Installing electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at a workplace or multi-unit development provides many benefits. For workplaces, charging stations can attract/retain employee talent. For apartments or condo complexes, charging stations can generate income.
Once installed, chargers operate nearly autonomously with very little overnight needed by management. EV drivers simply pull up to the stall, swipe an RFID card (if a smart charger), plug in, and carry on with their day. All of the billing is seamlessly handled by the charging network.
But before the chargers are installed, someone had to oversee the construction project. Specifically, an individual, or team of people, had to determine how many chargers are needed, coordinate with the design team to get the construction plans and permit, bid and contract with the charging equipment vendor and contractor, schedule and oversee the installation, commission the charger and cloud portal, and, finally, train staff or residents on how to use the station.
All of this takes a lot of time. This is amplified if the project manager has never coordinated an EV charging station install before. There are many new terms and products to learn. Additionally, the whole process is likely the project manager’s first time carrying through. As such, there is quite a bit of a learning curve.
Since time is money, it is a good idea to outsource this one-off project to someone who has the knowledge and experience of installing EV charging stations. Someone who has done the job before is 99% more likely to do the job quickly and efficiently that will save both time and money than someone who has never coordinated an EV charging station installation before.
Unfortunately, asking an electrician to do the whole job is likely not going to go as well as it could. Electricians, unless specialized in EVs, likely do not have the thorough experience of EVs and may not provide the best design input, know what incentives or rebates are available, or are familiar with the different charging equipment (there are dozens).
It would be like asking your dentist to put braces on your teeth. They might be able to, but things would go a lot more smoother if the right person for the job did it.
Instead, work with an EV charging consultant to get the job done right. An EV charging consultant knows nearly everything there is to know about electric cars and charging. As an expert in EVs, an EV consultant will know which charging equipment is best suited for your workplace or multi-unit development, how many charging stations you need now and for the future, design techniques to cut cost, and much more.
In fact, here are 9 ways working with an EV charging consultant can save you time and money:
- Charging Equipment
- Location of Chargers
- Architect/Engineer Acquisition
- Charging Equipment Acquisition
- Contractor Acquisition
- Number of Plugs, Stations
- EV Charging Host and User Training
1. Charging Equipment (Time + Money)
The first way working with an EV charging consultant can save you time and money is by assistance in selecting the right charging equipment. As aforementioned, there are dozens of EV charging equipment manufacturers such as Chargepoint or Blink. Each product have their own price points and features. Some are suitable for workplaces or offices, while others are best for apartments. It all really depends on the specific site.
An EV charging consultant will know which charging equipment is best suited for your project. By selecting the correct charger, you can potentially save thousands of dollars by not getting a charger with features you don’t need.
Additionally, an EV charging consultant can recommend a charger that can facilitate both the needs of today as well as tomorrow. This future-proofing will definitely save thousands as when the time comes to add more chargers it can be easily achieved through the flexibility of the charger and design.
There is no need to research all the different charging manufacturers as the EV consultant has already done this for you and knows which one is right for the job.
2. Location of Chargers (Money)
As they say in real estate, “location, location, location”. The same holds true for charging stations. It is very critical to install the chargers in ideal locations. This may include, but not limited to, easy driver/user access, near the electrical panel, near the accessible path of travel (for ADA compliance), or in a well lit area for night charging sessions.
Additionally, it is best to group chargers in pairs and in clusters. This design technique enables the usage of as many dual-port chargers as possible. Through this optimization, total cost will be lower as dual-port chargers are much more cost effective than single-port.
An EV charging consultant can review the design to ensure all of these points are taken into consideration. With experience in plan review, an EV consultant cna quickly advise on the best locations, which will overall lead to less total cost. This may not seem like a critical point, however, once the chargers are installed it is very expensive to relocate them.
3. Architect/Engineer Acquisition (Time + Money)
There are three third-party roles in the EV charging project (four if you count an EV charging consultant). These three parties are an architect/engineer, a charging equipment vendor, and a contractor. In efforts to reduce total cost as much as possible, it is best to shop around.
The third way working with an EV charging consultant can save you time and money is by assistance on acquiring the architect/engineer team. This cost is highly subjective as is varies from firm to firm. The scope of work is usually fairly straightforward, however, the design cost will vary firm to firm.
