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Guide To Commercial EV Charging Stations Cost & Installation

Updated: Jun 4

commercial ev charging stations

Like mushrooms, commercial electric vehicle (EV) charging stations are popping up in parking lots everywhere: AMC theaters, Macy’s, Costco, Target, gas stations, grocery stores, and more.

In fact, as Teslas and similar electric cars hit the road, there are now more than 64,000 public EV charging stations across the U.S. as of December 2023. In particular, fast commercial EV charging station installations have grown by 70% in three years.


This surge of interest is necessary as many car manufacturers are committing massive resources to develop their electric vehicle offerings. it’s also great news for both commercial properties and solar installers. Businesses can benefit from many incentives and rebates for commercial EV charging stations. And as Greenlancer President Patrick McCabe has noted, many commercial EV charging stations rely on solar energy for clean electricity – so solar installers are perfectly positioned to install them alongside their PV systems.


But make no mistake – installing commercial EV charging stations is still different from installing solar panels. Like any venture, the first step towards success here requires both the client and installer to gain a working knowledge of its options, commercial EV charging station costs, charger incentives, and challenges.


That’s why we created this guide to the fundamentals of installing electric car charging stations.


Ideal Locations for EV Charging Station Installations

As electric vehicles approach 14% of the new car market in 2022, installing commercial EV charging stations attracts many businesses who want to increase their property value, employee satisfaction, and customer count.


Ideal commercial prospects for EV charging stations include:


Workplaces

Since people park at work more often than anywhere else except home, offering a charging station helps attract EV drivers as employees. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s recent survey, 80% of employers with an EV charging station say that it has helped them attract and retain more talent. So, commercial EV stations improve both companies’ sustainability and their business targets.


Business Districts And Shopping Centers

When Americans aren’t at home or at work, they’re often out shopping and eating. This includes EV owners, who naturally want to park where their cars can charge while they’re enjoying themselves.


Public parking lots, business districts, shopping centers, restaurants, and malls can install commercial EV charging stations to attract such shoppers. Customers may even linger longer (and buy more) as they wait for their EV to charge up!


Service Locations

Public buildings, hospitals, and universities are often working towards sustainability goals and can receive LEED credits for installing an EV charging station. These prospects often have a large employee workforce and, as said above, can attract more talent with this environmentally friendly option.


Multifamily Housing

Not all electric car owners live in their own house – or want to. But a place without an EV station doesn't meet their charging needs, driving them away from otherwise perfect living options.


Apartment buildings, condominiums, and other multifamily buildings can fix this drawback by installing EV charging stations. This not only increases their property value, but also draws in prospective residents with electric vehicles.


In many areas, new state and city regulations are accelerating the adoption of commercial EV charging stations. For example, the cities of Miami, Seattle, and Chicago now mandate commercial properties above a certain size to offer EV charging. Installers operating in such areas can expect their lead lists to increase even more rapidly.


What Kind Of Commercial EV Charging Station Do Clients Need?

EV charger options vary by charging speed.


Level I Charging Stations

While the cheapest and most cost-effective option, this is also the slowest – cars will add only 3 – 5 miles of travel per hour. This charging time is often too slow for publicly available stations. However, Level I chargers may be adequate for some workplaces where employees can charge their car for up to 8 hours at a time.


Level II EV Charging Stations - Most Common For Commercial Sites

You’ll probably become very familiar with this option: it’s the standard for commercial parking spaces. Level II stations charge cars 4 – 5 times more quickly than their Level I counterparts, adding 12 – 40 miles per hour. They use 208/240V and 30 amp electricity.


Level III Charging Stations - DC Fast Chargers

The speediest EV charging level, these DC Fast Chargers (DCFC) fill up batteries fast: 80 – 400+ miles per hour. But they’re also the most expensive option and incompatible with some electric vehicles, so they’re not as popular as Level II chargers. Usually, only high-volume commercial EV charging station customers, such as car dealerships, commercial charging stations, and rest stops, will benefit from the added speed.


