As electric vehicles (EVs) become more and more popular, the need to install EV charging stations is also increasing. Currently, EVs and plug-in hybrids account for about 5% of new car sales. Some analysts estimate that this figure will rise to 25% by decade’s – end. As a result, property owners are quickly researching if installing EV charging stations is feasible. There are many factors that play a role in determining station installation costs. Several of these questions may be easily answered, while others take professionals such as engineers or contractors to evaluate.
Here are five factors that can affect the cost of your EV charging project.
1. Distance Between the Charging Stations and the Electrical Panel
First, the distance between charging stations and the electrical panel can have one of the greatest influences on cost. Trenching through asphalt and concrete can be quite expensive as well as the cost of wire. If the length of the conduit running between the chargers and the panel is too long, larger wire may be needed to support voltage drop.
Pro Tip: Work with your electrician to find a suitable location close to the electrical panel. In some circumstances, it may be cheaper to install a new subpanel near the charging stations.
2. Number and Type of Charging Stations
As with any project, a larger scope of work has higher cost implications. The same holds true for installing EV charging stations. While hardware can account for nearly 50% of the total cost of a smaller installation, this decreases to 20% in larger projects. PwC analysis shows that after adding 4-6 stations, “capital cost per charger declining slowly as the overall size and capacity of the station [i.e. location] increases.” Rather than installing a single DCFC station, consider installing several high-power Level 2 stations to support more drivers and lower your per-station cost.
Pro Tip: It is wise to install enough charging stations within the current demand while also planning for future growth. The more EVs that are sold, the greater the need for charging stations. Instead of ripping up concrete or asphalt later to install more charging stations, it is more cost-efficient to install a few “EV Ready” spaces while you are already under construction.
EV Ready spaces have conduit stubbed to the parking space so properties are ready for increased demand for chargers. The parking space is ready for the charging stations. With EV Ready spaces, all electrical work at the panel and underground conduit will have been preinstalled ultimately saving both time and money.
3. Available Electrical Capacity
This is another factor that can affect the total installation cost for EV charging stations. All sites have a limit to how much additional electrical load they can accommodate. Once a certain point is reached, a service upgrade is required and the cost can be significant depending on how much additional electrical capacity is needed.
The work of the electrical engineer is needed during this stage of the project. Service upgrades can include larger transformers, electrical panels, or switchgear.
Pro Tip: Select a charging station and smart network with a load management system such as SemaConnect. A load management system can limit and/or distribute electrical load to the charging stations based on available capacity. With a load management system, more charging stations can be installed without overloading the existing infrastructure.
4. Availability of Rebates and Incentives
Of course, one factor that can reduce the cost of the EV charging station is the availability of rebates and incentives. There are millions of dollars of rebates and incentives available at the state, utility, and local jurisdiction level. In addition, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act has created federal grant programs specifically focused on increasing EV charging infrastructure.
These programs can provide thousands of dollars for each charging station installed. Make Ready rebates can reduce project costs by 50% to 75%, while other programs may pay for 100% of your costs!
5. Level of Charging
There are three levels of charging: Level 1 (the slowest), Level 2, and Level 3 (more commonly referred to as DC Fast Charging or DCFC).
For reference, Level 2 charging provides around 25 miles of range per hour of charging, while DCFC provides around 100 miles of range in 10 minutes. As a result, the cost difference between Level 2 and DCFC is quite significant. Level 2 charging stations can cost a few thousand dollars per unit while DCFC can cost tens of thousands of dollars per unit. Ultimately, the location and use of the property will determine which charging level is most appropriate.
Need help determining which level of charging can work for your property? Connect with us to learn which SemaConnect charging solution is right for you!