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Powering Up Dealerships: Why Many Dealers Need More Power for EV Charging

Posted 08/01/2023

Automotive dealerships that sell electric vehicles (EVs) have a unique problem; most of them lack sufficient electrical power to charge many vehicles at once. These facilities were designed and built when internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles ruled the road, and they are usually not equipped with enough electrical infrastructure to handle a lot of EV charging. But with new requirements to add Level 2 and DC fast chargers at automotive dealerships, now dealership facility managers must face electrical upgrades to stay ahead. Here’s what you need to know about adding power to your dealership.

A Minnesotan story: How EV charging led to a new transformer

In a recent episode of Inside Automotive on CBT News, Blink customer Audi Minneapolis faced a new problem. When the dealership was exclusively selling ICE vehicles, it could rely on its gasoline storage facility to fuel its inventory. But, now that the dealership is selling EVs, they had to figure out how to draw enough power from the electrical grid to run the automotive dealership’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure. While many commercial properties can install a couple of chargers without extensive electrical upgrades, dealerships planning to install tens of Level 2 or DC fast chargers are likely to need more power. In fact, the company ended up having to get an electrical transformer installed to support all of the new chargers. The team at Audi Minneapolis had to rely on Blink’s expertise to help them determine their power needs and what would be the best and most cost-effective way to get that power.

How Blink helps dealerships

To make the transition from an ICE to an EV dealership as seamless as possible, it’s vital that dealerships choose the right EV charging company. As Blink’s Chief Revenue Officer Mike Battaglia recommended to Inside Automotive, look for companies with a lot of experience that understand the automotive dealership space, can provide you with transparent equipment costs upfront, and provide the necessary support for you to keep your EV charging equipment running. In a consultation, your Blink sales manager will discuss:

  • Your dealership size

  • Requirements from the original equipment manufacturer (OEM)

  • Your dealership’s budget

  • How much future-proofing you need

While each automaker has minimum requirements, many dealerships are future-proofing their facilities to prepare for the next decade. This means the dealerships are not only installing the EV charging equipment they require immediately, but also preparing the necessary infrastructure to quickly add more EV chargers in the future as EV adoption grows.

How to get started

Blink works with thousands of dealerships and has been approved by several OEMs as a preferred EV charging provider. Your dealership’s prep lot for customer delivery is a great application for direct current fast chargers, whereas charging lot inventory is a better application for Level 2 chargers where vehicles can sit overnight. If a dealership wants to provide the general public with charging options, an easy-to-use Level 2 charger with multiple payment options is ideal. A dealership can also opt to provide public DC fast charging.

Planning and Installing Your Chargers

The first step of your installation is a site assessment. Your facilities team, electrical contractor, and Blink sales manager will assess your site and determine your electrical needs. While Level 2 chargers are relatively easy to install, your new DC fast chargers will most likely require electrical upgrades, site work, and permitting. One of the benefits to working with Blink is that you can use your preferred electrical contractors. Ask your contractor about their experience with EV charging and local codes.

Blink’s customer support for dealerships

Transitioning a traditional automotive dealership to an EV dealership is a big undertaking that requires the dealership, the installation contractor, and the electricity company all working together. By working with the right partners, dealerships can make the transition seamless, affordable, and able to accommodate current and future charging needs. Is your dealership ready to make the transition? Contact Blink Charging today to start your site assessment and get pricing.

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