As demand for electric vehicles increases for businesses and consumers, the need for electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure is growing rapidly. However, the cost of building and maintaining this infrastructure can be quite significant. In this blog post, we'll take a closer look at the breakdown of EV charging infrastructure costs and break down some of the factors that contribute to these costs.

How do you build EV charging infrastructure?

Building EV charging infrastructure involves several steps, including planning, design, installation, and ongoing maintenance. 

In general, building EV infrastructure involves determining the need, developing a plan, choosing a location, obtaining permits, installing the equipment, testing, and ongoing maintenance. This process can cost thousands and thousands of dollars and take anywhere from 12 months to 2 years to complete. 

Building EV charging infrastructure is a complex and involved process, but it is an important investment in the future of transportation. So let’s dive deeper into the process of creating EV charging station infrastructure.

Equipment and Installation Costs  

First, it's important to note that the cost of EV charging infrastructure can vary widely depending on the type of charging station and the location. The three primary types of charging stations are Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 (DC fast charging). 

Level 1 charging stations are the slowest, providing up to 4 miles of range per hour of charging. Level 2 chargers are faster, providing up to 25 miles of range per hour of charging. DC fast charging stations are the fastest, providing up to 200 miles of range in just 30 minutes of charging, depending on the vehicle. As you might expect, the cost of these electric vehicle charging stations increases as the charging speed increases.

One of the most significant costs associated with EV charging infrastructure is the cost of the charging equipment itself. Level 1 charging stations are the most basic and least expensive, with pricing ranging from $200 - $1000. These charging stations typically plug directly into a standard wall outlet. However, additional installation and labor costs still need to be considered depending on the location of the EV charger. Electrical wiring may need to be done, you may need to update the grid, and receive the necessary permits. 

For businesses, Level 1 EV charging is not sufficient for daily use due to the slow charge times. If your business is interested in utilizing Level 1 charging the daily use of the vehicle and distance traveled will need to be analyzed to determine if Level 1 EV charging can meet your business’ needs. 

Level 2 charging stations are much faster than Level 1, but that comes with a higher price tag. The pricing for Level 2 EV charging stations can vary depending on the manufacturer, model, features, and installation costs. Overall, they can cost anywhere from $1,500 to $5,000 for just the equipment alone. 

In addition to the cost of the electrical vehicle supply equipment (EVSE), there will be installation costs to consider, such as the cost of running electrical wiring to the charging station, installation/construction labor costs, electrical grid updates, and permitting/compliance costs. Factors that will determine the price of these additional costs are grid-access, distance from electrical panel, site readiness, and inspections. Overall with the installation and EVSE costs, installing a Level 2 EV charging station can cost upwards of $10,000, not including the ongoing and regular maintenance of the equipment. 

It’s also important to note that while Level 2 charging stations are faster than Level 1 stations, they still may be insufficient to keep up with daily operations depending on how far and often they are being used. 

Level 3 (DC fast charging) EV charging stations is by far the fastest charging station available for electric vehicles. It also involves the most invasive installation and longest lead times, but is typically the quick charging solutions businesses are looking for in order to keep vehicles on the road the longest. Level 3 EVSE starts at about $20,000. If you’re looking for a Level 3 EV charger with more advanced features such as multiple charge ports or integrated energy storage, it can cost upwards of $100,000 or more just for the equipment. 

In addition to the EV charger cost there are a lot of installation and labor costs associated with installing a Level 3 EV charging station. DC fast chargers require a high-voltage power supply and a specialized connection, so electricians will need to be hired and your business will likely have to submit plans, undergo inspections, and pay fees in order to meet safety codes and acquire permits. Trenching and digging are also a part of the installation process which requires a construction crew on-site. And finally, after the installation is complete it will need to be thoroughly inspected and tested to make sure it is functioning properly as well as regular maintenance to keep it operating. The installation costs alone can amount to around $100,000 making the total investment for a Level 3 EV charging station as high as $200,000 per charger. 

Electricity Costs for EV Charging Stations

Another significant cost associated with EV charging infrastructure is the cost of electricity. Unlike traditional gas stations, EV charging stations need to purchase electricity from the grid in order to charge electric vehicles. The cost of this electricity can vary widely depending on the location and the time of day. In some cases, EV charging stations may be able to negotiate lower electricity rates with their utility providers, but this is not always possible.

Mobile EV Charging Solutions 

EV charging station installation can be expensive and time consuming for businesses. With green incentives, businesses are looking for a quick solution that does not slow operations with long lead and construction times. Companies like SparkCharge created their mobile EV charging solutions specifically for businesses looking to make the transition to electric vehicles.

SparkCharge created the world’s first mobile Level 3 EV charger and EV charging service. Their equipment is not attached to the grid or installed in a specific location. This means SparkCharge can bring EV charging stations to the vehicle when and where it is needed. SparkCharge utilizes these portable EV chargers to create their charging-as-a-service offerings (CaaS), SparkCharge Fleet and SparkCharge Out of Charge (OOC)

Learn More About Charging-as-a-Service

SparkCharge Fleet technician charging an electric fleet with the Roadie v3 CCS EV charger

SparkCharge Fleet is a mobile EV charging delivery service that allows fleet managers and operators to create a personalized service that delivers the EV charging to the vehicles when needed. There are 3 different ways you can have your charges delivered, on a recurring schedule, when the vehicle’s state of charge (SOC) is low, or on-demand through our portal.

SparkCharge OOC technician charging a yellow Tesla Model Y

SparkCharge OOC is a commercial electric vehicle charging service that allows partners to order a charge delivery when the vehicle’s SOC is low. This is a great option for vehicles that need to be kept at a certain charge level such as car dealerships. 

In conclusion, the cost of EV charging infrastructure can be quite significant, with costs ranging from a few hundred dollars for a Level 1 charging station to tens of thousands of dollars for a DC fast charging station. However, as more and more electric vehicles hit the road, the demand for charging infrastructure will only continue to grow, making the investment in EV charging infrastructure an important one for the future of transportation.