Tesla Supercharger network dominates the US DC fast charging landscape. When considering the next three largest DC fast charging networks (Electrify America, EVgo, and ChargePoint), the top four networks collectively make up the vast majority of all DC fast chargers in the US.


commercial electric car charging station

Commercial EV Charging Station Incentives And Rebates

If you or your clients are interested in an EV charging station but balk at the initial cost (from $1,000 – $10,000 per station), your area’s incentives and rebates can help.


Federal Tax Credit for Commercial EV Chargers

There is a 30% federal tax credit for installing commercial electric car charging stations. The maximum value of the tax credit is $100,000 per unit, and both the cost of the equipment and installation are eligible.


National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program

States can receive funding through the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) NEVI Formula Program by the U.S. Department of Transportation. This initiative aims to support the strategic deployment of public EV charging stations, fostering an interconnected network for improved data collection, access, and reliability. Eligible projects can secure funding for up to 80% of their costs.


For commercial EV station incentives that may apply to you or your prospects, look up your state in the National Conference of State Legislature’s interactive map for state and utility policies promoting electric vehicles.


Commercial EV Charging Station Installation Costs

The average cost of installing a Level II EV charger is about $2,000 to $6,000. Multiply this by five, 10, or 20 chargers, and a commercial charging station may have a price tag of $30,000 – $120,000.


However, due to numerous EV charging station incentives across the nation, the property owner almost certainly won’t have to pay the full price. The federal EV tax credit previously offset up to $30,000 of these costs, and local incentives chipped off more. With the extension of the Alternative Fuel Vehicle Refueling Property Tax Credit under the Inflation Reduction Act, installations completed after 2022 can qualify for a credit of up to $100,000.


How much does a commercial EV charging station cost? Like solar installations, pricing depends on multiple factors. The three main capital costs are:


Infrastructure for Commercial EV Charging Stations

The first steps towards a new EV station are often the most expensive. Each site presents different challenges and requires an individually tailored approach.


Prepping a commercial EV charger site involves several expenses, such as:

  • Electric infrastructure to power the charging stations

  • Wire conduits and connectors

  • Pouring new concrete

  • Parking lot restriping

  • Signs guiding visitors to the EV station

An EV charging system quote should note the prices of all activities and materials needed to prepare the location for installation.


EV Charging Station Installation

Once all necessary changes are made to the site, it’s time to get the chargers there and have them working. Like solar installations, the cost of this varies by:

  • Electrical service

  • Number of chargers

  • Location

  • Material quantity and type

  • Labor

  • Required permits

  • Associated taxes

  • Applicable state and local initiatives


GreenLancer specializes in EV charging station permitting and engineering services. We offer a variety of services for EV charging station contractors, including permit-ready plan sets, interconnection applications, engineering reviews, and PE stamps. To get started shopping for commercial EV charging station design and engineering services, create a GreenLancer account.


Networked EV Charging Stations

Speaking of electric car charging station incentives, you’ll probably need Wi-Fi-connected chargers to offer most of them. Network connectivity allows the owners to:

  • Limit access to certain people if necessary (such as the residents of an apartment building)

  • Charge users for their electricity consumption

  • Monitor the station’s performance

  • Create usage reports


However, a station with a charging network does cost more than a non-networked one. While charging station materials, infrastructure, and installation can add up, it’s often possible to minimize expenses with a good contractor. Some ways include using existing electrical infrastructure (if it’s available), applying for all relevant rebates and tax breaks, and partnering with adjacent businesses to share station responsibilities.


Can Commercial EV Charging Stations Be Used By the General Public?

Commercial charging stations are typically available for public use. They are often located at retail centers, parking lots, hotels, or along major highways to provide convenient charging access for electric vehicle owners. Most commercial charging stations offer various payment options and configurations. These can include pay-per-use with a credit or debit card, access cards or key fobs, mobile apps, or subscription-based plans. Some charging networks may also offer a membership program for discounted rates.


Commercial EV Charging Station Connector Compatibility

Commercial charging stations are designed to be accessible and compatible with various electric vehicle models. They are typically equipped with standardized connectors that allow different vehicles to charge at the same station. Here's an expanded explanation of the different connectors commonly used:


Type 1 (J1772) Connector: The Type 1 connector, also known as the J1772 connector, is widely used for Level 2 charging. It features a smaller, rectangular connector with five or seven pins, depending on the vehicle's charging capabilities. This connector is common among electric vehicles from North American and Japanese manufacturers.


