What to consider when procuring EV charging Infrastructure
Rachel Selwyn-Smith shares practical advice about what to consider before procuring charging infrastructure and how ESPO’s Vehicle Charging Infrastructure 2 framework can help
There has been a steady increase in the number of electric fleets over the past decade and it’s easy to see why. They are cost effective and are backed by the possibility of government grants, tax breaks and other incentives. If you are looking to create a cleaner and more sustainable organisation through electric vehicles, you will find practical advice about what to consider before procuring your infrastructure and how ESPO’s Vehicle Charging Infrastructure 2 framework (VCI2) can help, in this article.
Purchase or lease?
Firstly, ask yourself if it is going to be more effective to purchase or lease charging points? Try and think long term as there are pros to both options; leasing might be your best option if you are looking for flexibility and would prefer to spread the cost over a period of time, whereas eligible customers who have grant funding available to purchase charging points outright do not need to consider long term spending solutions.
ESPO Framework VCI2 can make both options quick and easy for you by providing access to market leading suppliers and the latest products and services. Lot 1 covers the outright purchase whereas Lot 2 offers the option for you to pay a monthly fee to lease a charging point(s). Both Lots cover supply, delivery, installation (including site survey), commissioning, warranty and maintenance.
Location and quantity
When considering quantity of charging points, ideally you should have enough chargers for your fleet. You could alternate but having a charger per vehicle will limit potential problems such as waiting times, scheduling conflicts and compatibility issues.
Location is important too and can make a significant difference when it comes to budgeting. You can try to minimise building works, disruption and cost by placing your chargers as close to your power supply as possible.
Using Lots 1, 2 and 5 (Consultancy Services) of ESPO Framework VCI2, you can gain access to a site survey. This includes a detailed quote for all works that are required including groundwork and electrical. If there is a need for a distribution network operator to upgrade the electricity supply this can be arranged by the supplier and included in the quote.
Once your site survey has been completed and you have a better idea of what your final structure will look like, you need to consider the type of charging point. There are a variety of options including AC, DC, fast, rapid and ultra-rapid. Before deciding, it is important to check your current or intended vehicle criteria to ensure compatibility.
It is beneficial to have your charging points connected to a back-office system or charge point management system, namely the software and services provided by charge point network operators. Many systems allow you to view and analyse charging sessions, energy usage, transactions and faults as well as allowing access to regular payment information. Some also provide more advanced features such as managing charging sessions remotely.
ESPO Framework VCI2 can help you with this, no matter what stage of the procurement process you are at. Lots 1 and 2 offer charging equipment with a back office included, however if your charging points are already in place but you are looking for a new supplier, for example if your charge point management system arrangement has expired, then Lot 3 (Back Office Solutions) is ideal for you.
Think about the profile of your vehicle drivers. How often will the vehicles be used? How often will they be parked at your depot? How long will they need to be charged for? What time of day or night will they need to be charged?
You must ensure that your planning and logistics are sound in order to optimise your staff, driving and charging time as well as your budget. Electric fleets are a relatively new way of working and naturally this might leave you feeling overwhelmed. Lot 5 of ESPO Framework VCI2 can support customers with no pre-existing specification for electric vehicle chargers meaning that you can gain access to expert advice before you make any commitments.
Next, clarify who will have access outside of your drivers. Does your organisation offer charging points as a staff benefit or will visitors have access should they need to? If this is the case, then Lot 5 could be beneficial to you as the consultancy services can include energy capacity assessment, usage evaluation, scenario guidance and grant application assistance.
There are different options available to provide access such as Radio Frequency Identity Cards (RFID), smartphone apps, mobile, website or contactless payment. Users can be charged a pence per kilowatt hour rate, flat fee or per minute rate and your back-office system will have the flexibility to set pricing by different parameters such as length of charging, type of user or time of day. You might also consider charging different tariffs to different user groups.
As if planning, implementing and budgeting for charging points isn’t enough to contend with, you will need to maintain them too. Lot 4 (Service and Maintenance) of ESPO Framework VCI2, allows you to appoint a supplier for existing charge points that are either out of warranty and/or maintenance cover. The good news is that most suppliers work in a way that you will be familiar with and should you experience any issues then it is likely that an engineer will be sent out to investigate further, replace parts or complete repairs.
Vehicle Charging Infrastructure
ESPO Framework VCI2 provides access to a vast range of vehicle charging infrastructure solutions from market leading suppliers and is enabled to allow for direct award. For customers who have already conducted a ‘desktop evaluation’, a direct award can simplify the process, reducing time and cost in comparison to further competition. For customers with more complex requirements, further competition is also offered.
The framework has been split into the following Lots/Sub Lots:
Lot 1 - Purchase of EV Charge Points;
Lot 2 - Lease of Electric Vehicle Charge Points;
Lot 3 - Back Office Solutions;
Lot 4 - Service and Maintenance;
Lot 5 - Consultancy Services (including site survey and feasibility studies);
Lot 6 - Emerging Technologies, including Sub Lots: 6.1 Battery energy storage, 6.2 Vehicle to grid, 6.3 Car port charging (including solar), 6.4 Wireless charging, 6.5 Bi-directional chargers, 6.6 Integrated sockets, 6.7 Mobile chargers, 6.8 Bus Chargers and 6.9 Opportunity Chargers.
For extra peace of mind, suppliers listed on the framework were assessed during the procurement process for their financial stability, track record, experience, technical and professional ability and the ability to provide social value to customers in line with the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012. All terms and conditions have been pre-agreed and underpin all orders. In terms of pricing in respect of direct award call-offs, what you see is what you pay – there are no additional charges.