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Accelerating EV infrastructure

Jan 2018 Electric Vehicles, Training | Comments Off on Accelerating EV infrastructure
Accelerating EV infrastructure

The growth in electric vehicles has increased dramatically over the past three years, with registrations of new vehicles rising to around 3,000 per month – meaning in 2017 there were around 100,000 on UK roads. Rexel UK national account manager Euan Anson outlines the opportunities – and how to get involved.

With government plans set to see 1.7 million electric vehicles (EV) on our roads by 2020, it’s important that we turn our attention to the infrastructure that needs to be put in place to support this growth. With this in mind, it was encouraging to see plans outlined to invest a further £400m in EV infrastructure as part of the 2017 Autumn Budget.

This latest announcement presents a significant opportunity to electrical contractors looking to capitalise on the EV market.

Taking charge of opportunities

With demand growing, we are now seeing vehicle manufacturers releasing more plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles into the market. However, if these vehicles are going to be on the road, a reliable charging infrastructure is a necessity. In short, with every new electric or hybrid vehicle purchased or leased, a new domestic charge point will also need to be installed, or a communal charge point extended, presenting an opportunity for those within the industry.

While the above covers a domestic requirement, the opportunities for EV charging solutions also extends to commercial environments too. The more electric cars on the roads, the more charge points will be needed to be fitted into petrol stations, car parks, high streets and workplaces.

Such installations are required in cities and remote spots across the country to ensure the infrastructure is in place to support the increased use of electric vehicles, and it is this demand that will present electrical contractors with the opportunity to add additional revenue streams, while also broadening their portfolio of services to customers.

The good news for electrical contractors is that the work required for domestic installation falls well within the scope and skill set of most electrical firms, often meaning contractors can add this new service to their portfolio with little need for additional training or qualifications. However, contractors wishing to take advantage of the EV opportunities in a commercial setting may need to undertake further training to understand the specific requirements in relation to EV charging in a commercial setting.

Overcoming misconceptions

There are still some misconceptions among end users regarding the capabilities of EVs in terms of range and speed. Yet, while manufacturers are now heavily investing in producing vehicles that can rival their petrol and diesel counterparts, there is a role for contractors in helping to educate consumers and consequently enjoy the benefits to their business.

With this in mind, Rexel UK has developed Energeasy Drive, a web-based platform that enables end users to compare running costs before purchasing an electric vehicle, alongside the charging solution that best meets their individual requirements in both domestic and commercial settings. Furthermore, Energeasy Drive also allows users to find a registered Energeasy Drive installer near them.

Not only does this mean consumers can find a registered Energeasy Drive installer, but it also enables contractors to secure more business.

Making EV easy for electrical contractors

Working alongside contractors to support consumers in navigating the EV landscape is just one of the ways Rexel UK is supporting the uptake of EVs and the infrastructure needed to support them.

As well as helping electrical contractors to find business, Energeasy Drive offers a valuable knowledge resource in order to help them get started in the market, enabling them to confidently specify the most effective charging solutions to new customers.

For example, for many businesses and indeed end users, perceived costs are often the biggest barrier preventing further uptake of EVs. Energeasy offers contractors information on a number of government-led grants and funding schemes available that can contribute up to 75% towards the purchase price and installation costs of EV charging. Furthermore, for commercial customers, Energeasy Drive also offers businesses a finance solution through Rexel’s approved finance partner.

With the market set to grow significantly over the next two years, now is the time for electrical contractors to familiarise themselves with the EV services and solutions currently available in order to better serve customers. To assist electrical contractors, and ensure they are up-to-date with the technical know-how and skills to support the increase in demand for EV charging points, Rexel UK has partnered with NICEIC to offer theory-based training that covers earthing systems within residential properties and is available to all Energeasy Drive registered members.

The demand for electric vehicles and electric vehicle charge points from businesses, public sector organisations and homeowners is growing rapidly and will continue to do so. It is therefore important that electrical contractors take the time now to develop the product and industry knowledge needed to be able to take full advantage of the opportunity and become one of the early experts in the supply and installation of EV charging points.