Getting your parking operation EV ready

Zatpark - EV charging bays on a street

The broad term of ‘mobility’ is frequently used in relation to how transport, parking and urban centres are developing, bringing them all together and painting a much more vivid and complex picture of how we live in the 21st century, one in which electric vehicles plays an increasingly big part.

The EV revolution is one that many have so far been outsiders too, perhaps driving older, reliable and affordable vehicles and feeling reluctant to make the inevitable move to fully electric vehicles (EV). The feeling of inertia is compounded by the concept of ‘range anxiety, or the need to travel across the country once a year. The industry is busy investing in the infrastructure required to support growing numbers of EVs but many questions remain such as timeframes for investments, the cost of charging and the management of charging points.

Working with Landor Links, Zatpark bought together a panel of experts to discuss the impacts of the E revolution on the parking industry.

Alistair Cameron, Head of Partnerships & National Sales, National Car Parks

Craig Taylor, Strategic Parking Manager, Cornwall Council

Simon Kendrew, Marketing Director, ENGIE EV

One area of interest was the National Grid and how it will cope with the increased demands on it as more and more EV charging points are introduced. Simon explained that there are inevitably going to be costs involved in grid updates, but electric vehicles will play a part in energy transition, including in the development of energy management technologies, often becoming part of the solution. He explained how the surplus renewable energy produced at times when less is required, ie at night, will become easier to store for future use. He said that there are real advancements going on in this area.

Live viewers asked what is being done to address the inconsistency of payment options for drivers, and whether parking operators would charge for parking and charging separately or together. The panellists answered that technology for payment does need further improvement, but contactless payments are becoming more common. Alastair said that charges are currently done in different ways for different users. All agreed that interoperability is going to be key so that drivers won’t have to have a range of different apps for booking and payment in the future.

Other questions asked included: What are the costs for operators? When can operators expect a payback from EV units, and can they expect to make a profit within the next 5 years? We also discussed how the size of parking bays will increase as more of them have charging points installed.

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