An EV consultant will not only help draft the request for proposal (RFP), but also assist in the bid review and award process. Normally, this process can take some time. Finding an architect/engineer that is familiar with EV building codes will take a bit of an effort. Fortunately, an EV consultant has several architects/engineers in their arsenal and can quickly procure construction drawings ready for a permit.
4. Charging Equipment Acquisition (Time + Money)
If procuring an architect/engineer requires some effort, finding a charging equipment vendor will take even longer. Encountering with a charger vendor is typically the first time you have ever done so. Even more, it is likely that you will need to research a few names as they are fairly unknown to the general public.
Furthermore, each charging vendor has their own line of products. Each of these chargers vary in features as mentioned above. Selecting the correct vendor at the best cost will take experience.
This is another area where an EV charging consultant can help. As with the architect/engineer, an EV consultant will be able to help with the acquisition of the charging equipment vendor.
As a professional in the industry, an EV consultant is well versed in the charging OEMs and will quickly know the approximate cost of each vendor and which type of charger is best suited for the job. In short, this will save both time and money.
5. Contractor Acquisition (Time + Money)
The last of the three third-parties is the contractor. This cost varies wildly based on location and scope of work. Depending on the job, this cost can range from a few hundred per charger to a few thousand. For example, if a panel upgrade, significant trenching, asphalt and concrete cut and patch are required, then the total install cost will, therefore, be higher than typical. If there is easy access to the electrical panel and limited site work, then the cost will be, of course, cheaper.
Furthermore, each contractor will have their own costs than vary company to company. While the scope of work may be objective, the contractor’s fee is subjective. Therefore, shopping around is a good way to cut costs.
And as with the architect/engineer and charger vendor, an EV consultant can save you hours of time and possibly thousands of dollars through the RFP, bid review, and award process. Less project time and less project cost are both very good things.
6. Rebates (Time + Money)
Installing new EV charging stations cost around $3,000 to $8,000 each (including the equipment, site work, and installation). This cost is highly subjective to the equipment, site work, electrical panel work, contractor, and much more.
Fortunately, there are many different rebate programs available to help reduce the total cost. These rebates vary in amount and eligibility.
In most cases, these rebates can provide around 30-70% of the total cost!
However, a lot of these rebate programs have various strings attached. Some programs require the site to be in a low-income area while others cap funding to a certain amount per charger.
In any case, these rebates are provided by various government agencies or entities such as the state, local municipality, electric utility company, or local air district. Additionally, these EV charging incentive programs are usually buried in websites and/or require a series of paperwork in order to be awarded.
That is where an EV consultant can help save both time and money. An EV consultant is familiar with these programs, where to find them, how to determine if the project is eligible, and how to apply to them.
This can save staff many, many hours of time! Like any rebate, it will take a very long time to fully complete the process, especially if you have never completed an EV rebate application before. An EV consultant completes these rebates on a regular basis and can complete all eligible applications much more quickly than anyone else.
Furthermore, an EV consultant can ensure you will receive the maximum amount of rebates available. It would be a shame if you and your business did not apply to all available rebates. Again, an EV consultant knows where to find these programs and knows which projects are eligible, therefore, can quickly determine how much total rebates the EV charging installation project qualifies for.
7. Permits (Time)
Installing EV charging stations requires pulling a permit with the local jurisdiction. In addition to the electrical component, there may be other site work and accessibility requirements (ADA) required. Through the permitting process, the whole project scope is finaled for construction.
While sometimes sluggish, the permitting process is a due diligence process to protect the public from any safety concerns and to uphold development and construction standards.
Navigating through plan check requires careful attention to detail, continuous follow up, and coordination with the design team (architect/engineer). It is important to identify a lead on the permitting process. This can be the owner, design team, or an EV consultant. Whoever is taking lead, must be familiar with the process and applicable building codes.
Here is an example of an EV charging station permit application from the City of Cambell, California.
In efforts to reduce design costs, an EV consultant can take lead in the permitting process. An EV consultant is usually cheaper per hour than the architect or engineer, therefore, can save the owner money. By shifting tasks from an architect or engineer to an EV consultant, the owner can expect to save money. Of course, not all tasks can be completed by an EV charging consultant such as electrical load calculations.
