Plug n’ play could also be suited best to music, but for electric vehicle charging, the other applies.
Determining, planning, and installing an EV charging depot involves three primary aspects: Time, patience, and many specific information. The more precise the goals and plans, the more success a fleet operation gains with connecting fleet vehicles, duty cycles, and efficient charging times.
For an outline of the steps in concept design and EV power planning, Charged Fleet recently spoke with an authority on this area. Jessica Cain is an expert civil and environmental engineer for Kimley-Horn, one among the nation’s leading engineering, planning, and design consulting firms headquartered in Raleigh, N.C. Cain has greater than 20 years of experience in the electrical vehicle industry, renewable energy, and telecommunications. She has worked in a wide selection of efforts that include the event of NEVI (national electric vehicle infrastructure) plans, the design and arrange of public and fleet EV charging stations, and ground based and rooftop solar projects.
[The transcribed conversation below has been edited for length and clarity].
Big Charging Projects Overview
Q: Give us a transient overview of the 2 charging infrastructure projects that you’ve gotten worked on for fleets.
A: I worked on two very different versions of fleet charging programs. One was for a utility client. They knew right from the beginning that they were excited by adding solar to supply an onsite source of electricity and leverage battery storage. This helps energy consumption from the grid at peak demand, and so they wanted to make use of as much renewable energy as possible to power their electric vehicles.
Jessica Cain, an expert civil and environmental engineer for Kimley-Horn, has worked in a wide selection of efforts that include the event of NEVI (national electric vehicle infrastructure) plans, the design and arrange of public and fleet EV charging stations, and ground based and rooftop solar projects.
The project included an in depth solar cover and battery storage microgrid controller for over 40 charging stations. The chargers were a mixture of level 2 and DC fast chargers for his or her fleet vehicles that typically drive 50-60 miles per day. The second fleet program that I have been leading for a national logistics company is a series of websites.
The goal is to make use of only the prevailing electrical capability. We focused on level 2 charging stations for vehicles with routes that were typically 80-100 miles a day. That involved quite a little bit of planning to make sure the suitable routes were paired with EVs.
Key Steps for Designs and Plans
Q: What are a number of the key design and planning steps for an EV charging depot even before construction starts?
A: There was lots of upfront planning for each projects, and so they differ in approaches, timelines, and budgets. Step one is to grasp the goals of the clients. What budget do they wish to work inside and what does success appear like for them?
We start by discussing the use case. Is it for personal charging? Is it publicly accessible but geared toward fleet vehicles? A mix? Have they got performance agreements and uptime guarantees that they’ve signed with private fleets that can use that site? And after that, two steps that go together are a site survey and evaluation after which early coordination with the utility company.
I am unable to stress enough that early on, it’s critical for the utility company to grasp project timelines. We evaluate the electrical configuration of a specific site, work with a utility company to find out the present electrical capability available for that depot site, and supply the extra load we’re requesting by way of chargers.
Then we work with the utility company to find out the associated fee and timeline the utility company might want to serve that request. As well as, we evaluate the entry and exit routes, the traffic patterns of the sites, the water patterns, and what subsurface features we would need to think about, especially where we’re boring underground or adding large piers to support solar canopies.
Plus, we’ll review the environmental permitting requirements, jurisdictional code, and design requirements. There’s lots that goes into it.
Benefits of a Sustainable Microgrid
Q: How do the facility grid, battery storage, solar sources all work together to create a reliable charging depot?
A: A microgrid generates electricity onsite, which is usually done with renewables reminiscent of solar panels and sometimes also backup generators. Those generators might use a renewable source of fuel reminiscent of renewable kinds of propane, natural gas, or renewable diesel. You would possibly see wind and infrequently a mixture of those generation sources. The battery energy storage system, which you will also hear of called BESS (battery energy storage system), can store the energy generated and deploy it during outages or during peak demand.
You may have a resilient site backup within the event of an outage, making a reliable charging depot. It is the insurance policy that fleet managers are in search of.
Microgrid Versus Direct Power Grid Options
Q: For those fleet operations that only wish to be connected to the facility grid, what equipment and resources should be in place for that?
A: In the event that they only wish to be connected to the facility grid, you possibly can still have those resources. You possibly can still have solar and battery storage and be connected to the facility grid. If you happen to are taking a look at only the facility grid without a few of those onsite generation resources, you usually see large transformers and huge switchgear supporting those facilities.
Q: Regarding the equipment and resources for a microgrid is there anything that must fit into that equation?
A: The systems would have a microgrid controller, which monitors the status of the onsite generation, the facility grid, the battery storage, and the masses. The masses are in the shape of charging stations or other demands on the system. The controller can switch between the facility sources. We work with clients to set objectives and priorities through the planning process.
It’s critical to find out what portion of the expected each day electricity consumption will come from onsite generation. Other keys for site operations are space and budgetary constraints, the needs and state of the vehicles, and their routes.
Without onsite generation, fleet managers must rely only on the facility grid. We work to make electrification as straightforward as possible and enable fleet managers to leverage our insights from our previous experiences.
Lessons Learned from Installing EV Chargers
Q: What would you say are a number of the primary lessons that fleet managers can learn from the experience of planning and installing EV chargers based in your observations?
You’re best-off working with a team to create a plan. Clearly outline the objectives and realize that you simply haven’t got to be at 100% electrification. If that is your eventual goal, then pick the deadline to realize it. It will take a while, and work toward the milestones to get you there.
Also, what do you would like your charging equipment and software platform to supply? What kinds of ESG or sustainability reports are you in search of? I’ll say it originates with the utility company, and work that early into your plan and understand what the associated fee of upgrades could be and don’t be afraid to refer to others doing the identical thing. Ask them also to share their lessons learned.
There are such a lot of fleet managers going through this right away and there are some very real supply chain constraints now. Understand the equipment lead times of the charging equipment, the transformers, and the switchgear. It’s necessary initially of a project and it varies depending on the world of the country you are in. Besides the equipment, your fleet project might take a yr, 18 months, and in some cases over two years. In order that takes design and installation partners to develop a plan, including a plan for operations and maintenance.
This Article First Appeared At www.automotive-fleet.com