Once a facility has decided to install EVSE, they usually try to find the least expensive route. It may not be clear to facilities managers that location of the equipment has a great deal to do with the overall price of installation. How close to the power source the equipment is and whether spots are easy to find can determine how quickly a charger is profitable. Follow our advice on the best spots to locate charging stations and installation will be a breeze.
Sites can vary in cost immensely based on the equipment’s proximity to a power source. According to the City of Boston’s EVSE installation guide, “in general, the closer that the EVSE is to the power source, the less expensive the installation will cost.”
Trenching (digging through floor material to place wires connecting the equipment to the power source) is expensive and damaging to the site. Trenching outdoors through dirt is the least expensive form of trenching, but digging up black top, or worst of all, the floor of a parking garage, is pricey and can cause additional issues, such as instability of the building materials. Trenching can be done if necessary but prevent as much as possible by getting the equipment close to the power source.
EVSE requires dedicated electrical circuitry. A circuit is a completed loop of electrical current that begins at the power source, runs through the equipment, and returns to the power source. Conduits cover the circuit wires and protect them from water, exposure, heat, ice and damage. The price of the conduits will vary depending on how long they have to be. Keep in mind permitting requirements and never install in flood zones or anywhere with poor drainage.
Blink installation experts will assess the electrical panel to make sure it can support EVSE. If your panel is borderline, it may be a good idea to update the panel. In fact, consider planning for future expansion during your installation now! Consider oversizing your breaker panel and your conduit now for more chargers and more circuits than you currently need. It will make expansion much easier and less expensive later.
Most facility managers also want to choose spots that are highly visible to customers. Most EV spaces are just inside the garage, near elevators, or in another place grouped together. If EV spaces and handicapped spaces are near each other, make sure painting and signage are completely clear. Convenience and visibility must be weighed against getting the spots close to the power source. Be certain all EVSE spots meet ADA standards.
Be sure EV parking spots are for charging only. They are not parking spots. Blink can assist you with making sure charging spots are used only for charging and making sure users move their cars after they’re charged. Certainly not all customers, but some will leave their cars in the spots all day because it’s not convenient to return to the garage. If customers do not move their cars in busy locations, occupancy fees begin to apply.
Highly visible spots are easier for customers to find and are likely to gather greater revenue than hidden spots that are hard to find.
Painting and Signs
Part of making spaces visible, each spot should be marked with paint and any signs regarding usage. Any signs required by local government or utilities should be placed near the spots. Symbols can include a car charging, or a giant E. Paint should be green. Never use blue, as that is the same color used for handicapped spots.
Signs letting the public know about your charger should be inside and outside the garage. Blink features wrap-around ads on for the equipment itself. Locating your chargers in spots where signs and symbols are obvious will create more revenue and cut down on confusion.
Check Local, State, and Federal Credits and Discounts
Always check federal, state, and local tax initiatives and rebates to see if you can get money back for your purchase; it would be unusual for a facility not to be able to take advantage of incentives of some kind. Federal initiatives generally cover 30% of the cost. Some state programs offer big discounts, which in many cases, can be combined. Check out evcharging for rebates by state. EnergyStar Certified chargers can also save up to 40% of the electricity that would be used by a standard charger.
Following a few basic guidelines will make your charger profitable faster and cost you far less out of pocket.