“That alone will save us six figures.”
I heard an astonished smile beaming from a member of a real estate development team at the other end of the line. He couldn’t wait to share this news with the owner.
I don’t care who you are, who doesn’t love hearing that news?
I know – electric vehicle (EV) charging doesn’t get most people out of bed. But for this developer designing a new state-of-the-art mixed-use office park in San Diego, Christmas came early!
Once completed, the development will house several household-name tech tenants in Class-A (aka fancy-pants) office space. The property will include a nine-story parking structure with capacity for 1,700 vehicles for employees and visitors.
It’s no secret that many tech workers drive EVs. Catering to their clientele, the property owner decreed 25% of the parking spaces, or 425 spots, will include electric vehicle (EV) charging.
The owners also plan to expand EV charging to another 25% of parking spaces (+425) within the next few years. Anticipating future growth, electrical engineers will add additional wiring for future EV charging build-out. (It’s a common design approach industry nerds call “make-ready”.)
But Alex, you’re talking 800+ charging stations?! What the heck is driving that decision?
The property owner views EV charging as a valuable amenity and a competitive advantage for tenants.
They also see the writing on the wall.
Rather than build a brand new parking structure that will need a retrofit in the next 1-2 years, they intend to future-proof the site. Also, CALGreen building codes will soon require 25% of new parking lots to include EV charging.
They see charging as an enormous day-1 value-add for their tenants. It’s also going to save a lot of future money.
425 EV Chargers? Are You Insane?
A typical level two charger sucks about 7 kilowatts (kW) of power. That’s enough juice to run five high-power microwaves at once.
So 425 Level 2 chargers operating simultaneously draws nearly 3,000 kW of power. That’s the power required to operate 2,125 microwaves!
That’s likely more power than the actual office building consumes most of the year.
Planning for the Worst
With unmanaged EV charging, designers size electrical infrastructure to this “worst case charging scenario” in compliance with building codes – even if that event never happens.
That means electrical engineers must upsize necessary electrical equipment such as transformers, switchgear, and copper wires, adding significant project costs. Not to mention time for utility permitting.
What if we could avoid expensive, unnecessary infrastructure for EV charging?
How to Save $100,000’s
For this project, PowerFlex’s adaptive load management (ALM) software will shave the 3,000 kW peak EV charging load to around 500 kW, reducing electrical infrastructure sizing.
In this case, it saved six figures off installation costs.
Once operating, ALM software will save tens of thousands of dollars in operation costs.
The Bills Arrive
After construction, the utility bills arrive. The utility will charge the building owner for 1) energy consumption and 2) peak demand (rated in kilowatts, kW) over the billing period.
You hear most people complain about high electric rates. Fair enough. For businesses in California, demand charges often pose the greatest risk to exorbitant utility bills. Here in San Diego, I’ve seen demand charges exceed $40 per kilowatt (kW) during summer months.
If all 425 chargers operated simultaneously for even 15 minutes during a billing period, the customer could accrue over $50,000 in demand charges that month! That’s before consuming a single unit of energy.
Adaptive load management reduces demand charges while intelligently shifting charging to the most cost-effective periods throughout the day.
Saving customers hundreds of thousands of dollars on construction and operation costs while attracting and retaining key tenants always makes a great story.
This specific developer reached out because they heard our technology could help reduce the cost of large scale charging stations.
Want to Learn More?
Are you exploring intelligent, cost-effective, large-scale EV charging solutions? We’d like to hear from you.
We’re already helping customers like SAP, Intuit, Adobe, Netflix, and Rivian reduce the cost of EV charging at their facilities. Shoot me an email if you suspect we could help with your next EV project.
About the Author
I’m working alongside a talented team to provide organizations with intelligent onsite solutions that enable carbon-free electrification and transportation.
If you’re considering onsite solutions such as electric vehicle charging stations, solar, or battery storage to reduce corporate greenhouse gas emissions and improve operational efficiency, let’s see if we can help. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.