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EV Charging Knowledge Bank

Which EV Chargepoint - Commercial

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Introduction

Whether you are installing a single commercial chargepoint, or a multi-site network, there are a few things you need to take into account when choosing a charger brand and model.

First of all you need to work out which charger type(s) you need.  We have written a page all about chargepoint types here. In general if you are providing workplace charging, you are best looking at a 3 phase 16A or 32A universal Type 2 socket, giving power of 11kW or 22kW. If you only have a single phase connection at the charging site, you'll be restricted to providing power of 3.6kW or 7.2kW.

Then you need to work out what functionality you need:

  • is a 'dumb' chargepoint suitable? [A 'dumb' chargepoint is essentially a dedicated car charging socket, without monitoring of kWh supplied, remote stop-start etc. If you go down this route, we recommend you choose an EO Genius charger where intelligence can easily be added at a later date, or an EVBox charger - EVBox currently offers the option to take an intelligent charger, with initial zero subscription and then revert the device to an autostart unit if intelligence is not required. Note that you may be prepared to supply electricity for free now, but as the number of electric cars on the roads increases, this is going to become expensive, plus it's only a matter of time before EV charging becomes a taxable benefit and monitoring of the electricity supplied is going to be essential - you don't want to have to rip your chargers out and start again, as we have already seen happening.]
  • what do you need to monitor - 'charger time' or kWh consumption, and, if kWh, does your charging infrastructure include MID approved kWh meters which you can use as a basis for billing?
  • what is the upfront cost of installation, not only of the chargepoint, but also any civil works (foundations, cabling etc)?
  • what subscription fees are there for monitoring, reporting, charger management? does the payment gateway take a % of the revenues your charger earns?
  • how does invoicing and payment settlement work? [Ideally it should all be automated; as the number of users increases, you don't want to be creating a mountain of manual billing, not to mention double entry bookkeeping.]
  • how are the chargepoints accessed - key, fob, RFID card, online account? [Some sort of access restriction is important - you certainly don't want to find yourself powering the local EV community without some restriction on access.]
  • if your business provides vehicles which employees take home at night, you may need to provide home charging infrastructure and it's important to understand how charger monitoring, access and reimbursement will work, especially if the same charger is going to be powering other family cars alongside your company car;
  • is EV charging likely to put a strain on your grid connection? [You don't want to find the lights flickering and the computers going down as the cars guzzle your capacity or push you over your max import limit, with all the associated penalties entailed - if this is likely to happen you should look at suppliers such as EO or EVBox who offer active load management, or you should install a battery and / or apply for a grid upgrade before everyone in your neighbourhood grabs whatever spare grid capacity there may be.]
  • do the chargepoints conform to the OCPP (voluntary open charging protocol), allowing drivers to have a single RFID to access all OCPP chargepoints, thus making it easy for drivers using the chargers?
  • do aesthetics matter, do you need dual chargers mounted on a single pole, and can you brand the chargers with your company logo?
  • how scalable is the solution and at what cost - whilst most businesses will want to start small with one or two chargepoints, and see what gives, the one thing we can be fairly certain of is that electric vehicle take up is growing exponentially, albeit from a low base, and so whatever capacity you install now will probably have to increase tenfold or more over the next few years;
  • is the charger approved for the Workplace grant and what's its warranty (OLEV grants require 3 years)?

Which charging solution?

The most popular brands that we install at the commercial level are EO, EVBox and Rolec.

Our favourite commercial brand is EVBox. EVBox is one of the larger suppliers, with a strong track-record and 50,000 chargers installed across 1,000 cities.

EVBox chargers offer comprehensive functionality. The company is well ahead of their rivals in their understanding of the practicalities of EV fleet management, leased cars and public charging requirements, and the functionality required to manage a fleet of EV chargers and electric vehicles. EVBox's software can manage other manufacturer 'smart-chargers'. And the company has fixed back-office subscription fees per charger, which don't take a % of the user's payment revenue. What's more, EVBox offers the best warranty on the market as far as we are aware.

