With the increase in electric cars, commercial EV charging station installation has become a popular business for contractors.
This guide will cover everything you need to know about installing EV charging stations. You’ll learn how they work, what types of chargers are available, and where to install them for maximum convenience.
This guide will also walk you through all the steps necessary to install your very own EV charging station at home or for your business.
What Are the Benefits of an EV Charger Installation?
The benefits of installing EV charging stations are that they can help lower fuel emissions and reduce the use of fossil fuels. They can also help support the efforts of employees who choose the sustainable choice of an electric vehicle. They are both helping the environment and saving money by not visiting the gas station every other week. And installing an EV charger at your place of business means they almost never have to stop at a gas station—how convenient!
In addition, if your car battery dies away from home, you have a backup plan with a charging station nearby.
What Are the Different Types of Commercial EV Charging Stations?
There are three different types of commercial EV charging stations, which include :
A 120-volt, single-phase AC power outlet like what you would see in your home. This charger is the slowest and cheapest to install among all three types, with a charge time that can take up to 20 hours or more per car.
Like Level I chargers, these are single-phase AC power outlets found in areas like homes and businesses. However, a difference is that these are 220-volt or 208-volt, while Level I’s can be 120 volts only.
They also charge the car faster than a Level I but are still slow compared to DC fast chargers, with an estimated time of around six hours per car.
Typically, DC fast chargers use 480-volt three-phase and can provide a car with an 80% charge within 30 minutes. This type of charger is the most expensive to install because it needs more than just one box to house all wiring, breakers, and other components needed for installation.
Choosing the Best Location for a Commercial EV Charging Station
Before deciding on a location, you should examine the site to determine if it has enough space for installation.
You need to ensure adequate access and room around the grid connection point (the two square boxes) and consider where your business or parking lot can accommodate these chargers.
The place should have at least 3 feet (36 inches) of clearance around the charging port and breaker box. If you have that, you can hire a local contractor to set everything in place while meeting codes without causing any damage to the parking garage or lot.
Places to Install an EV Charging Station
When looking to install EV charging stations, there are various locations to consider. Before deciding where you want to install the charging station, you need to know your needs and how much money you want to spend on installation.
Here are a few options:
- Private property (residential or commercial)
- Public parking lots and garages
- Metered parking spaces for EVs in your city
- Business districts
- Shopping centers
What Are the Three Most Important Factors to Consider Before Installing Commercial EV Charging Stations?
Here is a list of factors you should think about when it comes to installation:
- The cost: Depending on where the EV charging station installation will be performed, the costs may vary significantly. Some factors include labor, installation equipment, permitting fees, etc.
- Location: Where are your customers going to park? How many EVs will be charging at once? What is the range of each vehicle that comes in for a charge? Do they have multiple locations or only one location where there might be more than one station installed?
- The time it takes to charge (in hours): The time it takes to charge the car will depend on several factors, including what kind of vehicle it is and how much power you can deliver to the device.
What Are the Steps in Commercial EV Charging Station Installation
Here is a detailed process on commercial EV charging station installation:
- Inspect the site and determine where you want your charger(s) installed. Also, check if any underground utilities may need to be moved or avoided during installations. Be sure to ask if there are any requirements or permits required before installing the unit. There might also be some additional fees associated with this process, so check on that.
- Mark out areas for installation by using spray paint or flags.
- Dig holes for the two boxes that will house your charger and breaker box. Make sure to leave enough space in between both so you can pull out the chargers when necessary.
- Install conduit from where each breaker will be housed to their proper locations on your property. These should include a meter socket, ground rod, weatherhead, and wire.
- Run the positive and negative cables, which should be within conduit between their locations on your property to where you want them located at each box location. Secure with staples or other fasteners that won’t damage the wires when pulled through.
- Connect the breaker(s) to the breaker box. Make sure to connect the positive and negative cables properly before doing this step.
- Run another conduit from each breaker’s location in their boxes up into where you want your chargers located on top of the ground level. Secure with fasteners if necessary, so it doesn’t fall when pulled through or gets dirty.
- Pull the EV charger(s) through the conduit and place them on top of ground level. Make sure you secure it with fasteners, so they don’t fall or get dirty when pulled through.
- Connect each power cable from the breaker box to where your chargers are plugged into, positive first, then negative if there is more than one charger.
- Test the installation and check for any loose wires or connections that need to be tightened up with fasteners. That should be done by a professional electrician, contractor, or construction team, so everything is set up correctly once you begin charging customers.
Do I Need an Electrician to Install a Commercial EV Charging Station Correctly?
You may not need an electrician, but it’s recommended to have one along with a contractor or construction team to do the installation.
These professionals should have experience installing EV charging stations and know how to properly set everything up so that you can begin operating as soon as possible without any hiccups.
Indoor vs. Outdoor Chargers: What Type is Right For You?
Installing indoor and outdoor electric car charging stations depend on a few different factors. The weather where you live, your budget, how often the vehicle is used, and what type of charging station you have will play into which option is best for you.
An outdoor electric car charging unit can be installed anywhere with access to an outlet or power source (though it should always adhere to local building codes). Since the unit is exposed to potentially harsh weather, it must withstand high temperatures, heavy rains, and even snowfall.
An indoor EV charging station should only be used for low-powered cords intended solely for home use or office spaces. If you plan on using your vehicle infrequently or if the cord will not have to be used for long periods, an indoor EV charging station will do the job.
What Is the Cost of a Commercial EV Charging Station?
Installing EV charging stations can be expensive, but the startup costs are compensated by low maintenance and high demand from drivers who need to recharge their batteries.
The cost of installing a commercial EV charging station varies depending on the power you want your station to have and many other factors.
Ultimately, the most common power level is the 240 volt AC (Level II), which will charge almost any electric vehicle and may cost around $6,000 to install. It’s more expensive than a 120v (Level I) charger, which costs about $3,000 or less per unit to install.
That said, it can cost you anywhere between $5,000 and $50,000 to install a charging station- depending on its brand and wattage. Your hired electrician will be able to determine the estimated cost upon your initial consultation.
Are There Any Laws That Limit EV Charge Installation?
While there are no laws that prevent you from installing an EV charging station, some localities may have specific rules to follow.
For example, your state laws may require you to bury the cable for underground EV installation of home charging stations.
If your area has any special requirements like this, check with your local government before starting the installation process.
Is It Better to Have Multiple Chargers at My Business or Just One?
It’s up to you if you choose to have a single or multiple EV chargers installed at your location. It also depends on the type of business and how many cars are expected to charge per day.
If it’s just one car, then a Level I charger would work perfectly fine for most people, while others may need more depending on how much they drive.
Most people will use a Level II charger for their home or to charge at work, or just one of these chargers, in particular, to get faster charging times depending on the amount of power needed where you live.
If there are more cars expected each day, then having multiple DC fast chargers should be considered. If this is the case, you should first talk to your local utility company on how much power is needed for these types of chargers before investing in multiple DC fast chargers at once.
If you’re ready to take the leap into sustainability and install EV chargers at your business, give Electric City a call! Our professional team of electricians is well-versed in EV charger installs and can get you up and running in no time. We are a Chargepoint Certified Installer, are partnered with Blink EV chargers, and have successfully installed thousands of chargers across the state of MN. To get started, reach out today!