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Strategies for reducing the cost to install EV charging stations

June 29, 2020

James Penfold

Plug-in vehicle ownership is rapidly accelerating and EV drivers are constantly seeking places to charge, especially when they are leaving their vehicle for more than an hour. 


Offering unoccupied charging stations is critical in attracting them to your facility and by future proofing you can reduce your costs now and inexpensively expand as demand increases.


EV Drivers are loyal customers when they can rely on available charging 


Any electric room design over 5 years old most likely never anticipated needing to support multiple EV chargers. To avoid costly electrical panel upgrades, one solution is to bring a single circuit from the electric room to a subpanel near the EV parking bays and use that to expand from in the future. Plus, for the minor additional cost, it makes a lot of sense to add extra conduit and upsize all of it to deliver more power.


All EV Launchpad products have integrated circuit panels that only require a single circuit and our ChargeDepot is a turnkey system that expands from five to 21 vehicles and is uniquely designed to avoid trenching and conduit installation. 


Our PowerBase pedestal solution includes subpanels that support up to 4 stations, so you can start with one charger and easily upgrade. We can also configure networked stations to share loads to avoid overloading circuits. All of these solutions reduce your upfront costs and future-proof your facility.


Plug and Play


Consider how easy it is to upgrade and expand. As demand increases, you will want to quickly and inexpensively add stations. With plug and play connections, your maintenance crew are able to quickly swap out units to upgrade or service. This substantially increases uptime and keeps your EV driving customers happy.


Avoid getting locked into subscriptions and stranding assets


In choosing your hardware and software you should keep your options open. Most of the software networks have similar features in their driver app and host dashboard. What differentiates these companies are their business models - some are closed ecosystems locking the host into that company’s software and hardware, while some are open, using the industry standard OCPP operating platform (Open Charge Point Protocol) - allowing maximum hardware compatibility. The open networks allow the host to pick and choose hardware from different manufacturers that best suits their needs and budgets.


Also, with open networks, a host has the option to switch network operators at any time while using their existing hardware. As the industry evolves and more companies enter the marketplace offering different solutions, this will become even more valuable as software companies integrate other industry specific software such as is likely in the parking management industry.


As an independent company, EV Launchpad’s system is able to support multiple manufacturers’ stations with various networks to tailor a solution for your budget now and in the future.


Mounting system and cable management


It may seem like a small detail, but EV drivers love to use stations with clean and easy to use cables. Stations without automatic retractors lead to trip hazards and get damaged when they are run over. Installing stations with cable management such as our PowerBase (beyond hand coiling!) is critical to avoid liability.


Finally, you should be aware that many financial incentives exist to reduce your out of pocket cost. 2020 is the final year for the Federal Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Tax Credit (30 percent) and many states, municipalities and don’t forget to check utility grant programs. Drop me a line and I will be happy to show you how, in some cases, you can stack incentives so the cost is virtually eliminated.


In conclusion, with EV adoption taking off, we recommend that you make future proofing the priority - consider that all of your charging equipment can be inexpensively expanded - ideally with a Plug and Play system that uses open networked stations.


EV LaunchPad offers turnkey charging systems that address all of these concerns and will keep costs to a minimum so you can take a greater share of the EV driving market.


James Penfold is Co-Founder and CEO of EV LaunchPad, infrastructure solutions to help accelerate EV charging availability. www.evlaunchpad.com. He can be reached at jp@evlaunchpad.com



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