With more drivers focusing on protecting the planet and reducing emissions, it’s no wonder that electric vehicle (EV) sales have continued to rise. In fact, there are now over 1,400,000 plug-in electric vehicles on the road in the United States, and Tesla just manufactured its one millionth vehicle! With so many electric cars on the road, there has never been a bigger need for commercial EV charging stations. As of December 2017, there were an estimated 20,178 public and private charging sites throughout the U.S., with 86.9% being available for public use. But that number pales in comparison to the number of traditional gas stations that exist and the number of publicly accessible EV stations needed.
There are major benefits that come with commercial charging station installation, including attracting new business, improving your industry leadership, and retaining valuable tenants and employees. In today’s post, we’ll answer some other frequently asked questions about installing EV charging stations at your property.
Who Should Install Electric Car Charging Stations?
Central business districts, city centers, shopping malls, and public parking structures are ideal locations for public EV charging stations. Because electric vehicles charge where they are parked, drivers appreciate public parking that will allow them to run their errands while boosting their vehicle’s battery. Charging stations near restaurants and retail stores also encourage drivers to dine or shop longer so they can receive more electricity.
Many workplaces, office plazas, and multifamily communities are also adding private charging stations for their employees or tenants to use. After all, this is where people spend the majority of their time. EV drivers want to leave work or leave their apartments with a full charge, so they will look for businesses with charging amenities.
What Kind of Commercial Charging Station Do I Need?
Commercial EV charging stations are classified by charging levels (or charging speeds) and data communications.
Level I charging is the slowest option, with three to five miles of travel added per hour of charging. EV drivers receive a basic Level I cable to plug their vehicle into a typical 110V wall outlet, but often find that this speed is too slow for overnight charging. Level II charging stations offer faster charging, using 208/240V and 30amp electricity to deliver about 12 to 40 miles of range per hour of charging time. This is the standard for daily EV charging at any commercial property. Level III, or DC Fast Charging, is the fastest charging level, offering anywhere from 35 to more than 100 miles per hour of charging. However, while DC Fast Chargers deliver a faster charge, they require more energy, are expensive to install, and are not compatible with all electric vehicles.
Besides charging speeds, a second charging standard has emerged for the commercial market: smart charging. With a smart network and data communications, commercial property owners can restrict access to approved member groups, set custom pricing to recoup energy costs, download usage reports for stakeholders and city officials, and monitor station health remotely.
How Much Does it Cost to Install EV Charging Stations?
The biggest part of an EV charging program budget is the installation itself. There are a number of factors that affect the cost. Available electrical service, site location, data connectivity, materials, labor, permits, and taxes will all impact the installation costs. If you are a new building, you may already have the “stub outs” required for your stations, but an older building may require more renovations. Your electrical contractor can help you determine the level of site work that you will need.
However, there are also several ways to mitigate your project costs. By using existing electrical infrastructure, taking advantage of available EV charging rebates and grants, or splitting responsibilities with adjacent businesses, you can keep the costs of installation more manageable.
Now that you’ve learned more about commercial charging station installation, you may be ready to take the next step: implementation. To learn more about how SemaConnect can provide the smart charging solutions you need, contact us today.