One of the most important steps to adding EV charging stations at a commercial property is the site assessment. The property manager, electrical contractor, and SemaConnect sales manager will look at the existing parking design and discuss where the new charging stations will go. But what happens during this site walk? Here are the four factors to consider when planning your commercial electric vehicle charging station installation.
Future Station Location
Determining the location of your electric vehicle charging stations is the first step. First you’ll need to ask yourself, “What kind of parking structure do I have?” Because your charging stations will require electricity, you’ll want to choose a location that has easy access to a power source. For a surface lot, that means you want your stations near a building. For a parking garage, you’ll want to group your stations aboveground.
When you install a smart charging station, your stations need a cell signal to communicate with a smart network. The smart network is essential if you want your drivers to pay for electricity, or if you want to control access to your stations. If you are installing charging stations in a parking garage or somewhere with unreliable cell communications, you’ll want to test for 4G LTE in the exact spot where your stations will be installed. If it turns out that your preferred location has poor cell signal, you’ll need a cellular booster to help your stations communicate.
Installation itself is the most expensive part of an Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) installation. Your electrical contractor will want to look at your existing infrastructure to see what upgrades your property needs. If your property is a new building in an area that requires “Make Ready” infrastructure on new developments, you may already have a stub-out at your property. All you’d need to do is plug your new SemaConnect charging station into the existing plug. If you do not already have existing charging infrastructure, however, your contractor will check to see if your electrical panel and transformer are ready for charging stations. If you are already at capacity, you may need to make electrical upgrades.
Finally, when planning your EV charging stations, you’ll want to consider the possible sitework. How will you get electricity from your panel to your stations? Choosing a site far away from your electrical room means more trenching through landscape, asphalt, or concrete. Will you need to add wheelstops? Will your new charging stations affect your painting or ADA-accessible ramps? Ask your contractor and city officials to learn about your local permitting laws.
There are many factors involved in planning electric vehicle charging stations at a commercial property. In order to minimize costs and ensure the best charging experience for your drivers, you want to choose a charging station location that has easy access to electricity, does not require extensive sitework, and can reliably receive a 4G cell signal. The most expensive part of an EVSE installation is the infrastructure- electrical upgrades, trenching, ramps, and bollards. This is why many state and utility incentives for commercial properties reimburse property owners for the stub-out. As you budget for your new charging stations, be sure to ask your electrical contractor and SemaConnect sales manager about your property’s readiness for new EV charging amenities.
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