When installing electric vehicle (EV) charging equipment at your automotive dealership, there is a lot to consider. And, considering that the EV market in the United States is projected to be worth just under $140 billion by 2027, now is the right time to install charging equipment. First, your location will need to undergo a site assessment, and once that is done, you’ll need to choose the best EV charging equipment for your dealership. When you’ve got all that in place, it’s time to choose your installer, and for that, you have a few options for selecting the right electrician.
How to Choose a Contractor
Option 1. Ask your Blink representative
Not sure who to call? Ask your Blink sales manager for a recommendation. We work with electricians and installers who already have experience installing Blink charging stations. We are happy to recommend a contractor in your area who has all the necessary qualifications and experience installing Blink Charging electric vehicle charging equipment.
Option 2. Hire your own contractor
While you can use an installer recommended by your Blink sales manager, you are not required to do so! Many of our customers choose to use the commercial electrician who already performs work elsewhere onsite. There are some specific criteria you should look for when hiring a contractor to install EV charging equipment.
What to Look for in an EV Charging Station Installer
Here are a few things to consider when choosing your contractor.
How knowledgeable is this installer about EV charging stations?
First of all, your electrician must be a certified electrician. Your new equipment should not be installed by someone who is unlicensed.
Secondly, ask your electrician if they have completed the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Training Program (EVITP) certification. This program trains electricians in “site assessment, load calculations, National Electric Code, jobsite safety, personal protection equipment, and other installation and maintenance best practices.” If your dealership is taking advantage of any public funding programs, you may be required to hire a team that includes at least one EVITP-certified electrician. Some projects may require at least 25% of the team to be EVITP-certified.
The EVITP website has a tool to find certified EV installation contractors by state.
How experienced is this installer with EV charging stations?
It’s not absolutely necessary for an electrical contractor to have previous experience installing EV charging equipment, as long as they are licensed (or certified) to do so. But if you have a choice between a contractor who has some experience with this type of installation, it may be better to go with the one who has done it before.
Does this installer know local codes and permitting?
Finally, your contractor should be well versed in the various permits that are required for the installation. These vary by state or municipality, so they will need to know what permits are needed in your specific region. While Level 2 stations may be considered a commercial appliance, DC fast chargers typically require additional paperwork and permitting with your city and/or local utility.
In addition to permits, there is also Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance to consider. Some regions require a certain percentage of EV spots to be ADA accessible or do not allow wheel stops/bollards at ADA spots, which may impact your project.
While a properly certified electrician will obviously be able to help you with the installation of the charging equipment itself, you may also require the services of other contractors.
For example, your equipment may require a cement pad to be poured, it may require the installation of bollards and other security measures, and it may require some parking lot painting work or signage installation.
All of these potential needs will be addressed during Blink’s site assessment of your dealership.
Money-Saving Tips for Dealerships
There are a few “tricks” you can use to keep costs down for your EV charging equipment installation, and during your site assessment we will point out all the money-saving tips we can.
Locate stations close to the power source
One way to cut down on installation costs is to install your chargers as close to the power source as possible, as this will minimize the length of trenching and conduits needed. Pulling power from a nearby electrical room, for example, will generally be a less expensive alternative to installing a new meter and service from a nearby utility transformer.
Utilize load management
Another cost saving trick is to take advantage of load management. Instead of having each charger on a separate circuit, you can have multiple chargers on the same circuit if those chargers use load management. This smart power feature allows you to divide power among all the chargers currently using the circuit.
So, if you have four chargers on a single 40 amp circuit, and only one of those chargers is in use, that charger will be able to pull from the full 40 amps available. If someone else comes along and plugs in, the available power for each charger then becomes 20 amps. If another vehicle plugs in, the available power gets divided again, and so on.
Plan for future expansion
The amount of EVs on the road is only going to increase, which means the amount of charging equipment you need is also likely going to increase in the future. With some states and many OEMs planning to phase out internal combustion engine vehicles, pretty soon, your dealership will be 100% EV.
That’s why it pays to prepare for future EV charging equipment installation today. Upgrading your electrical equipment and running conduits now will reduce your final installation costs later when you’re ready to add more charging stations.
Installing EV charging equipment can be used to earn environmental accreditation for your business, such as LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification or carbon credits. LEED certification can help you receive tax breaks for your business, while carbon credits may be a source of revenue if you can sell your unused credits to other businesses.
Whether you get a contractor recommendation from Blink, or you decide to find a contractor on your own, having your EV charging equipment installed by a certified electrician who also holds EVITP certification is imperative for the safe installation and operation of EV charging equipment at your automotive dealership.
Ready to get started with EV charging at your dealership? Contact a Blink Charging sales manager to schedule a consultation.