Moreover, an EV consultant specializes EV related matters, including applicable EV codes. An EV consultant will not only be able to provide design review prior to plan check, but also navigate permitting as it pertains to charging stations.
Parts of the building code that relate to EVs include, but not limited to:
- Accessible parking to the charging station
- Accessible path of travel from the charging station to the building entrance
- Accessible charging station requirements
- Minimum electrical circuit requirements
- Minimum number of future stations
- Minimum number of installed stations
- Parking signage and striping requirements
Of course, each state adopts a different set of building codes, therefore, each of these requirements vary state to state. In some cases, each municipality adopts additional requirements and may include EV charging stations provisions.
8. Number of Plugs, Stations (Time + Money)
This is usually one of the first questions asked when planning EV charging stations: how many chargers do I need? Without experience, tackling this question may seem like a shot in the dark.
An unfortunate situation would be if too few chargers are installed leaving some employees or residents unable to charge. Likewise, installing too many charging stations might leave charging stations unused for a long time leaving unnecessary software costs.
Fortunately, an EV consultant services include assistance on determining how many plugs are needed for both the needs of today and tomorrow.
As an expert in EV charging, an EV consultant knows how to handle current charging demand as well as planning for future needs. Through questionnaires, interviews, and an understanding of the progress of the EV market, an EV consultant will be able to help determine how many stations are needed.
It is crucial to plan for both today’s needs as well as tomorrow’s. If more charging stations are needed later, it is much cheaper to install that capacity and infrastructure during today’s install rather than undoing or redoing previously completed work.
Lastly, an EV consultant can recommend certain charging equipment that include load management systems, which will save the owner from future upgrade costs. This feature can easily adapt for the future needs without requiring significant electrical infrastructure upgrades.
In short, a load management system can provide power to multiple chargers without needing to upgrade the circuit, breaker, or electrical panel. Or in other words, a load management system is like a smart power strip.
9. EV Charging Host and User Training (Time)
The last of the 9 advantages to working with an EV charging consultant is EV charging host and user training. If the equipment is part of a smart or managed system, that is connected to a charging network via the internet, then there is a little training for the host (owner) and the user (EV driver).
Each networked charger has their own online portal where the host can monitor charger status, charging activity, pricing schedules, electricity usage, and much more. It is important for the host to be familiar with this portal so if any changes or maintenance is needed, the host can quickly resolve the issue.
If a charger is not functioning properly, it is imperative that the problem is fixed as quickly as possible so that the EV drivers can continue their charging sessions. This is even more important for stations that require payment. When the charger station is inactive, that means no revenue can be generated until the issue is resolved.
Additionally, while most EV drivers are familiar with charging networks and their RFID cards or apps, new EV drivers will not be. Unlike the gas station, EVs are very much focused on smart technology. Drivers can simply access, monitor, and pay for networked chargers via their smartphone.
An EV charging consultant can educate and walk through the host and user through the entire process. Since an EV consultant is experienced with several charging networks, they will be able to guide the host and user throughout the whole procedure and help them troubleshoot any issues.
With proper education and training, user experience will remain high and charger downtime will stay low. This of course saves everyone time and can even save money!
Installing EV charging stations take a lot of time and experience to see through. As detailed above, there are a lot of roles and steps to get the chargers installed. Missteps along the way will lead to additional cost, delayed schedule, and, potentially, missed opportunities or expectations.
That is where an EV charging consultant like Charged Future comes into play. As a professional in the world of EV charging, Charged Future can serve as the project manager throughout the entire process. As the project manager, we can coordinate all the third parties involved, oversee the planning and design, traverse the permitting process, search and apply to all available rebates, train the hose and users, and much more.
Of course, you or your business can serve as the project manager, however, without proper experience, there is a good chance that the job will not go as smoothly as if working with an EV consultant. For a small fee, Charged Future can save you time and money and eliminate the risks.
You can learn more about our professional services here.
To see how we can help you with your EV charging station project, schedule a free consultation today! We’ll go over how we can help you get EV charging stations installed at your business as quickly and cost effectively as possible!
Hi there! I’m the founder and project manager at Charged Future: the EV charging consultancy. Charged Future helps businesses achieve their EV charging goals. Specifically, I serve as the project manager for your EV charging project, which can save you both time and money! Additionally, I can search and apply to all eligible rebate applications, which can typically cover a large portion of the project cost.