How much does it cost for businesses to install EV chargers?
Posted by Scott Clark on
As more businesses are planning to install EV chargers, cost is a common question. While there is a cost for the chargers themselves, installation cost can actually be the largest portion of a project. Sometimes, the extra cost can come as a surprise.
If you’re still trying to consider which type of EV charger is right for you, this article will get you up-to-speed.
We’ll cover the factors that influence install costs, typical install costs, and ways to keep costs lower.
What factors influence EV charger install costs?
Since the installation portion of an EV charger project is typically more expensive than the hardware being installed, it’s helpful to understand the key factors. Below are four reasons why costs can vary so significantly.
1. Distance from the electrical supply
The distance of the EV chargers from the electrical supply determines the amount of wire and conduit needed and the distance being run. This could also affect the amount of concrete needing to be cut and trenched. We typically recommend that customers place EV chargers within 50 feet of the electrical supply, if possible.
2. Available electrical capacity and panel space/breakers
If you’re installing EV chargers, you need to make sure your utility service can handle the additional capacity and that you have physical space in your panels to add the additional breakers. If you need to add sub-panels or add new utility service, this can drastically increase install costs.
3. Physical attributes of the space
Consider the area where you’re installing EV chargers. If you’re in a parking garage, your configuration may enable you to avoid trenching concrete. On the other hand, if you’re adding chargers in an area away from your building or in the middle of a parking lot, running underground wire can be expensive.
4. Number of chargers
While adding more chargers generally increases install costs, there are times when more chargers can save you money. For example, if you’re planning on installing four chargers, the incremental labor cost to install six or eight units instead may be negligible because you’re already running wire, pouring concrete, etc. It’s worth asking about the cost to add more units because you may be able to save in the long run.
What are typical EV charger installation costs?
Let’s break this out by charger type, since the needs of each type of charger are quite different. Typical install costs can be tricky depending on the area, local codes, and the scope of work, so the idea here is to give you a ballpark figure to start with.
Typical level 1 EV charger install costs
A Level 1 charger is designed to be plugged into an existing 120V electrical outlet. If you’re plugging one of these into an existing outlet, you don’t need any professional installation. With that said, keep in mind the significant limitations to Level 1 chargers.
If you need to install a new 120V outlet, the costs will vary based on your space requirements.
Typical level 2 EV charger install costs
Level 2 chargers are typically the best and most common choice for businesses. Because there is some efficiency gained when you’re installing multiple units, we’re breaking the typical cost out based on the quantity installed.
For an install of one to two chargers, within 50 feet of an electrical supply with available electrical capacity and breakers, a typical cost ranges from $5,000 to $7,000.
For an install of three to 10 chargers, within 50 feet of an electrical supply with available electrical capacity and breakers, a typical cost ranges from $10,000 to $12,000.
In cases where wire runs are longer or more capacity is needed, installation costs can go to $15,000 to $25,000 and higher for two to 10 chargers. It’s important to get a detailed quote and capacity study before you sign off on an EV charger project, so you don’t get hit with any surprises.
Typical DC fast charger install costs
Since DC fast chargers are the most similar to a gasoline pump, this is a helpful analogy for install costs as well. Additional electrical capacity is almost always needed, and dealing with these large, high-voltage units requires expertise. As a result, install costs vary wildly and should be quoted early by a reputable electrician.
What about other installation-related costs?
Some EV charger installs will require commissioning or network setup fees. As an example, networked Loop chargers have a one-time $2,450 Network Access Package for each install site that includes all networking hardware, commissioning, and setup after the physical install is complete. This fee isn’t based on the number of chargers and assumes that the chargers are in a similar location at the install site.
Based on this, we recommend asking about additional costs early in the evaluations with an EV charger project. We can help with your EV charger project from start to finish. If you're interested in installing EV chargers, let us know. We'd be happy to help you select the best option for your business.