EV Infrastructure Planning: How Informed Decisions Today Can Meet Future Demand


EV Infrastructure Planning: How Informed Decisions Today Can Meet Future Demand

Demand for electric vehicles is on the rise, with estimates surpassing 10.5 million EV sales in 2022, up by 4 million compared to 2021. Public charging stations will be a critical component to power the future of electrified transportation. 

Whether drivers choose to charge at home, their workplace, shopping centers, universities, hospitals, or other public parking garages, offering EV charging infrastructure can entice customers to choose your location and will soon be an expected amenity. 

To prepare for this surging demand, parking operators and managers must take into consideration not only how to select the right EV charger for their location, but also ensure that they have the appropriate capacity for installation and understand ongoing maintenance needs.

Choosing the right EV charger for your location

When selecting an EV charger for your location, you must first consider the charging speed that will be needed by drivers. DC Fast Chargers, which can charge an EV up to 80 percent in just 30 minutes, are ideal for locations along highways and major corridors where they will be used by drivers on long distance trips. 

On the other hand, Level 2 charging is ideal if your location is somewhere people spend several hours and would benefit from encouraging customers to stay longer, such as a parking garage or shopping mall, or a hotel where cars can charge overnight. EV charging stations are becoming an increasingly desirable and important amenity, helping to draw customers in and build brand loyalty, as more drivers transition to EVs.

You will also need to determine if you need a networked or non-networked charger. If your primary goal is to bring drivers in and entice them to stay at your location, a non-network charger will enable you to provide electricity for free. If you’re more interested in the revenue from selling electricity to drivers, or don’t want to absorb the cost of electricity for EV drivers, a network charger is the way to go. As a bonus, networked chargers are publicly accessible to any driver looking to charge and pay with a credit card on popular EV driver apps and increasingly built into electric vehicle navigations systems.

Be prepared for installation

The installation process can seem daunting, but the right EV charging partner will work closely with you to ensure your location is set up for the hardware you plan to install today and, in the future, and may even be able to manage the entire process on your behalf. 

EV charging providers can advise on the right number and location of chargers for your location, assessing current demand and monitoring usage to ensure you have enough chargers available for your customers. 

The number of chargers that you need will change over time, so futureproofing your installation is encouraged. This can be as simple as putting in extra conduit when you trench so that you don’t have to do it again in the future.

EV charging technology has greatly advanced over the past several years and with it comes new challenges as well as options for more streamlined installation. 

For example, as EV battery capacity has grown, EVs need to charge at higher amps in order to get to an acceptable range. These larger batteries require higher amp breakers at your location and building these breakers can become expensive. Some hardware providers have EV chargers that feature local load management which allows multiple cars to be plugged and charging on single shared circuit. 

This increases the numbers of chargers a facility can make available for drivers. Utilizing this functionality, a garage owner can prepare for future demand while being cost conscious to the current, smaller, charging needs of today.

Today, customers also have the option for EV charging wall installations. Rather than the traditional pedestal, which requires drilling into the ground during installation, a wall-mounted charger is a simpler and more turnkey solution that can be easily installed and has the flexibility to be moved to an alternate location at a later date. 

The right EV charging partner can help you determine the energy capacity and physical limitations at your location and find the right solution for your needs.

Options for ongoing service and maintenance

EV charging stations are an investment for the future of your property and can offer a draw for potential customers and drivers. However, a broken or inaccessible EV charger can cause frustration for drivers and dissuade them from returning to your location. There are a variety of business models that have implications for any future maintenance or service your charger may need.

For instance, there are several hardware manufacturers that provide equipment directly to the customer. However, they are not responsible for the chargers after the sale nor do they provide software to manage the devices. This means the customer will be responsible for any necessary ongoing maintenance. 

EV charging providers that own and operate hardware, on the other hand, provide customers with the equipment and, unlike hardware manufacturers, may continue to offer support after sale, aiding installation, while ensuring proper maintenance and operations. 

Typically, these full-service EV infrastructure providers also upgrade the equipment if and when it becomes necessary as part of the agreement. 

As EV charging, energy management, and telecommunications technology continue to evolve, it could help futureproof your equipment should new technology render older equipment obsolete. 

Therefore, when choosing an EV provider, it is important for parking operators and managers to take into consideration each company’s policies for upgrades and ongoing maintenance.

The future of electrified transportation is here, and parking operators and managers are among the first and best positioned to take advantage of this transition. As an operator, it’s important your locations are prepared and are making plans now to offer the EV charging stations that will power the electric vehicles of the future. 

Whether you’re looking to increase your revenue from the sale of electricity to EV drivers, offer an increasingly desirable amenity to existing customers, or draw new customers to your property, selecting the right EV charging provider to partner with will help ensure you are set up for success with EV charger selection, installation and ongoing service and maintenance.

Andy Kinard is a Field Engineer with Blink Charging. He can be reached at Akinard@BlinkCharging.com.

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Andy Kinard
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