Posted on 28th August 2020

Electric vehicle chargers begin rolling out at Ealing Studios

Ealing Studios is getting ahead of the game by installing six charging points now. Director Simon George says the learning will inform a wider rollout, but warns of capacity crunch

Our partner Good Energy have released a free whitepaper report, in partnership with The Energyst, reviewing the complexity of Electric Vehicle charge point installation at the workplace and how their new product, One Point, helps businesses navigate the technology landscape. Simon George, Director of Albert member Ealing Studios, provides us with his experiences in ensuring Ealing is able to meet the needs of their customers as the UK transitions to electric.

Ealing Studios is the oldest continuously working studio in the world, occupying a 3.8-acre site in the heart of Ealing, West London, since 1902.

This year, it has installed six 21kW charging points, “taking our first baby steps”, towards the future of transport, says Simon George, director of finance and operations.

“We know the world is going this way, and customers want it, so we will have to provide a much more substantive EV (Electric Vehicle) solution. But in a congested site, how you manage them makes a difference. We use the space very flexibly; as soon as you put in EV chargers, it creates constraints, so we want to learn how that works.” says George.

Good Energy is currently albert’s preferred energy supplier, supplying power to more than 30 studios and production houses, of which Ealing is one. The search for a suitable sustainable energy supplier was part of albert’s Creative Energy project.

“They (Good Energy) tendered to become our supplier, and it become essentially no cost to go green energy – so we did.” says George. “Then we said, can you do EV charging points? They said yes and so that’s how we got involved”.

“It means we have a one stop shop. We are not experts in EV charging, so we are happy to let them handle of all that”.

Future proofing and capacity crunch

The initial six chargers at Ealing will predominantly be used by long-term tenants, of which only two currently drive EVs. When production crews are on site, there are “probably four or five that have EVs,” says George. “So demand is not high, but we expect that to change over time.” he adds, especially with generous Benefit in Kind rates now in effect.

“So we will evaluate the installation to see how it goes and learn how people behave with it and learn the lessons to a wider rollout plan.”

However, George believes electrical capacity could ultimately prove a critical issue as EVs become mainstream.

“Future power availability is a prime concern,” says George. “Six 21kW chargers totals 126kW. It is actually very unlikely that all 126kW will be used at any one time, but even if it was, we can manage that,” he says. “However, multiply that by ten [when everyone is driving an EV and wants to charge onsite] and you are up to a megawatt, and that really does start to change things. We can run two stages routinely on a megawatt supply,” says George.

In the meantime, Ealing Studios is reevaluating whether the business case for rooftop solar PV stacks up.

“We looked at it previously, but then the rules changed – literally that week.” says George. “Since then we have looked periodically to see if it is back in the economic zone. But increasingly, it seems that you no longer need subsidy to make PV work, so we are looking again.”

This article was adapted from a case study in Good Energy’s latest EV white paper, which can be downloaded here