Parking Lot EV Chargers

EV charging stations can energize your site, but picking the right technology isn’t as easy as plugging into a socket. Your decision hinges on how long occupants remain parked and the availability of power.

Designate Equipment
Once you’ve complied with the necessary codes, you can match the appropriate technology to your application.

EV drivers have a top-off mentality with public chargers because they want to ensure that they have the maximum miles available to drive.

Level 1 charging stations use 110V power and provide an EV with 5 miles per 30 minutes of charging.

“We typically call it a trickle charge. It’s like a faucet,” Kalb explains.

This equipment is ideal for offices or workplaces where occupant vehicles will be parked for 6-8 hours or longer.

Level 2 technology is 240V and can provide an EV with about 10 miles of charge per every 30 minutes. These are ideal for parks, libraries, and retail environments.

Electrifying Business Cases

The Palo Alto Research Center, a research and development organization famous for Apple’s computer mouse and graphic user interface, recently installed EV charging as a sign of its commitment to the next big advancement. The center installed eight Level 1 and four Level 2 chargers (with capacity to support 16 of each) for $100,000, 60% of which was dedicated to upgrading power infrastructure. Source: EV Charging Pros

The Resort Municipality of Whistler, BC, installed EV charging to cut transportation greenhouse gas emissions, reduce operations and maintenance costs on fleet vehicles, and support its sustainability image. The installation of a hybrid Level 1/Level 2 station cost $7,000. Source: Fraser Basin Council

The InterContinental San Francisco added a Level 2 station in conjunction with CityPark, the hotel’s valet parking operator, which funded the project and fulfilled contract terms that included a commitment to installing charging stations. Installation cost was $15,000, half of which covered electrical upgrades. Source: Business Council on Climate Change

Post Montgomery Center (PMC), a 38-story office building in San Francisco with a three-story retail complex, installed one Level 1 and one Level 2 station to gain competitive advantage in marketing and leasing and to display sustainability commitment. PMC qualified for locally allocated grant money and used the ChargePoint America program from Coulomb Technologies, which provided the charging station equipment for free. Installation cost PMC $5,617. Source: Business Council on Climate Change

“They can provide the power a driver just used getting to that location,” Kalb says. “Think of it as a garden hose.”

Level 3 chargers are 480V and can completely refuel a car in 20 minutes. “This is the fire hydrant,” says Kalb.

These chargers accommodate drivers who are commuting long distances. They are typically government-issued roadside units, Calise explains, although they do appeal to some malls and grocery stores.

Deploy Strategically
“It’s best to put the first station in a highly visible, marquee spot,” Calise says. “A facility manager should realize that the front spot requires more investment, but it also returns the most value.”

Remember that the further away the charging station is from your power panel, the more it’s going to cost to install.

“The main consideration is how long of a conduit and trenching run do you have to make in order to get from the panel with enough juice to the desired spot,” explains Kalb. “A strip mall may want the station right up front, but a smaller industrial park may be able to put it right next to the power.”

Once the first unit is installed, additional stations can be placed with more practical considerations, says Calise. “After you establish the marquee spot, then look for areas that are a compromise between convenience and cost.”

Calise recommends “stubbing out” neighboring stalls for future expansion.

“You don’t want to re-install and re-trench new runs, so once you take the plunge to install these, run the conduit to other spots and terminate them at a box,” he recommends. “Expansions are happening very rapidly. This way, when your demand goes up, you can just put in a new piece of gear. It’s a placeholder that sets the table for the future.”


Chris Curtland is assistant editor of BUILDINGS.


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