Photo: Shutterstock/Sergey Klopotov
16.08.2020 | 6 minutes

Powering Up: Charging Stations for Properties


The demand for charging stations is increasing. Property owners and managers need to rethink and plan charging stations, especially for new buildings. This makes the property much more attractive for prospective buyers and tenants.

Quiet, powerful, and largely emission-free, electric cars are attracting ever more interest. And with their increase, the demand for charging stations in public spaces, in companies, and also in commercial and residential construction is growing, too. Charging stations on private property are an investment in the future that benefits both owners and residents. Learn what you should be looking at when planning and operating new buildings.

Upgrading property with charging technology

“For both non-residential and residential properties, charging infrastructure will be an important selection criterion in the future,” says Ralf Wagner, electromobility expert at Drees & Sommer, a consulting firm for the construction and real estate sector. Many buyers and tenants of high-end residential properties already expect the option of a charging station. And companies are increasingly investing in charging stations for their parking lots and buildings.

In the future, it may not be possible to rent or sell a property without a charging facility for electric vehicles. “On the other hand, those who equip their buildings accordingly today will increase their attractiveness for prospective buyers and tenants, thus securing their future,” says Wagner.

Charging stations in new buildings: What you need to know

Real estate expert Wagner recommends looking into charging technology as early as possible in the planning process to avoid cost-intensive retrofitting. For new buildings, the main things needed to provide for the charging infrastructure are the power supply and cable ducts, because conventional household sockets are not suitable for charging electric cars. “That’s why uniform plug standards for electric cars have been developed across Europe,” says Wagner.

Various minimum requirements apply to electric vehicle charging stations, depending on the user group. There are two types: wall-mounted charging stations, called wallboxes, and vertical freestanding charging stations. Further distinctions address capacity and suitability for indoor or outdoor use.

Charging stations like this one enhance a property for buyers and tenants alike. Photo: Florian Stoellinger

 

The charging capacity offered by charging stations varies, and also determines charging time. In Germany, Type 2 AC charging stations with 11 kW or 22 kW are commonly used in real estate. It takes two to six hours for a full charge. DC charging stations offer higher capacities. These rapid charging stations have an output of up to at least 50 kW, and their charging time is about one hour. Rapid charging stations are particularly suitable for places with a short average stay, as well as on long-distance routes.

Charging capacity plays an important role, especially in apartment buildings and commercial properties. “The stability of the power supply system is an important test point if many electric vehicles are to be charged at the same time,” says Michael Ringleb, Product Manager for Electrical Engineering (ELT) at DEKRA, a testing and inspection company, explaining that a continuous load is created over several hours. “Here it must be ensured that there are no power failures due to overloading of the line network.” The installation of charging stations should therefore be carried out by experienced electricians.

If the charging infrastructure in a residential building comprises several charging points, then the use of dynamic load management should be considered. The available total charging capacity is adapted to real-time power consumption in the building. By efficient distribution of the available energy, the simultaneous charging of several electric cars in optimal time is made possible.

Charging technology from a specialist

Vattenfall InCharge, for example, handles the construction, operation, and maintenance of charging infrastructure. The company is continuously expanding its Europe-wide network of electric vehicle charging stations. Vattenfall InCharge also provides its customers with competent support when it comes to energy billing, as legal aspects must also be taken into account. According to Wagner, the expert from Drees & Sommer, “Especially with a changing group of users, it is often helpful to involve service providers for charging infrastructure – charging station operators – who can handle billing in a legally compliant manner.”

Subsidy options for charging stations

Anyone deciding to install a charging infrastructure can benefit from subsidy options. In Germany, there are government subsidies available for setting up charging stations, depending on the state. “For example, the state of Baden-Württemberg provides a 40 percent subsidy for operational charging infrastructure,” says Wagner. In addition, the Federal Ministry of Transport intends to make up to €50 million available to private households this year, according to the Charging Infrastructure Master Plan.

Five steps to your own charging station

 

  • Step 1: Inform the landlord/owners’ association about charging stations and apply for their installation, ideally in writing.
  • Step 2: Hold a vote on the topic at an owners’ meeting. Tenants can contact the property management, which will then convene a meeting of owners.
  • Step 3: Select the supplier and type of charging station. Two types are possible: vertical freestanding or wall-mounted charging stations. Further distinctions are made in terms of capacity and suitability for indoor or outdoor use.
  • Step 4: Hire an electrician to install the charging station. The installation should be carried out by experienced specialists.
  • Step 5: Some property management companies insist on having the charging station installation checked again afterwards, ideally using a certified VDE test protocol.

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private property
charging station
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