggled getting numerous Type-2's to work with a Tesla, they all seem to have been tested with Leafs/Zoes. The main Rolec/PodPoint/Polr ones are fine, but it's still far from perfect. I've had failed sessions now on public ones, portable ones, and even my v. expensive Etrel one which I'm still helping them with compatibility issues on :( (Besides my gut feel is we are going to see lots of lobbying for even more Rapids first as the low range BEVs from VW/BMW/Audi push for their provision. Proper power managed EVSE sites are probably a few years off, and more tied in to us long range guys staying at hotels and airports for long dwell times, though that's a whole other debate :D )

    I too have found a 10A 3pin EVSE and it saved me. I didn't so much mis-plan, rather get home and the snow prevented me getting up my drive to my charger! I went to a neighbour's house (with a flat driveway) that had an EVSE installed under the grant before the rules changed, and guess what: it didn't work! (At least the cowboys who installed it got their OLEV money :cursing: ) In the end I used a humble 13A outdoor socket to keep the car from being sat for days on a low charge.

    One thing that is also worth bearing in mind is Best Westerns are generally Zero Carbon World sites, and they started off rolling out 32A commandos, they are nowhere near complete rolling out Type-2s.

    I ended up leaving my Tesla at home once when flying out of Stansted because I didn't have a commando adapter (there is a ZCW commando at the Raddison, but no Type-2s), there's no Supercharging anywhere near en route, and at 150 miles from home I really couldn't face sat hanging around at a Ecotricity point after being cooped up on a plane.... I took the petrol car.

    So the portable units definitely give you flexibility. There is absolutely nothing stopping you installing a commando, using the UMC to start with, then connecting a "fixed to the wall" type-2 EVSE with a commando plug if you find you are using it a lot.

    It might cost you £100 more, but for me the benefits are well worth it.

    The final thing that's sold this approach to me is it's definitely worth looking at how Tesla are running their own Service Centres... (Clue there are lot's of commando sockets on the walls, with UMCs plugged in ;) )

    - - - Updated - - -

    P.S. Roy one thing about charging at work is it's not a BIK if available for all staff with an EV :) (Even if that's just you, so better off your P+L and VAT bill than out of after tax earnings ;) )
     
  9. roym

    roym Member

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    Wow, thanks for the detailed updates guys. I'm not sure that I've found the solution but that's certainly given me lots to look into - thank you.

    just out of interest what miles/hour can I expect from a stand 13a plug - 8/9 miles per hour?
     
  10. smac

    smac Active Member

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    No problems, and I hope I'm not painting a black picture of the Tesla btw... it's a fantastic car, and 99.9% of the time you don't have to worry! Ecotricity points have all been fine, as have the Chargemaster points at car parks. Just good to go into things with your eyes wide open, and whilst Arg and I have slightly different views about how to go about things, I hope it gives you enough to make an informed decision!

    There are some non Tesla forums you might find useful, especially for finding out about the state of public charging networks, and some of the broader challenges in the EV world you will probably find useful/interesting. Not sure the rules on linking to them here, but if you Google "UK EV Forums" you'll find some useful stuff I'm sure.

    In answer to your 13A plug question... in reality you only get 10A, so about 5-6 miles per hour. 60 miles overnight at a relatives house might make the difference between needing to stop on the way home for a charge or not, but TBH I see it as the electric car equivalent of a petrol can :D
     
  11. arg

    arg Member

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    The other case I find useful is when you are going to visit someone for a weekend/couple of days. Most out-and-back trips can be managed easily enough - range charge from home, supercharger or ecotricity stop for lunch on the way etc., but you then lack the charge for local running around while you are there. While the 13A is slow, it provides plenty for local driving however long you stay.

    And yes, the petrol can analogy is very apt. When I used to drive a 1970 Mini, I certainly carried a spare tin of petrol and it gave me the same feeling of confidence that my 13A EVSE gives me now.
     
  12. Puslinch

    Puslinch Member

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    I went for a RED 16A 3 phase (also have BLUE 32A 1 phase available) connector at the office and purchased a UMC. Less cost in the end and I have a UMC to use anywhere in the boot of the car,
     
  13. mgboyes

    mgboyes Member

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    My 2p FWIW (which is probably only about 2p):

    1. If there's any chance that other employees, or guests, might ever drive an EV to your workplace then get a Type 2 point. They will love you for it and the goodwill you get will far outweigh the cost of the electricity.
    2. If the price difference is small then of course you should go for a 3 phase unit
    3. Independently you might want to invest in a portable EVSE (either one specifically for 3pin charging at 10A or a more flexible one like the Tesla UMC or Juice Booster) but if you don't foresee a need for one don't worry about it. I have one and have used it just once in 6 months / 10k miles. If you're running an S60 without supercharger access then opportunistic charging is likely to be much more important for you than if you have an 85kWh battery and access to rapid chargers.
     
  14. roym

    roym Member

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    Thanks to all and the great summary from mgboyes. I think I'll do exactly what you've suggested above!!!
     
  15. jeff_adams

    jeff_adams Member

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    This guy put in a very professional looking charging station at his workplace in Montetey California.

    uploadfromtaptalk1420759890763.jpg
     
  16. mgboyes

    mgboyes Member

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    Are those for public access? I know TM have started giving away HPWCs to businesses that are prepared to make them available to visitors (and presumably to cover the cost of the power). Sadly there's no such thing as a HPWC in the UK so we have to make do with less futuristic looking charge points...
     

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