Should You Add Electric Vehicle Charging Stations To Your Facility?

There has been a bit of a debate in recently about the need for electric vehicle charging stations.  Should your business install them?  Electric vehicles are gaining in popularity, and it has been projected that 54% of all new cars sold will be electric by 2040.  As electric vehicle use grows, will having charging stations at your building be a necessity, or a courtesy?

In January 2018, San Francisco’s EV Readiness ordinance took effect.  It requires new commercial buildings to have sufficient electrical infrastructure to simultaneously charge vehicles in 20 percent of their parking spaces.  

It would seem that any business that is planning to upgrade their buildings electrical system would be wise to at least plan for adding electric vehicle charging stations at some point in the future.  

What Types Of Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Are Available?

electrical vehicle charging stationsThere are currently 3 levels of electric vehicle charging options available.  

Level 1 charging is simply plugging the car into a wall outlet.  All current Electric Vehicles have this option, and the cost is minimal to businesses who just need to run an outlet to a few parking spots.  This can usually be accomplished by adding the outlets to a few parking spots that are close to the building itself.  

Level 2 charging uses a special charging unit, and usually requires access to 240v service.  This is a much better charging system then level 1, but is also significantly more expensive.  Although off the shelf charging units typically cost around $500, a full commercial installation can cost several thousand dollars.  

Level 3 chargers are the top of the line charging units.  They can charge an electric vehicle 10 times faster then a level 2 charger.  But they come at a premium price.  Level 3 chargers can cost between $30,000 and $50,000 per unit and another $50,000 to install. 

Realistically, for most businesses, having two or three level 2 charging stations will be sufficient for now, and having the ability to add more later should be a necessity.  

Having electric vehicle charging stations at your facility is not just attractive to people with electric cars.  It is also attractive to people who are thinking of buying an electric vehicle and to people who prefer to do business with people who promote sustainability and eco-friendly options.  

In the long run, having electric vehicle charging stations may be a better publicity tool then an actual need.  After-all, the electric vehicle charging station craze started when many electric vehicles only went about 50 miles on a charge.  Now, most electric vehicles can go 150 miles on a charge, and there is no reason to believe that the cars will develop longer ranges (and less of a need for on the go charging) as time progresses.  However, many businesses may benefit from those new “customers” who are just looking for something to do while their car charges.  And, those couple employees with electric cars might be more productive if they aren’t wasting any time wondering if their car has enough of a charge to get home.