EO is slightly behind in the development of commercial functionality, but it does have very simple, modular and scalable system with a low entry cost (a 'dumb' charger that is easily upgraded to become 'smart'). 

Both EO and EVBox have solutions suitable for domestic use, private commercial use and public networks. What's more their solutions are streamlined, coupling a small number of charger models with 'tiered' intelligence, allowing users to access increasingly sophisticated levels of functionality as required. Further, they are easy to work with, which is an essential when investing in a fast-evolving sector where the need to build a long-term relationship with the charger supplier is paramount.

To enable you to make an informed decision as to which charger is right for your business or network, we have dedicated a page to each of these charger manufacturers (click on links by charger name above, or in the header row of table below), and we have also prepared the following "Commercial charger Comparison Table." to compare them.

Whilst this table doesn't give a comprehensive list of every charger available, it does highlight functionality to be aware of, and the different approaches being taken in the market. You may also be interested in our equivalent "Home charger Comparison Table".

Commercial Charger Comparison Table

 

  EO EVBox Rolec
Overview

EO's philisophy has been to create a simple, modular and scalable system. The eoGenius is a 'dumb but smart-ready' charger to which intelligence (monitoring etc) can be added as required via eoHUB, eoAPP and eoCloud. 

Up to 30 chargers can be added per eoHUB. An unlimited number of eoHUBs can be managed through a single eoCloud account. 

The fact that the intelligence sits outside the charger is one of the key differences between EO and competitor chargers. EO is also a market leader in active load management, using CT clamping so that load management is not reliant on an internet connection.

Further, EO is working on vehicle-to-grid charging and on their vision to provide an integrated system combining EV charging with solar, battery storage and other smart devices with the 'smart-grid', enabling users to optimise use of solar PV, and keep grid import costs to a minimum.  

EVBox was founded in the Netherlands, which is a few years ahead of the UK in adoption of electric vehicles. The company has become the sole public supplier of public charging infrastructure in cities such as Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Monaco. EVBox has an installed base of over 50,000 chargers across nearly 1000 cities. The company has recently been bought by energy giant Engie and it is generally regarded as a supplier of high quality products with strong financial backing.

Overall, EVBox has developed superior aesthetics, solutions for leased / business cars (cost reimbursement) as well as 'shared charging' at home where more than one owner is using a single charger. EVBox charger management systems allow the owner to do everything that a charger operator would ordinarily want to do - including monitoring, metering, billing and settlement, setting tariff periods, and load management (where the grid connection is a constraint) and smart charging.

EVBox offers two charger management systems, one being the Hey EVBox app, suitable for managing EVBox chargers, and the other being BackOffice. BackOffice is gradually being replaced by their new system Everon which has the ability to manage EVBox chargers and other manufacturer smart-chargers within a single platform. Both BackOffice and Everon allow full scalability (unlimited users and charging stations), automated tracking, invoicing and settlement of charging fees, configurable rates and charging times, control over peak usage and access to smart charging functionality. 

The main model for the homeowner is Elvi, which utilises the free Hey app for monitoring. There is also HomeLine, aimed at businesses installing chargers in domestic properties as part of a leased car scheme. BusinessLine is the company's model for the workplace; PublicLine is aimed at public charger networks. DC is EVBox's 50kW dc fast charger.

In contrast to the more streamlined approach adopted by EO and EVBox,  Rolec has developed several different chargepoint models, with different offerings aimed at domestic charging, commercial charging, off-street parking and on-street parking. The company offers various payment and management options, from 'street parking' coin / token payment to remote payment and settlement via their app. 

Whilst there are some innovative designs and some good functionality available, it's more difficult to get to grips with the range, requiring something of a 'pick and mix' approach to find the right solution, and to protect against redundancy. Not only are there different models, there are also different payment and chargepoint management solutions, some of the main ones being EV ControlCentre (for a local network of chargers, operating like a parking machine), GroupManager (for a 'fob' operated private network of chargers) and EV ChargeOnline (charger becomes part of Rolec's public network with management outsourced to Rolec). More recently, the company has launched UltraCharge. Rolec chargepoints are popular though, so definitely worth considering when deciding which charger is best for you or your organisation.

