There are factors that should be considered when assessing the suitability of potential charging stations site.
Typical site locations for public charging infrastructure include:
All of these locations have strengths and weaknesses that need to be considered alongside the proposed purpose of the site.
The following factors should be considering when assessing the suitability of a potential site for public electric vehicle charging infrastructure:
If looking to attract en-route drivers, consider where the site sits within their likely journey patterns.
The Transport Agency has information about traffic volumes, growth and transport infrastructure here.
When setting up sites on rural roads linking major urban centres or destinations, it’s important to consider:
Setting up charging stations in areas with established commercial services may be more attractive for investors, as services, such as food outlets, shops or toilets, are likely to encourage greater usage.
Permission to setup and operate a charging station
Early consultation with consenting authorities, including territorial authorities and road controlling authorities, will help inform the process and requirements to gain consent to setup a site.
Refer to Working with authorities to setup a site for further information.
Parking and enforcement
If exclusive electric vehicle parking or areas are provided, the level of exclusivity and enforcement available should be considered.
Refer to restricting and signposting a site for further information.
Territorial authorities may have specific requirements for setting up charging stations under their district plan.
Refer to Getting consent to install and operate a charging facility for further information.
General impacts to consider include:
The visual appeal and intrusiveness of a charging station will need to be considered within the environment it is planned for. The aesthetic requirements should be discussed with the local planning authority.
In high density urban areas, on-street charging stations may impact on already constrained pedestrian space. To ensure minimal additional loss of space, an option is to leverage off, or integrate with, existing roadside facilities.
Impact on other users
Vehicle supply cables can look messy and are a potential hazard to pedestrians or wheeled conveyances, such as wheelchairs and pushchairs.
The Connectors and socket outlets page recommends that, for slow charge installations, sockets are provided rather than tethered cables as this will minimise the impact to other users when the charging system is not in use. As fast charging systems require tethered cables, their suitability for on-street locations will be influenced by the amount of space available.
Depending on the type of charging station being installed, there may be a need for a significant electrical upgrade of the site. An electrical engineer will be able to provide further advice.
In the case of high capacity stations (fast/rapid charge), it is recommended that the relevant lines company is engaged at an early stage to identify the cost of providing and maintaining a point of connection to its network. If the network cannot meet the capacity requirements, the network within the area may need to be upgraded, with the costs passed on to the connecting party.
If you are connecting to the wiring in an existing premise
If you are connecting directly to a network you must
Accommodating different vehicles
Charging connection inlets are located in varying places on different vehicles, so sites with limited layout options may not be able to accommodate the charging requirements of some electric vehicles.
Off-street parking locations are likely to provide more layout options as more space is available. It is recommended that a wide zone is provided around the vehicle to enable the charging station to connect with multiple vehicle types and orientation requirements.
Positioning a charging station between parks may allow charging access to more than one parking space.
For on-street parking, remember that in New Zealand it is illegal to parallel park on the street facing into on-coming traffic.
It is recommended that car parks for electric vehicle charging are angled at 90 degrees, as this is the easiest way for multiple types of vehicles to charge due to variability and location of inlets on vehicles.
You may want to engage a traffic engineer or the local road controlling authority to discuss the design.
Protecting the infrastructure from damage
The angle the vehicle approaches the charging station from will influence the risk of damage to the charging station itself. Any additional buffering around the charging station will add to the amount of space required.
Installing road signs
The ability to market a charging station to users is important, so the ability to install signage at a site should be considered.
Refer to symbols, signs and road markings for more information about charging station symbols and signposting.
Safety of access
Road layout and traffic flow can increase the likelihood that drivers will make unsafe manoeuvres to access or exit the charging site. Consider the needs of drivers coming from multiple directions to ensure safety of entry and exit.
Disabled and special access
The parking needs of people with disabilities, pregnant women and parents transporting children in car seats need to be considered as part of the charging station and parking layout.
On-road charging requires the installation of equipment, and the use of cables. on footpaths. These can constrain pedestrian space and mobility, or introduce traffic management and/or personal safety challenges and should be considered.
On-road charging may also be subject to local bylaws and require public consultation.
Off-road charging locations generally allow more space and flexibility in terms of layout options and provide greater opportunity to control entry and exit manoeuvring. Off-road charging is also generally less exposed to vehicle speed, therefore reducing risk.
Safety by design
An assessment of hazards, associated risks and mitigations should be carried out as part of the planning process.
Providing appropriate lighting will make the location more visible, and reduce any perception that personal safety could be at risk while charging.
While charging in the rain is inherently safe, most users do not want to battle the elements in order to charge their car, and ideally shelter should be provided. Regular maintenance to ensure minimal dirt and dust build-up, and to ensure drains are cleared, should be part of the service plan.
Remote charging stations may make a user feel isolated and vulnerable; the more public and visible the station is the safer users will feel about using it.
Providing other services
Providing clean toilets and entertainment facilities for children will make a charging station more attractive for drivers who are travelling with families.
Ensuring availability and reliability
Ensuring continuity of service will be critical to retaining consumers’ confidence that charging stations will be available when and where they are needed.
Monitoring and maintaining charging stations should be carried out regularly. Unreliable facilities will undermine consumer confidence in electric vehicles.
Refer to charging station features for more information on tools for managing availability and reliability.
Providing multiple charging stations on one site is an effective way to support continuity of service.
Vandalism or inappropriate use of the charging system can be dangerous and compromise the reliability of the station. Security solutions, including good lighting, and closed-circuit-television (CCTV), should be considered for off-street and remote sites. Passive-surveillance by nearby pedestrians and drivers can also deter the misuse of the stations, so visibility from roads and walkways should be considered when choosing a site.
It is important to consider the potential to expand the immediate installation if demand grows in the future. In particular, will there be enough power supply to meet future demand?