During a recent webinar, someone asked, “How does an EV charging station installation differ for new buildings versus existing structures?” It’s true – while the same SemaConnect commercial charging stations will be used for both types of projects, the cost and scope of the installation differs. Here are some of the ways that installing EV charging stations can differ between new construction and existing properties.
The best time to install new electric vehicle charging stations is always during construction or development. Your electrical contractor, architect, design, or construction team can plan the best location for your stations and build the necessary infrastructure from the start. Installing the electrical panel with enough available 240V circuits not just for the current job, but also for future expansion. Running extra conduit to the parking lot or structure now will save you money later when you want to add more stations. And because your parking is new, it is also easier to choose the location based on 4G cellular service, which you will need to control access, pricing, and reporting at your smart stations.
Existing buildings and structures can be a bit more complicated when it comes to locating and installing your charging stations. Before you do anything else, you will need to ensure that your electrical panel has circuits available for your stations. Because SemaConnect believes in offering drivers the best charging experience, which includes delivering full power to the vehicle, we typically recommend that installers install each charging station on its own 208/240V circuit. While property managers may use load management features within the SemaConnect Network to reduce energy to the stations, power sharing will lengthen your drivers’ charge times. If you are already at capacity, consider upgrading your electrical equipment or consulting local building codes before adding new stations.
After ensuring that your panel meets the requirements, you will want to choose the ideal location for your charging stations. To minimize costs, you will generally locate your stations close to your electrical room. You also want to make sure you have reliable cellular communications. Your contractor can quote your costs for trenching, electrical upgrades, cell signal booster, and any other site work that your project will require. And remember, now is the time to think about preparing the site for additional stations later down the road, so you don’t have to pay for trenching and site work again!
In any EV charging installation project, the installation is the largest cost with the most variance. However, the marginal cost of each charging station installation decreases with each additional station. After all, whether you are installing two or eight charging stations, they can all use the same electrical panel, trench, and cell repeater! Ask your electrical contractor about your electrical requirements, then request your quote for EV charging stations today.