EV Charging Stations – What you need to know
As the nation transitions to a more energy efficient and self-sustaining environment, electric vehicles are taking center stage. While electric vehicle (EV) charging stations (also called electric vehicle supply equipment – or EVSE) are readily available in most states, the expected growth factor is tremendous as more laws are put into place to support a greener earth. When companies select EV charging station suppliers, there are a number of considerations including accessories, installations, and locations. When companies are ready to make a commitment to new and ever-increasing trends for electric vehicles, a third-party electrical provider can offer the knowledge and support for successful and energy-efficient options.
What is an EV Charging Station
For first-time electric car consumers and companies that have already purchased electric vehicles, these vehicles obviously require an electrical outlet charge rather than gasoline (or fuel) to operate. This electrical charge is acquired at an EV charging station—in lieu of a traditional gas station. The charger involved in an electric vehicle is located in the vehicle’s battery. The EV charging station itself is literally a machine that supplies electric energy in order to charge plug-in electric vehicles comprised of cars, trucks, buses and more.
What Are the Benefits of Electric Vehicles?
Electric vehicles (electric cars) existed as early as 1828 according to the Energy.gov article entitled, The History of the Electric Car, but today’s more efficient models were manufactured in the late 1990s and have continually improved over the years. There are various type of electric cars including plug-in electric models and hybrid models (that also have the option for gasoline). The Prius was actually the first of the mass-produced hybrids, released worldwide in 2000. There are a number of benefits in operating electric vehicles:
- reduce carbon emissions by using electricity in lieu of fuel
- no oil changes required
- repair the vehicle by plugging it in and pressing a system update button
- save dollars on gasoline and avoid fluctuating gas hikes
- instant torque
- excellent acceleration and deceleration
- expert handling, ride, and responsiveness
- shown to have less rollovers than traditional vehicles during crashes
Electric vehicle models have continued to expand and improve. In fact, Tesla is on the leading edge of electric vehicle technology for 2021, with some of the best EPA ranges and efficiency ratings.
According to PolicyAdvice, there are 5.6 million electric vehicles on the road today worldwide, with an increase from 3.4 million in 2018 to 5.6 million in 2021. They predict a compound annual growth rate of 38% by 2024, and 58% in electric car sales by 2040.
How Does An EV Charging Station Work?
Most electric cars are sold with a 120-volt charge cord (or a Level 1 charger). This 120-volt charge cord plugs into an ordinary electrical outlet to provide 4-5 miles of battery life after only an hour of charging. Since that charge rate is typically not expedient for EV owners, they want to acquire a more efficient EV charging station. The charging station itself is called a Level 2 charger—one that uses a powerful 240-volt outlet. This EV charging station is capable of charging at twice the speed.
Considerations for An EV Charging Station Service Provider
With the popularity of electric vehicle charging, there are many charging station products and providers coming on the market at a time when start-ups and inexperienced companies can get in on the action. For large-fleet companies, shipping providers, mail services, power companies, and others seeking to offer EV charging stations and associated accessories, it is recommended that reputable providers are involved. There is an extensive list of EV charging station considerations that can be used to set apart a trusted company from a non-trusted company for EV charging station sales and services:
- Level of Electricity. Generally, higher volts, amps or kilowatts means added electricity for an EV charging station, but your understanding of these terms as it relates to the level of electricity is critical. Think of voltage as pressure, amps as flow rate, and kilowatts as power level. Most charging stations use amps as the measurement for how fast an electric vehicle will charge. Some examples to look for: 1) an output of 30 amps equates to about 30 miles of driving per hour of charging time, or 2) an output of 40 amps equates to about 40 miles of driving per hour of charging time. Look for an EV charging station with a minimum output of 30 amps.
- Storage Location. The application for electric vehicles determines the storage location for charging stations. Usage, convenience, and weather are some factors that impact this decision. Some EV charging stations are designed to be stored indoors while others have indoor/outdoor properties to accommodate various scenarios. Research the units to ensure they have outdoor functionality if needed. Outdoor charging stations often include plug and cord protection (in the form of a J1772 connector). Also ensure the unit’s outlets offer NEMA 3 or NEMA 4 enclosure ratings for the best weatherproofing.
- Plugged In Or Hard-Wired. There are two options for EV charging: one that plugs into a 240-volt wall outlet, and one that is hard-wired using an interior electrical connection. A plugged-in station is more portable and usually easier to replace. If business requirements demand it, this portable option allows stations that plug into outlets. By comparison, a hard-wired EV charging station can be used without installing a junction box and is often preferred for outdoor installations. Using an interior electrical connection can make a replacement more complicated.
- Internet Connectivity. EV charging stations are best managed from a manufacturer app in which Internet connectivity is required. This app allows remote starting, scheduling, and real-time reminders, to name a few. When time-of-use metering is required, an app can program charging to take place at the time of day when electricity is at the lowest cost. Ensure your installation location has a strong Internet signal. Note that some remote functions may be installed within the vehicle, so some charging station features may not be needed.
- Cabling to Suit. Most EV charging station manufacturers offer both 16 and 25 foot chargers. The length of cable is usually based on where your electric vehicle(s) are parked. Consider these simple questions: 1) where will your vehicles be charged? 2) what is the distance needed from the charging station to the vehicle outlet? In planning ahead, a 25 foot charger offers added mobility and could save a cable replacement cost or electrical work in the future if you expand your personal or business fleet. Electric cars are generally charged daily. Acquire the cabling lengths to suit every scenario.
- EV Charging Station Pricing. Expect to pay between $500 and $1,500 for the charging station alone, and then add the cost for expert consultation, accessories, added features, installation, electrical, and possibly maintenance. Pre-planning and selecting a full-scale provider up front that can accommodate every aspect of an EV charging station could save costs. In the long run, powering a charging station is more cost effective than the purchase of fuel.
- Government Tax Credits. A certified EV charging station provider and installer is aware of government tax credits, rebates and associated incentives. Many states are involved in special programs to help reduce emissions and are happy to offer deals for reducing related costs.
Locate a Qualified, Reputable Electrician
Consider one-stop shopping for electric vehicle charging stations. There is no need to contract with three or more vendors for charging station services and electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE). The advantages in finding a qualified electrician experienced in charging stations is that you also get expert consultation to align with your specific personal or business needs. For enterprise level shipping, packaging and mailing companies, a certified electrician is the best approach. Avoid the red tape, find out the city and state legal requirements, acquire consultation, and receive a thought-out strategy that works for you. Choose an experienced electrician that is familiar with the construction aspects of outlet installation, so your EV charging station setup is a success the first time!
Why Choose W. Bradley Electric for Your EV Charging Station Implementation
You want a provider that can handle the purchase, installation and infrastructure that goes along with EV charging stations! W. Bradley Electric, Inc. is a well-rounded electrical contractor with six divisions to meet your EV charging station implementation needs: electrical construction, telecommunications, security, audio visual, traffic/street lighting, and IT services. With W. Bradley Electric, you invest in a reputable technology provider with over 40 years of service. We stand behind a large-business philosophy with a small-business staff of over 300 employees along with a design/build/assist philosophy. We employ resources in all disciplines—electrical, telecommunications, network, security, audio visual and traffic—under one umbrella. We offer companies of every scale a seamless design for various EV charging station scenarios. Count on W. Bradley Electric for a sustainable future.