Type 2 (Mennekes) Connector: The Type 2 connector, also known as the Mennekes connector, is commonly used in Europe and has become the standard for Level 2 charging in many regions. It features a larger, round connector with either seven or nine pins, depending on the vehicle's charging capabilities. The Type 2 connector provides a higher level of charging power and is compatible with most European electric vehicle models.


CCS (Combined Charging System) Connector: The CCS connector combines the Type 2 connector for AC charging with an additional set of high-power DC pins for fast charging. It is characterized by the two extra DC pins below the Type 2 connector. CCS connectors can provide both Level 2 AC charging and DC fast charging, making them versatile for a wide range of electric vehicles. Many European and North American vehicle manufacturers commonly use CCS connectors.


CHAdeMO Connector: The CHAdeMO connector is primarily used for DC fast charging. It features a unique, large, round connector with multiple pins. CHAdeMO connectors are most commonly found in electric vehicle models from Japanese manufacturers such as Nissan and Mitsubishi. However, it's worth noting that some newer electric vehicles may also have dual connectors, allowing them to use both CCS and CHAdeMO charging.


commercial EV charging station installation

Maintenance of Commercial EV Charging Stations

Maintaining a commercial EV charging station is crucial to ensure its optimal performance, reliability, and safety. Regular maintenance helps prevent malfunctions, extends the lifespan of the equipment, and provides a positive charging experience for users. Here's why maintenance is important, how it can be completed, and what it typically entails:


Importance of Commercial EV Charging Station Maintenance:

The prevalence of broken or poorly maintained electric car chargers is a critical issue that can be avoided.


Reliability: Regular maintenance helps identify and address issues before they escalate, ensuring that the charging station functions properly when needed.


Safety: Maintenance checks can detect any potential safety hazards, such as exposed wires or damaged components, to prevent accidents and ensure user safety.


User Experience: Well-maintained charging stations provide a positive experience for electric vehicle owners, encouraging repeat usage and customer satisfaction.


Cost Savings: Preventative maintenance of commercial EV charging stations can help avoid costly repairs or replacements by addressing minor issues early on.


Compliance: Some jurisdictions may have regulations or requirements regarding the maintenance of commercial charging stations to ensure safety and reliability.


Completing EV Charging Station Maintenance and Typical Tasks

Read on to learn about some of the critical tasks.


Visual Inspection: Regularly visually inspect the charging station for any physical damage, loose connections, or signs of wear and tear.


Cleaning: Keep the charging station clean from debris, dirt, and other contaminants that can affect performance.


Charger Software Updates: Stay current with software updates for the charging station to ensure compatibility and functionality.


Testing: Conduct routine testing of the charging station to verify proper operation, charging speeds, and connectivity.


Functional Checks: Test components such as the display screen or touchscreen, connectors, cables, and payment systems to ensure they are working correctly.


Charger Maintenance Logs: Maintain detailed records of maintenance activities, inspections, and any issues identified for future reference.


Maintenance tasks can vary depending on the type of charging station, manufacturer recommendations, and usage patterns. It's essential to follow the specific maintenance guidelines provided by the charging station manufacturer and to use qualified professionals if any issues arise. By prioritizing regular maintenance, commercial EV charging station operators can ensure the longevity, reliability, and safety of the equipment, ultimately benefiting both the business and electric vehicle users.


Installing Commercial EV Chargers: Design & Engineering

It’s true that installing a commercial charging station requires a significant investment. But, incentives, tax credits, customer fees, increased customer attraction, and employee satisfaction often make the investment worthwhile for many sites.


As a potential installer of EV charging stations, a big obstacle is securing fast and scalable EV charging station design and engineering services.


how much do commercial ev charging stations cost

GreenLancer has a network of certified designers, licensed engineers, and fulfillment partners ready to complete on-demand fulfillment of EV charging services quickly, such as:


To learn more, submit the form below.





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