A complete ‘one-stop-shop’ or fully integrated, single-source service for the implementation of high quality electric vehicle (EV) charging systems has been formed between installation contractor ICEE Managed Services and a leading distributor of Schneider Electric premium brand EV charging and related equipment, Rapid .
Spanning the entire planning, procurement and delivery process, the service includes equipment selection, supply, installation, commissioning and lifetime maintenance of EV charging systems, or complete asset management. Initially, the service is being aimed purely at the commercial or business-to-business (B2B) and local authority markets.
Installing EV charging points may seem simple to the prospective customer, but many potentially complicated and time-consuming questions often require dealing with first. By providing one point of contact, the combined resources of ICEE and Rapid will undertake and simplify that process, delivering the required outcome – a reliable and high quality EV charging service – faster, safer and at least cost to the customer and end-user.
ICEE is a newly authorised installer of specific EV charge-points under the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS), a recognition gained on December 19, 2017. This means the installer is now eligible to submit grant claims for customers, enabling the latter to save money under the WCS scheme for the installation of specific types of EV workplace charging equipment offered by ICEE and Rapid.
OLEV describe the WCS as ‘a voucher-based scheme that provides support towards the up-front costs of the purchase and installation of electric vehicle charge-points, for eligible businesses, charities and public sector organisations.’
An electric future
According to industry sources such as the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) the uptake of electric vehicles – hybrid and pure – is evidently rising. Past and present governments are fully supporting the trend, starting with grants made available back in 2011, when funding was announced to encourage the adoption of plug-in vehicles. Last year’s Autumn Budget statement by the Chancellor of the Exchequer included the pledge to “establish a new £400m charging infrastructure fund, invest an extra £100 million in [the] Plug-In-Car Grant, and £40 million in charging R&D”.
“EV charging point clusters must become as commonplace as petrol and diesel filling stations,” says Paul Harris, Managing Director of ICEE Managed Services. “We have already launched into supplying and installing EV charging points. We want to strengthen our presence in this exciting new market, so we jumped at the chance of partnering with Rapid and helping to create a simple one-stop-shop service for the customer.”
On why the relationship with Rapid was formed, he says: “To ensure reliability in the field and avoid service outage, we always advise customers to invest in high quality, premium products. When we started installing EV charging systems, because of the company’s reputation for high standards, we chose the Schneider Electric EVlink range of products as our preferred option.
“Products were supplied to us by the manufacturer’s UK distributor, Rapid. Discovering how closely our values and standards coincided we soon agreed to work closely with Schneider Electric’s distributor, to simplify the supply chain and offer best value to the customer.
“Our installation engineers have undertaken rigorous training courses at Schneider Electric’s UK premises and as a result ICEE has become a fully approved installer of the EV charging point maker’s range of EV products.
“Importantly, partnering with Rapid will help ICEE keep up with the very fast-moving rate of change in this industry such as new grants and funding, battery technology, and other key developments including asset and data management. For customers, our successful registration under the OLEV WCS grant aid scheme will add further value to our service.”
Closing the loop
James Bates, Managing Director of Rapid, says: “We are very pleased to partner with ICEE Managed Services. EV charging is in its infancy and in some cases still has fragmented contact points for customers, such as through manufacturers, distributors, installers, maintenance companies and consultants. The initiative with ICEE helps solve that problem and creates an opportunity for an agile, customer-focused business.
“Additionally, guidelines and safety standards can easily be misunderstood, and - due to pressure to compete on price - the highest levels of safety recommendations are not always applied or maintained throughout a project due to pressures to reduce costs.
“We are very close to Schneider Electric and their expertise, but we realised a similar relationship was required with a dynamic installer. To ensure EV charging points operate flawlessly in the field and deliver consistently reliable service, the quality of installation and maintenance is absolutely key,” says Bates.
“When we met with ICEE, we could see the way to close the loop by creating a seamless customer-centric solution, from enquiry through to after care.
“What’s more, besides having years of experience in high quality electrical equipment installation work, ICEE is also a manufacturer of enclosures. We want to offer customers the opportunity to customise the branding of EV charging points, so we can do this now,