The Commercial WallPod charger and BasicCharge are Rolec's starter models, moving up to the AutoCharge pedestal, SecuriCharge, StreetServ and other new models such as Quantum and StreetCharge.   

 

 

Commercial charger models 

eoGenius: available in single phase (16A / 3.6kW or 32A / 7.2kW) and three phase (16A / 11kW or 32A / 22KW). Available as a Type 1 or Type 2 tethered charger (single phase), or as a Type 2 universal socket (single phase / 3 phase).

When combined with eoHUB, eoGenius becomes an intelligent charger. Management requires a subscription to eoCloud.

 

BusinessLine is EVBox's commercial charger, aimed at corporates, SMEs, retail and leisure (hotels etc), fleet managers and business parks. Single and double socket options, single phase (16A 3.6kW / 32A 7.2kW) and 3 phase (11kW / 22kW). Versions available with universal Type 2 socket or Type 1 / Type 2 tethered. Managed via BackOffice (successor: Everon).  BusinessLine could be installed as a dumb AutoStart charger; however upgrading would require an engineer's visit for the installation of comms software.

HomeLine: EVBox's solution for leased cars, available in single phase (3.6kW / 7.2kW) or 3 phase (11kW / 22kW), with a fixed Type 1 or Type 2 charging cable or universal Type 2 socket. Unless installed as a 'dumb' AutoStart version, HomeLine includes a kWh meter and is accessible via BackOffice to automate the tracking, invoicing and settlement of power consumed with the employer (BackOffice available via paid subscription).  

The chargepoint can also offer load management within the property if there is a possibility of a grid constraint.

PublicLine: 3 phase (11kW / 22kW) robust chargepoint designed for public networks. Access is via RFID card. Double socket, Mode 3 Type 2 universal connector.

DC is EVBox's 50kW DC fast charger.

Commercial WallPod: 3 phase version of the single phase wall-mounted domestic WallPod. Low cost 11kW / 22kW 'dumb' charger with electrical keyswitch control but no other functionality beyond basic charging. Can be installed as part of a local EV ControlCentre system.

The BasicCharge EV Pedestal is Rolec's entry level EV charging 'pedestal'. As well as a 'dumb' charger, there is a SmartCharge version which enables remote monitoring of charging and consumption, and, optionally, remote 'on-off' via a smartphone, using EV ChargeOnline.  The dumb chargepoint can be installed as part of a localised EV ControlCentre system, which then allows coin or token payment. BasicCharge does not work as part of a GroupManager system.

AutoCharge is Rolec's next level up EV Pedestal. It can be installed on a 'free-to-use' basis, or to be used with coins / tokens. Alternatively it can be installed as part of a network of chargers managed by one of Rolec's three charger management systems (EV ControlCentre, EV GroupManager, EV ChargeOnline).

SecuriCharge is a wall-mounted chargepoint with magnetic locking, designed to be installed in exposed locations. Free-to-use and pay-as-you-go (coin / token) versions are available).

The StreetServ EV Charging Post is designed to provide EV drivers with no access to off-street parking with their own private on-street EV charging point complete with personalised security access. Note that permission would be required from the local council to install this.

Multiple charger management

Multiple chargers are easily managed, with unlimited scalability. One eoHUB, which sits outside the chargers, can control up to 32 chargepoints. Several eoHUBs can be mapped to a single eoCloud user account.

Chargepoint management is via the Hey App (EVBox chargers only) or via Backoffice / Everon (Backoffice successor).  Both will allow an unlimited number of chargers to be added. Everon will allow monitoring of other manufacturer smart-chargers, under a single platform. Multiple charge points can be managed via EV ControlCentre, which can control 6,12 or 18 units and is designed to operate like a car park ticket machine. Alternatively, multiple points can be managed as part of a private network using GroupManager (requiring key /fob access), or as part of Rolec's public network via EV ChargeOnline.
Mounting 

Wall-mounted or pole- mounted, with one or two chargers per pole.

