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How a Smart EV Infrastructure Contributes to Workplace Sustainability

8 Dec 2020

Most economies still rely heavily on fossil fuels. Even with scientists’ supporting evidence of them being the primary contributor to CO2 emissions – and, therefore, having a tight connection to climate change. However, in the past few years, Governments’ investment in green and smart technologies aimed at reducing greenhouse emissions have brought to the fore numerous innovations, some of which are now starting to become accessible to the general public. Electric Vehicles (EVs), and the smart charging infrastructure needed to support them, are some of these and will take more and more space in the next few years changing not just cities, but office buildings, too. In this article, we look into how EVs and their chargepoints can be strong contributors in making workplaces sustainable when integrated into smart buildings.

From fossil fuels to green energy: the way to sustainability and better air quality in the city

 

Scientists have been warning for years about organic fuels
resources being finite and non-easily renewable.

With the current consumption, fossil oil should exhaust by 2052, with gas and carbon closely following. Therefore, the need to switch to alternative, cleaner energy, is a quite pressing matter even without taking into consideration the other critical issue which is greenhouse emissions.

As evidenced by the last few years rise in temperature, climate change is a critical topic. In 2019, the United Nations called on Countries to reduce emissions of 45% by 2030, and to net zero emissions by 2050.

To reach these goals, many Governments and localities have been working more and more on promoting sustainability practices in cities, homes and workplaces alike. Incentives to invest on renewable energies and innovate on green technologies have also fast-forwarded the implementation of more eco-friendly processes and products.

Companies, too, are now kept accountable for – and under public scrutiny on – their Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) as well as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) practices, which heavily focus on the impact businesses have on the environment and society at large.

Many green innovations have also become more and more accessible to the public.
From solar panels to eco-focused web browsers and the introduction of 20-mins-free electric bikes in cities as an alternative option to the commonly used – and more polluting – means of transport, people are participating and actively involved in making the change happen.

The sustainable car market: electric vehicles for better cities

It doesn’t come as a surprise, then, that the car industry is right in the middle of the shift.

Just in the third quarter of 2020, electric cars have seen an incredible surge in sales. The electrically-chargeable car market has more than tripled in the EU with 12% share taken by plug-in hybrids and 10% by battery-electric vehicles. Most astonishing is the sales increase in the first three quarters of the year: 122% in the EU and a 126.3% in the UK.

In 2018, a Road to Zero strategy asserted the intention of the UK Government to have new cars and vans be zero-emission by 2040. The Government amended this earlier this month, when it devised a two-phased approach that will see the end of sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030, bringing nearer – to 2035 – the date where only zero-emission vehicles will be sold to the public.

To bring this plan to fruition, the Government has devised several measures including a substantial investment towards buying zero or ultra-low emission vehicles as well as a £1.3 billions investment in the expansion of the current chargepoint infrastructure.

What is an Electric Vehicle exactly?

EV chargepoint smart workplace

An Electric Vehicle (EV), also called plug-in electric vehicle or electric car, is a new breed of car that runs on electricity or a mix of electricity and fuel. These types of vehicles don’t weight on the environment, as well as on people’s pockets, as much as a more common petrol or diesel cars do.
There are two main types of EVs:

  • All-electric vehicles (AEVs), which include Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) and Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs)
  • Plug-in hybrid (PHEVs)

AEVs run entirely on electricity and have a range of 80 to 300 miles, depending on the model. Average recharging time goes from 30 minutes with a fast chargepoint to 20 hours with a Level 1 charging.

PHEVs, instead, run on both electricity and a conventional or alternative engine. When the battery has run out (these cars have shorter ranges than the AEVs), the secondary source of energy takes its place to power the vehicle.

How EV chargepoints enter the workplace?

EVs can be charged at home or by using dedicated chargepoints in a network that is growing daily and comprises workplaces, public locations and service stations.

EV cars are more easily charged when in park, and as it may take from a minimum of half an hour to nearly a full day to fully charge, organising charging at a destination where the car will stop for an extended period of time is essential.

That is where workplaces come into play.

As adoption of EV cars increases – even more so when the ban will be in effect after 2030 – workplaces will become central locations for workers to charge their vehicles.

It is also imperative to remember that workplaces are the physical representation of a company.
The impact of buildings on the environment is becoming more apparent every day. Businesses will, therefore, direct their attention to office spaces that mirror the sustainability values that bets represent them, as well as those of their employees.

Introduction of green energy sources, smart technology to manage and monitor the building energy usage, as well as the installation of EVs’ charging points in the workplace, are all valuable solutions to boost the building ‘green credentials’ and reduce its carbon emissions.

Interested in knowing more about sustainability in the workplace and how to bring your building up to standard for the 2050 deadline? Check out the article: How IoT makes the workplace sustainable.

What are the benefits of electric vehicles and charging points, and how are they making workplaces sustainable?

EV chargepoints workplace sustainability

Aside from demonstrating a commitment to sustainability, there are many benefits to adopting EVs and charging stations in the workplace.

  • ESG benefits by demonstrating active involvement in improving the building ‘green credentials’ and help reduce the carbon footprint
  • Cost-benefits for both EV owners and property managers:
    – tariffs can be applied for the use of the charging stations
    – there are lower costs to fully charge an EV battery compared to the cost to fill a diesel or petrol car tank
    – offering tax advantages when there is a company fleet of cars
  • Provides competitive advantage, as can become a premium service offered to visitors and tenants alike
  • Offer tenants a differentiating tool for employees’ retention and attraction

How Smart Spaces helps manage your EV charging stations

The Smart Spaces platform can integrate with your chargepoints to provide property managers with real-time information, monitoring and management of the stations, as well as control and monitoring over the energy used and the tariffs applied to the single users.

Through the workplace-dedicated app, occupiers will be able to schedule their charging, as well as stop them at a moment notice and pay in-app. There is no risk of squatting, too, as users will have a dedicated screen to keep track of their charging as well as automatic notification when the battery is full.

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