If you’re considering installing EV chargers on your property, you’re probably laser-focused on how it might affect your bottom line. But when choosing an EV charging provider, many customers fail to take an equally important factor into consideration: the charging experience. If drivers’ needs aren’t met, property owners can suffer significant economic and reputational consequences.
There’s a way to install EV chargers with the best interests of both site owners and drivers in mind: implementing PowerFlex X™, an intelligent energy management platform featuring Adaptive Load Management® (ALM). PowerFlex created ALM to help customers install EV chargers at scale while reducing costs and driver pain points.
This makes ALM the ideal choice for workplaces, apartment buildings, schools, hospitals, hotels, airports, and many other types of public and private facilities. Let’s explore more.
If not done correctly, installing EV chargers can run up electricity bills and overload equipment. But PowerFlex’s Adaptive Load Management® makes EV charging affordable, dependable, and easy to manage for those who own or operate sites.
Using patented algorithms, ALM manages power distribution in real time across a network of EV chargers. Rather than every charger operating at full power all the time, ALM controls charging stations individually based on available site power plus information about the driver’s charging preferences and vehicle, including:
As you can see below, this adaptive approach to EV charging prevents power demand from spiking past the site’s electrical load target. In a system where charging demand is unmanaged, however, power spikes can lead to expensive peak demand fees (more on this a little later) or even system failure due to a tripped circuit.
Adaptive charging lets cars charge without any of these issues and allows the addition of even more chargers to keep up with increasing demand. You can read more about other commercial EV charging methods and how they compare to adaptive charging in our guide.
Let’s talk more about peak demand fees and how they come into play with EV charging.
In most utility service areas, you’ll pay a more expensive rate during the highest 15 minutes of electricity usage in your billing cycle. Adaptive Load Management® flattens charging load, avoiding jumps in energy use that result in these peak demand fees.
Cost savings with ALM are visualized below. For example, a facility with 102 Level 2 charging ports optimized with Adaptive Load Management® enjoys a 66% lower utility bill compared to a facility with the same number of unmanaged chargers.
ALM accomplishes all of this using a smaller transformer versus typical installations — allowing PowerFlex to save customers 60% or more by avoiding electrical service upgrades when installing EV charging infrastructure.
For sites like retailers, workplaces, multi-family communities, and public parking facilities, installing enough chargers to fulfill demand while managing implementation and energy costs is essential.
Chargers equipped with ALM need a fraction of the peak aggregate power normally required, allowing sites to affordably install larger-scale charging projects.
With ALM, site owners can more effectively meet the growing demand for chargers among EV drivers — especially in high-traffic areas. For example, Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) partnered with PowerFlex to install more than 1,200 Level 2 charging stations and 16 Level 3 (DC Fast) charging stations in its parking structures.
ALM balances LAX’s power draw across six different sites, including long- and short-term parking. The network can charge more EVs than an unmanaged setup, and with far lower installation costs than a typical EV charging model that would need to bake in expensive electrical infrastructure upgrades.
Level 2 chargers optimized with ALM also dramatically increase charging capacity for commercial fleets. The technology allowed DHL Express to install hundreds of charging stations for its electric delivery vehicles around the United States.
With ALM, DHL Express boosted their flexibility and reliability by installing double the chargers across their hubs than would have been possible with unmanaged charging. By deploying more chargers on site, DHL can ensure its last-mile delivery vans are always ready to go.
PowerFlex monitors, controls, and optimizes ALM-enabled EV chargers via the intelligent energy platform, PowerFlex X.
Site managers can view metrics such as charging sessions, charger status, charging revenue, and more through a single-sign-in customer portal that centralizes system information.
In addition to visualizing real-time data, users can generate and export historical reports that include sustainability benchmarks such as greenhouse gas emissions avoided and electric miles provided.
PowerFlex X co-optimizes and reports on other clean technologies that may be installed on site such as solar and battery energy storage systems — giving site managers a holistic view of all their assets. When these additional cleantech solutions are implemented, site owners and managers can unlock more cost savings and green benefits by using renewable energy to help power EV chargers.
PowerFlex X also easily integrates with building and fleet management systems for visibility into site loads and vehicle telematics.
For an EV charging project to be truly successful, site owners need to be shielded from high startup and operating costs while ensuring drivers get the energy they need, when they need it. Providing an intuitive, easy-to-use charging experience for drivers means more utilization and a greener planet. Let’s explore how ALM makes that happen.
Since PowerFlex can deploy 4 times the number of EV charging stations compared to traditional installations, properties can potentially quadruple their onsite charger availability. This means that even when sites are crowded, EV drivers will have an easier time finding an available port.
Adequate charging capacity is critical to driver satisfaction at any location but is especially important in the case of multi-unit dwellings and municipalities.
As electric vehicles become more widely adopted, apartment complexes are looking to implement onsite EV charging to attract and retain quality renters. PowerFlex installed more than 200 Level 2 chargers across two of Bosa Development’s condominiums in San Francisco's Mission District. Additional infrastructure installed at both sites allows for future expansion of EV charging capacity to keep up with growing driver demand.
Los Angeles tapped PowerFlex to deploy more than 1,000 smart Level 2 EV chargers, as well as 10 DC Fast Chargers that can accommodate drivers who need to fill their batteries at a quicker pace. The chargers are spread across multiple locations around the County, including at the famed Walt Disney Concert Hall in Downtown Los Angeles where 40 Level 2 chargers and 3 DC Fast Chargers are available to concertgoers. Chargers were also installed at County office buildings where County employees can utilize them to charge fleet EVs as well as their own vehicles.
If an EV driver can’t get the energy they want before they need to depart, chances are they won’t want to pay to use your chargers again. This is the problem with other EV charging methods on the market that delay or even restrict vehicles from charging depending on the order in which they arrive (read more about them here in our Guide to Commercial EV Charging Methods).
ALM ensures that drivers achieve their desired charging level by the time they need to end their session. Using the free PowerFlex mobile app, drivers input the level of charge they want plus how long they intend to remain plugged in, then go about their day. By the time they return to their car, it’s charged and ready to drive again.
With ALM and the PowerFlex app, you can make sure the drivers who frequent your chargers stay happy and willing to come back.
Interested in finding out more about Adaptive Load Management® and how the sites you operate can benefit from it? Contact us here, and one of our experts will be in touch to walk you through what’s best for your specific charging needs and property type.