HomeLine and BusinessLine can be wall-mounted or pole-mounted, with one or two chargers per pole. PublicLine is a pedestal charger.

Depends on model - some are wall-mounted, others are pedestals, others are like street bollards or street lamps.
Private (company) charger network access and payment collection The charger owner can make the chargepoint available to a restricted group of users via the eoApp. Billing by time-of-use is possible; in Q2 2018, kWh billing will be available via MID approved kWh metering.  Invoicing and settlement is automatic via the payment gateway Stripe. BusinessLine access is via AutoStart, key fob or RFID card scan. Payment (invoicing and settlement) is automatic through Backoffice (and its successor, Everon). Coin or token payment is available with AutoCharge and SecuriCharge, or with any charger installed as part of an EV ControlCentre system. Payment for use of chargers installed as part of a GroupManager network is via automated banking.
Public charger network access and payment collection The eoAPP can be downloaded by anyone and used to access public EO chargers. Access is managed by simply scanning the QR code on the side of the EO charger to authenticate charging, or by entering the location of the charger. Billing and settlement is managed via the charger owner's account in eoCloud, using the payment gateway Stripe. Until Q2 2018, when MID approved metering will be available, billing is by time-of-use, not by kWh. Access to the system is via key fob or charge card, obtainable free from EVBox's website. There is a monthly subscription payable by the user for access to the public network (but not to a corporate's own private network). The public network is paid for by smart phone, with settlement into the host's account, using EV ChargeOnline.  This allows time of use tariffs to be set.
Load management and smart charging Active load management is achievable where grid constraints exist. Note that load management is done using hardware (CT clamps) and is therefore not dependant on the internet - there is no danger of breaching the supply maximum if the internet goes down. The load management takes into account other loads in the building, not just the chargers.  All chargepoints with comms enabled to BackOffice or Everon have smart charging capability. Where there are multiple units installed, load balancing will lower and spread the load if there is not enough grid capacity. Possible with EV ChargeOnline.
Fees /subscription Fee per charger operated via the eoHUB.  Payment gateway takes a % of the revenue generated by each charger. EV Hey App is free unless connected via UTMS.  There are fees for the use of BackOffice (and its successor Everon), depending on the funtionality required (home, business, public, load management etc). EVBox does not take a share of the revenue generated by each charger.

Fees are payable in respect of data management for EV ChargeOnline. For GroupManager there are data management fees and a licence fee. For EV ChargeOnline there are data management fees.

Scalability/future proofing Low cost scalability achieved because the intelligence sits outside of the individual chargers. One eoHUB can control up to 32 chargers, and multiple eoHUBs can be viewed via a single eoCloud account. Software updates available to existing users. EO is developing vehicle-to-grid charging, and integration of solar PV, battery storage solutions and EV charging. Streamlined scalable solution, with software updates available to existing users. EVBox offers tiered levels of charging and the ability to access increasing levels of functionality as and when required. The company is developing DC charging and vehicle-to-grid charging.

There is unlimited scalability within the different charger management systems, apart from the local system EV ControlCentre which is limited to 18 chargers. 

 

Branding Corporate branding not available (other than on eoMini).

Available on chargers, and on charge cards (orders > 100).

Bespoke branding is available on a number of Rolec's chargepoint.
Warranty  3 years 3 years, extension to 5 years available  Standard is 1 year, unless installed under OLEV scheme, in which case 3 years.
OCPP (Open Charge Protocol) compatible? Yes Yes Yes
Qualifies for Workplace grant?  Yes: eoGenius with eoHUB  Yes  Yes

Request a quote

If you would like a quote for the supply and installation of an EV chargepoint, please call us on 0118 951 4490, email us at info@spiritenergy.co.uk or complete our online form:

Request free advice / quote 

We are happy to provide comparative quotes for more than one type of chargepoint. We can also assist in deciding which chargepoint is right for you.