U.S. electric vehicle sales increased 45% from the twelve-month period from July 2016 through June 2017 and the U.S. surpassed 50,000 electric vehicle charging stations. According to the Electric Vehicle Charge Association’s State of the Charge report, the global EV charging infrastructure market is expected to reach $45 billion by 2025.
This rapid growth presents an opportunity for commercial building owners to attract customers by offering charging stations. According to a study by EV Obsession, approximately 60% of EV owners have a household income over $100,000 (the median in the U.S. is approximately $53,000) – a target consumer for many retail locations. Companies such as Whole Foods, which recently partnered with the charging network EVgo in California, have been adding EV charging stations are their retail locations.
Our guide to commercial EV charging options includes advice on equipment, partnership options, and consumer considerations.
|Name and Amp Rating||Type||# of Chargers||Chord Length||Mount||Special Features|
|ChargepointChargePoint CT4021-GW1 EV Level 2 Electric Vehicle Charging Station Double Port Bollard Mount (Gateway)||Level 2||2||18 ft||Standalone||Gateway (connected unit), LCD Screen with custom content, robust cord retraction|
|Schneider Electric(EVlink 30 Amp Level-2 Outdoor Dual Unit Pedestal Electric Vehicle Charging Station with RFID Access)||Level 2||2||18 ft||Standalone||RFID Access charging (control authorized users with cards), LED charging lights,|
|Aerovironment Dual Pedestal 32 Amp Level 2 EV Charging Stations with 25 ft. Cable||Level 2||2||25 ft||Standalone||Weather resistant with polished look|
|Schneider DC Quick SCHNEIDER ELECTRIC EVLINK™ DC QUICK CHARGER||DC Fast||1||18 ft||Standalone||RFID Access charging (control authorized users with cards)|
|Bosch Bosch 25kW DC Fast Charger||DC Fast||2||NA||Either||277Vac single phase input for easy installation,|
|Delta Delta EV Wallbox DC Fast Charger 25kW 480v 3-Phase RFID Networked Commercial Charging Station – Dual CCS And CHAdeMO Connectors||DC Fast||2||NA||Wallmount||High-contrast OLED screen interface|
|Chargepoint CHARGEPOINT CPE-200 DC QUICK CHARGER||DC Fast||2||18 ft||Standalone||Only liquid cooled DC fast charger on the market|
There are numerous options for EV chargers for business and it is important to take into account your goals before committing to a significant EV charger investment. There are opportunities to attract customers without spending a fortune.
Level of Charger
EV chargers come in three levels that dictate how fast they can charge a car. Level 1 (120V and 3-5 miles per hour of charging), Level 2 (240V – 10-20 miles per hour of charging), and Level 3 or DC fast-charge (100 miles+ per hour of charging). The best level of charger for a commercial location is based on the typical dwell time, or how much time a customer spends at a location. A hotel or office building could get by with a Level 1 in which customers could reach a full charge while they sleep or work for ~8 hours. A shopping mall or other retail outlet where consumers spend 2-3 hours could use a Level 2. A DC fast charging station may be more appropriate for convenience or grocery stores. Even with these chargers, there are several options.
- 120 Volt Outlet – All electric vehicles come with cords that plugin into a standard outlet (U.S. residences have 120V outlets) and one option is to run one of these outlets to a few parking spots and add an EV charging sign. This will be slow for customers, but will only cost a $100 or so for installation.
- 240 Volt Outlet – Most electric car owners, including all Tesla owners, have a charging cord for a NEMA 14-50R outlet (similar to what a dryer plugs into) and adding one of these outlets will satisfy a large segment of EV owners. Aeroenvironment sells a TurboCord specifically for this situation. These outlets will only cost $200 to install and require no additional equipment.
- 240 Volt Outlet with Level 2 EVSE – Another option is to install a NEMA 14-50R outlet and a Level 2 EVSE. This will increase the convenience for customers and visibility of the charging station at a manageable cost ($2,000 for the equipment and installation). Based on our reviews of Level 2 chargers, we recommend the Siemens Versicharge if you decide to use this option. If you Target Tesla customers, you can also install one of their chargers.
- DC Fast Charging – DC fast-charging is best for roadside stops or gas stations in which drivers want to only stop for 30 minutes. These stations use DC current vs. the other options which use AC current and then convert it to DC power onboard the vehicle. These charging stations can cost between $20,000 and $30,000 for the equipment and the installation (which will require more complex electric work), so it is best to considering one of the EV charger networks or partnering with a utility to reduce the cost.
Network or Non-Network
There are several large networks of EV charging stations and consumers become members of these networks to receive discounts and access to these stations. These networks offer different models for businesses – the network can own and maintain the equipment and receive all revenue, the commercial owner can share in the revenue or the commercial owner can own the equipment outright and pay a network maintenance fee. If you plan on offering the charging free to consumers than non-network is the easiest route. But if you want to charge consumers, need to connect to a utility incentive program or want DC fast charging without the upfront investment, it is worth reaching out to one of these networks.
- Chargepoint – Chargepoint is the largest open EV charging network with over 38,000 charging stations worldwide and recently raising over $300 million for expansion. Chargepoint also recently acquired nearly 10,000 charging stations from GE. Chargepoint is the only network to also offer a residential EV charger.
- EVgo – EVgo was previously owned by NRG Energy, a large utility, but was acquired by a private equity firm Vision Ridge Partners in 2016. evGo has partnerships with automakers including Nissan, BMW, and Ford and operates over 665 fast chargers at the time of the announcement.
- Blink – The Blink network includes over 4,000 charging stations in the U.S.
- Tesla – The Tesla charging network includes over 1,000 Supercharger stations.
- SemaConnect – SemaConnect is one of the larger network in North America.
Free of Charge or Paid
Many of the charging stations in the U.S. are free and depending on the fit with your customer base, the installation costs can be more than offset by increased traffic and sales. Offering free charging can also increase the convenience for your customers as network access and cards are not required.
If you decide to offer free charging, you want to be weary of people taking advantage of the free service and overstaying the visit. One way to get around this is to offer only the first hour of charging for free or communicating some basic etiquette. Another way to deter this behavior is to not put your EV charger stations in the best parking locations.