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Your Guide to Implementing a Commercial Electric Vehicle Charging Station

Your Guide to Implementing a Commercial Electric Vehicle Charging Station

As the world accelerates towards a more sustainable future, commercial electric vehicle (EV) charging stations have emerged as the innovative bridge between environmental responsibility and economic growth.

From transforming your property into a sustainability leader to attracting top-tier talent and unlocking potential revenue streams, discover the strategic advantages your commercial property can realize by embracing the electric revolution.

By offering a unique perk to supporting environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals, there are many benefits to investing in commercial electric vehicle charging.

In this article, we discuss the reasons why commercial building owners are increasingly investing in EV charging infrastructure and explore the steps to upgrading a commercial property with EV charging. Stay ahead of the competition and lead the charge towards a more sustainable and profitable future by implementing commercial electric vehicle charging stations.

Understanding the Need for Commercial EV Charging Stations

With 80% of EV charging currently happening at home, widespread access to a commercial electric vehicle charging station could result in new charging habits and creates unique value for EV owners, commercial businesses, fleets, and even utilities.

EV Growth

American consumers have purchased an impressive 4.1 million plug-ins and EVs since 2010, and experts believe the country will need 28 million EV chargers by 2030 to keep up with widespread EV adoption.

Exploring Opportunities

Offering a commercial electric vehicle charging station has several benefits, including sending a strong message about where the brand stands. It can also attract professional talent, help you connect with new customers, and become a source of revenue if you decide to monetize this amenity.

For businesses that operate fleets and are considering upgrading their EV charging solutions, investing in an expanded charging infrastructure can pave the way for fleet electrification and unlock additional opportunities for savings and sustainability for the company.

Selecting the Right Location for EV Charging Stations

When upgrading a property with a commercial electric vehicle charging station, location is often the first consideration. Picking a convenient location will increase the rate of adoption for this amenity, and a visible, well-lit, and well-maintained location will also have the most impact on your brand image.

A Strategic Location

An ideal location for your commercial electric vehicle charging station would be highly visible to encourage usage while also being safe and easy to access. The design should allow for free movement around the charger, and users should have a clear path to the building.

State building code standards and ADA requirements are helpful guidance for determining an ideal location. A licensed electrician can assess your unique situation and recommend an ideal location for the EV charging station based on official standards and practical considerations.

Keep in mind that a charging location may be used at all times of day and should be designed to create a safe and welcoming space for always charging. If the location is inconvenient, lacks visibility, is more remote, or dimly lit, it may be a deterrent for those looking to charge their vehicles.

Practical Considerations

Installing a Level 2 commercial electric vehicle charging station requires access to a dedicated 240V circuit connected to the building’s main electric panel or to a sub-panel. Proximity to the panel will reduce the upfront installation cost since fewer materials and trenching work will be required when hardwiring the station.

If you’re investing in a Level 2 charging station, you should know that getting a full charge can typically take between 4 to 10 hours. Ideally, EV charging spots shouldn’t be in the way of deliveries or drop-off areas. You should also consider how many charging spots you want to offer and whether users will have access to charging outside of business hours.

Choosing the Right EV Charger

The budget, existing electric infrastructure, and expected usage will help you determine the most relevant EV charging solution for your commercial electric vehicle station.

Vehicle compatibility isn’t a major issue thanks to EV manufacturers adopting a common standard, but you should know that most automakers will soon replace the existing J1772 standard with NACS plugs. Investing in charging equipment that supports this new standard is an excellent way to future-proof your charging project.

Level 1 charging is the most affordable option, but it’s also the least practical one due to slow charging speeds of around 1 kWh, which translates into charging sessions of 40+ hours.

For most businesses, a Level 2 charging station will make the most sense. Level 2 chargers can deliver up to 19 kWh and charge an EV in four to ten hours. With over 126,000 charging ports in existence, it’s the most common way to charge EVs. You can also find dual-port Level 2 charging stations, a solution that allows two users to charge their EVs at once.

A third level of charging, known as DC Fast Charging, is available. With over 28,000 chargers currently available across North America, DC Fast Charging is becoming more commonplace and is emerging as a key element of a modern electrification infrastructure with charging speeds of 50 to 350 kWh. However, delivering DC Fast Charging requires access to a heavy-duty electric infrastructure and comes with a much higher price tag.

Securing Necessary Permits and Compliance

Your commercial electric vehicle charging station needs to comply with a few requirements, including your local building and electric codes. Article 625 of the National Electric Code also has provisions for using a GFCI outlet, grounding the charging equipment, establishing clearance around the equipment, and more.

If you’re taking advantage of federal or state funding for your project, you might have to meet additional compliance requirements. Navigating the regulatory environment and obtaining the right permits for the electrical work and potential modifications to your parking infrastructure are steps a professional can help you with.

Installation: Partnering with Professionals

Working with an experienced professional is crucial when installing a commercial electric vehicle charging station.

How a Professional Creates Value

A licensed electrician who has worked on EV charging installation projects before can help you select the right charging equipment, pull the required permits, and follow best practices and compliance requirements during every step of the project.

Working with a professional will result in a safe and reliable charging infrastructure that users can trust. Additional benefits include mitigating liability risks linked to poor installation practices and reducing maintenance and repair costs in the long term.

Warranty and Maintenance

A professional can deliver additional value in the form of a warranty and maintenance plan. These post-installation services will ensure that your commercial electric vehicle charging station is always up and running, which can go a long way in supporting a positive image for your brand while delivering a convenient user experience.

Promotion and Usage

Once your commercial electric vehicle charging station is in place, you’ll need a strategy to drive adoption.

Marketing and Promotional Offers

Signage is a great way to draw attention to the charging station, but you can also generate interest by documenting the installation process on social media or your blog. Organizing a launch event where customers can earn a free charging session with every purchase or creating a promotional charging membership can be an effective way to connect with local EV owners while sending a strong message about your core values.

Consider your existing customers and what promotions or specials they tend to prefer and examine how this same business model can be applied in promoting your EV charging stations.

Billing Model

Commercial EV charging can become a source of revenue if you decide to adopt a billing model. You can also offer free charging to get customers in the door or cover the cost of installation by charging a small fee for plugging in and create charging rates based on a per kWh rate.

You can go further by integrating charging into your loyalty program, offering a discounted charging rate for employees and preferred customers, or offering a charging subscription to generate repeat foot traffic.

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