This page is intended for employees and visitors of STFC-RAL, until something official becomes available. This is the situation at March 2022. Hopefully some of what I’ve learned in nearly 6 years of EV driving is useful.

TLDR; download the Chargepoint app and plug in!

At the Harwell campus there are many tenants, STFC being the largest. While there are chargers at Diamond (on the Polar network) these are not available to STFC employees and visitors. Likewise some other tenants on the campus have EV charging, believed to be limited to their staff and visitors. (It would be great to see some cross-campus co-operation!)

STFC currently uses the company Chargepoint to provide charging posts. You can find some useful resources on their site here https://www.chargepoint.com/en-gb/resources/drivers

There are three posts (six bays) at the entrance to the South Car Park. Reception R75 has two posts (four bays) that are intended for visitors. If you are desperate for a charge at reception, ask at the reception desk. All the other chargers around site are for STFC vehicles only, such as the Nissan vans and Mercedes people carriers.

Download the Chargepoint app, which you’ll need to initiate a charge. It’s also useful to check if a charger becomes available during the day, or monitor what your car is drawing, even if you don’t have an app for the car itself. Chargepoint also operate the Instavolt charger network, so you can also use the app at those.

The posts each have two sockets, so you’ll need your own Type 2 cable.

There is some important etiquette to be aware of: https://www.chargepoint.com/en-gb/blog/ev-charging-etiquette-work

Perhaps most importantly, please move your car when it’s full. If all the chargers are full when you arrive (and they tend to be by 8am during the middle of the week) you can join the “Waitlist” on the app, or web page. Then you’ll be alerted when a post is available for you. Please don’t park in a bay and not plug in, even if the charger appears dead. When it’s turned back on you’ll be blocking the post for everyone.

When you’ve finished charging, unplug the cable from your car and the charger should automatically unlock.

If you have any issues, call Chargepoint, they are very responsive and helpful.

If the chargers appear “dead” then that’s down to STFC Estates, not Chargepoint, to switch the power back on. Call or email the Estates helpdesk.

Tip: Staff can use the “Connections” tab in the app or web page, to “connect” as an employee of Rutherford Appleton Laboratory. This will enable lower cost charging.

There is also a Yammer page for staff, “EV community at RAL”.

The technical bit

The Type 2 sockets will supply up to 22kW, and you’re likely to be limited by your car’s On Board Charger. If you’re not already aware (and lets face it, your dealer is unlikely to have told you as they probably don’t know) here’s a useful ZapMap page on what charger your car is fitted with https://www.zap-map.com/charge-points/ev-charging-guides/

The maximum power of 22kW per post is split when two cars are plugged in and drawing power. Each post has 32A 3-phase available. So even if you have a 22kW AC charger in the car you’ll get 11kW maximum when sharing. Most cars today have 7kW single-phase charging although very early cars may be limited to 3.6kW. Increasingly newer cars are coming with 11kW (16A 3-phase). There are no DC Chademo or CCS chargers for staff, since lower power charging is more appropriate when parking for a few hours.

Lastly, if you have a high power charger, you may see charging speed drop on the app, as your battery fills up. This is down to the car managing the charging speed to look after the battery.

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