Bechtle: Staff parking garage with charging stations for 50 electric cars
- Bechtle AG, Germany’s biggest IT systems house, has incorporated the electrification of the company’s vehicle fleet into its sustainability strategy.
- At total of 50 charging points needed to be integrated into the new parking garage and supplied by the photovoltaic system on the roof.
- For the specific structural conditions, RTB GmbH & Co. KG developed a charging solution using charging technology and components from Phoenix Contact.
- The fleet charging solution in the parking garage supports the expansion of Bechtle’s electric vehicle fleet.
This report was written in the spring of 2018.
The tender for a new staff parking garage contained a provision that charging points must be provided for 50 electric cars. Additional requirements included easy expansion, billing in compliance with weights and measures regulations, and an energy management system to facilitate the use of renewable energy.
Contemporary parking garages with steel framing do not feature lots of load-bearing walls; their open design is characterized by vertical steel supports and cross-bracing. If a charging post were to be used, a collision guard would be needed too; this would take up valuable space and increase costs. With no load-bearing wall, there is no way to mount a home charging station. So the only option for installing the charging points was the narrow steel supports.
The charging points needed to be safe, reliable, and fit into the overall look of their surroundings. In addition, electrical installations in the commercial sector must be regularly reviewed and the associated costs should not rise in direct proportion to the number of charging points.
“We commissioned Goldbeck, a construction company based in Bielefeld, to act as our general contractor in building the parking garage,” says Rainer Kury. “Only the real essentials needed to be included in the parking space.” As a result, the charging point itself consists of just the type 2 charging socket, an RFID reader to identify the user, and local LED status indicators. The protective and switching devices, charging controllers, and energy meters are housed in the central control cabinet.
As Torsten Kocher from the Facility Management team of Bechtle AG in Neckarsulm, Germany, explains, “Since no active power-carrying components are installed at the charging point itself, maintenance of the individual charging points simply involves a visual inspection and function test.” If there is no vehicle charging, there are no voltages above 12 V present at the actual charging point. The critical protective and switching devices are checked in the central engineering room.
E-mobility specialist RTB decided to use the CHARX control basic charging controller from Phoenix Contact in conjunction with the CHARX control rcm DC residual current monitoring module. This combination ensures high availability and prevents unnecessary servicing, thanks to an automatic reset function following any residual current caused by the vehicle. Once a user has been successfully identified, the relevant charging processes can be enabled via the standard RS-485 interface and the overlying Modbus/RTU protocol.
Current charging currents and power values, as well as the amount of energy that has already been charged, are recorded using the EEM-350 energy meter, also from Phoenix Contact. Another advantage is that the devices are MID-certified. The energy meters can therefore be used to bill charging processes in compliance with weights and measures regulations.
“We have also linked this system to the parking garage control engineering, which is used to monitor parking spaces and provide users with dynamic guidance through the garage to the nearest available space,” added Torsten Kocher. “This makes parking even easier.”
By combining the core competencies of the companies involved in parking garage control engineering, charging technology, and billing processes, it was possible to come up with the perfect solution for fleet charging in the parking garage. All necessary aspects relating to construction and maintenance were taken into consideration here.
A concept for optimizing the use of renewable energy was also implemented. “Our installation has run smoothly from the very beginning,” Torsten Kocher says to summarize the situation. “Our RTB solution featuring Phoenix Contact components has a degree of maturity that will facilitate the expansion of our electric fleet.”