As the number of electric vehicles (EVs) on the road continues to rise, more consumers are looking for convenient ways to charge them. And two of the main places they’re looking are where they work and where they shop.
That means businesses that want to stay ahead in attracting top talent and maintaining a steady stream of customers have a new perk to think about: EV charging stations. There are already many benefits to adding a place for your employees and customers to charge, but before long it will simply be a nonnegotiable.
If the time has come for businesses to add charging stations to their parking lots, many owners will be asking the obvious question: How much does a charging station cost? The answer depends on many factors, but we’re here to help you sort them out.
Consider the Cost of Not Installing EV Charging Stations
Before you start tallying the costs of electric car charging stations, it’s obviously important to look at how the project will impact your bottom line. Equally critical to consider, though, is what it will cost you not to do it.
“The opportunity cost is just too high. Not taking action or at least planning to incorporate charging infrastructure is a huge miss,” says Rob Sham, director of sales and sales operations for EV Connect.
On one hand, those opportunity costs come in the form of forfeited benefits. If you don’t have chargers available, you’re losing credibility with a growing base of EV users that want the convenience of charging at work or while they shop. But they also come in the form of trading today’s known quantities for future unknowns.
For instance, Sham notes that subsidies for installing electric vehicle charging stations are likely to change in the future. They may go up, or the requirements for getting them may become more stringent. Some utility providers are already requiring a 10-year commitment to qualify for subsidies. Failure to act today likely means higher costs down the road, and you have to weigh that cost against what you’ll pay out if you act now instead of waiting.
An Overview of Electric Car Charging Station Costs
When you’re trying to find out the cost of electric car charging stations, it’s important to know the various elements that contribute to your total expenses. Much will depend on your unique business needs and situation.
The biggest cost differentiator will be whether you want standard level 2 chargers or DC fast chargers (DCFC) for your business. As Sham explains, a level 2 charger will typically cost between $800 and $7,000 per charger, while DCFCs can range anywhere from $30,000 to $200,000 each. Determining what’s right for your business will depend on your size and the needs of your employees and customers.
Beyond the charging units themselves, you’ll need to consider installation costs, which can also vary considerably. These can include:
Expanding your existing electrical service panel if needed
Running trenches and cabling underneath the existing parking lot
Adding transformers or other electrical service upgrades
Engineering review and drawings
Permitting and inspection
Signage and lighting
Ensuring you meet Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements
You may not need all these services. For instance, your electrical panel may not need any additional work and the site may already have the needed infrastructure. In that case, you may only spend a few thousand dollars on installation. But that can change drastically if you require more work.
“If you need new electrical service to your property from your utility, if you need a new transformer, or if you need all this heavy-duty hardware, then your cost could go into five or six figures, depending on the scope of your project,” Sham says.
The good news is that EV Connect can help you navigate all of these questions and get a firm idea of how much your car charging stations will cost before you move forward with your project. We can also help you find ways to keep these costs as manageable as possible.
Ways To Mitigate Costs
Because these costs can vary so widely, Sham notes that it’s critical to start your EV charging installation with a full and clear scope of work. That will help you plan well and keep your costs down wherever possible. Whether you’re looking for more direct savings or more creative avenues, planning for both up front will help you save the most in the long run.
Look for Straightforward Savings
Some of the biggest factors in electric car charging stations costs are simple: location and quantity.
In terms of location, the closer you can put your charging stations to the electrical panel, the less it will cost you. When you don’t have to dig up as much of your parking lot and run more conduit underneath it, this will save you substantially.
Quantity isn’t quite as simple, but your per-station cost tends to decrease as you install more stations. However, Sham notes that this is true only to a certain degree. There are various inflection points as you scale up the project, and the cost per station jumps up at each of those points. The goal is to find the right quantity to match how much charging infrastructure you can afford to add so you can keep your per-station cost as efficient as possible.
Finally, there are government and utility subsidies. Be careful here, though, as not all subsidies fit every project. If you carefully plan out your project and have a clear idea of the scope of work, that will also help you determine which subsidies best fit your plan.
Explore Creative Partnerships
Beyond those straightforward ways to save, you can explore more creative options through partnerships. Start with your facilities management to see if there is room on the existing panel. But, beyond that, you can discuss ways to share the cost with your landlord.
“There are benefits to that from the owner’s perspective,” Sham says. “Property value increases and they may be able to charge higher rent or different lease terms.”
You can think even more creatively than that, though. Depending on what EV charging partner you choose, you may be able to shift the project entirely from a capital expense to an operational one.
Some EV charging vendors offer a revenue-sharing model, in which there is zero direct cost to the business. The company installs and owns the stations, then shares a small position of any revenue with you in exchange for using the space in your parking lot and the electricity from your facility. This can be attractive to some business owners who want to have the perk of having the stations without dealing with any of the details. However, Sham notes that you’re trading away ownership and control if you go that route.
Instead of a revenue share model, EV Connect is pursuing a different way of helping businesses keep costs manageable. We have already launched EV Connect Shield, which rolls all the ongoing costs of operations and maintenance into one premium warranty to provide peace of mind for our customers.
We’re going even further with our next launch, our EVCaaS (charging-as-a-service) program. This option will roll everything — site planning, installation, equipment and maintenance — into one simple monthly subscription. You don’t need to worry about any capital expenses up front because you can spread everything out into long-term operational expenses.
Let EV Connect Help You Plan Your EV Charging Project
Electric car charging stations cost a lot of money to install and maintain. However, like with any investment, this initial expense will yield big dividends in the long run. You don’t have to figure out all the details for yourself, either. Reach out today to learn how EV Connect can help you plan this important project and prepare your business for the EV economy.
U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) – Costs Associated With Non-Residential Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment