At the end of 2017, Fortum moved from our old headquarters in Keilaniemi to the newly refurbished headquarters that we currently inhabit. The move affected around 1100 employees, and was part of a broader corporate culture change, as stated in a previous release, “we at Fortum want to respond to the requirements set by digitalization and changing working life, and we want to get the best possible benefit from new technologies in our daily work. The head office move strongly supports this objective,” notes Fortum’s Arto Räty, Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs and Communications.
One of the projects involved in the move was the installation of electric vehicle charging points in the parking lot of the building complex shared by Microsoft, Tieto, and Fortum. The project gave us the opportunity to invest in our own test facility where we could test our software, chargers, and usage, as well as garner practical experience in the task of retrofitting a large-scale parking lot to enable EV charging for employees and guests.
The project was completed to coincide with the move to our new office and was immediately one of the largest employee EV parking facilities in Finland. A total of 46 22kW chargers, as well as 2 DC chargers and 1 V2G charger, were installed in the parking facility. The 46 22kW chargers translate to 92 AC charging points; in addition, two new 24kW DC chargers are currently planned for installation.
The amount of charging points is not the only impressive thing about the project. As a potential test facility for Fortum, the parking lot also has a 1.6 MW capability, the possibility for 400kWp solar, and a reservation for a 1 MW battery (a container with a transformer of 1000kVA) for load balancing with a grid connection.
“Planning and preparation was the most difficult and time-consuming part of the project,” comments the R&D Manager at Fortum Charge & Drive, Juha Matikainen. "Such a sizeable electrical installation with a high-power output is always challenging, and for such a large-scale project, it’s essential to keep the contractor terms extremely clear: who does what, and where does one person’s responsibility start and end. If you manage this correctly, the project runs smoothly.”
There were more than purely technical considerations to keep in mind as well, “the power requirement was extremely high and we needed to install transformers and cabinets, which are actually located in a freight container outside the building. But the location and design of the freight container needed permits from the city, as they are in a visible location and the city of Espoo does not want freight containers left on public display in a prominent business district, and neither do we,” said Matikainen. Hiding freight containers in plain site is no mean feat, and was accomplished with a clever combination of ingenuity, design, and permits.
The EV chargers are located on the first and second floors of the parking lot. Employees start and stop charging using the Fortum Charge & Drive RFID fob, which can also be used for charging in our public charging network. The cost of charging is per kWh, and the sum is deducted from the credit card which the user has supplied in their mobile app. Users can see receipts, consumption, and charging history in their app, and of course, add different credit cards for different fobs, should they wish to keep workplace charging separate or use a company (rather than personal) credit card.
Monitoring the data available from our CDMC (Charge Drive Management Cloud) SAAS platform, used to operate the location, has allowed us to see some trends in EV charging at the office:
- The average energy consumption per session is 6.4kWh, and there is an average of around 1360 sessions per month (excluding July, the traditional holiday month in Finland).
An increasing trend in the amount of charging sessions
The average amount of power does fluctuate per month but is fairly consistent over time
Dip in June: warm weather, better range, less need for power
Session dip in July: holiday month (no one at the office)
What conclusions can we draw?
The size of the battery pack does not appear to impact the amount of energy consumed per charging session. People seem to “top up” at the office as part of their commute, rather than consistently charging from empty to full. Those with large battery packs in their car are able to drive further with one charge, but the size of the battery pack does not change their actual charging behaviour, as drivers are not always using their full range. This basically just helps confirm the assumptions that we already made predicting charging behaviour at the office.
There is a significant and increasing trend in the number of sessions per month, roughly a 56% increase over one year. Although there is a small increase in the average energy consumption per month, it remains pretty much the same despite dramatic growth in charging sessions.
For office charging, the number of sockets is vastly more important than their output. This will become increasingly significant as fleets renew and electrify over the next few years; more charging points will be needed.
Employees probably do not need DC charging, but guests park for shorter periods of time, so low power or 24kW DC chargers for visitors would be practical for guest parking.
The parking lot of our Espoo HQ is the most dominatingly popular charging station we have in all of Finland, again confirming the assumption that the vast majority of EV charging will take place at home or at the office.