With the growing market for electric vehicles (EVs) in the United States, the demand for charging is at an all time high. Investing in a charging station can prove to be an expensive and complicated process that requires the build of new infrastructure. Before making a purchase, there are several crucial factors to consider. In this blog post, we will explore the top five considerations to keep in mind when buying a charging station.

1. How long does it take to charge an electric vehicle? 

The charging station you choose will significantly affect the charging time required for your EV. Charging stations are broken up into the different capacities: Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 (DC fast charging). Level 1 charging uses a standard household outlet, providing the slowest charging. Level 2 charging stations require dedicated equipment, which delivers faster charging. Level 3 charging, or DC fast charging, is the quickest option and best suitable for businesses, allowing rapid charging for long-distance travel and being the most efficient method. 

2. How much does a Level 3 charging station cost?

The cost of purchasing and installing a charging station can be extremely expensive. Although the cost of each charging station will differ depending on various circumstances, a typical installation will run around $120,000+ for four ports and two units. For a typical level two charging station, the cost can run from around $1,500 per port, not including electrical grid-updates and other installation needs.

The cost of a level 3 (DC fast charger) is dependent on several factors, but typically runs between $40,000-$50,000 or more per port for just the electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE). This cost is a large investment for any business, and is impractical since the electric vehicle charging station is not portable. The total cost of ownership, including installation expenses, ongoing maintenance, and any additional services or features required for your specific application should also be considered, making installation even more expensive. There are cheaper ways of receiving a charging session through charging-as-a-service (CaaS) and portable chargers that prove to be more convenient and cost effective

3. Portable EV Chargers vs Fixed Charging Infrastructure

When making the decision to buy a charging station, considering fixed versus portable EV chargers will have a major impact on convenience and business practices. For fleet and commercial operation, portability is a major factor to take into consideration. A fixed charging station can extend business operation time, limit the ability to offer on-the-go charging for roadside businesses, and take up space in your lot.

4. Supplier Reputation 

The reputation of the supplier plays a vital role in ensuring a successful and reliable charging infrastructure. Choosing a reputable supplier guarantees the reliability and quality of the charging equipment you invest in. SparkCharge understands that reliable EV charging means your business can continue to operate efficiently which is why our services promise 99.9% guaranteed charge readiness, predictable and low-cost energy, and compatibility with all electric vehicles on the market.  

How to Assess Your Business Needs

Evaluating your specific business needs plays an important part in understanding what type of EV charging to invest in. Portable charging offers flexibility and the ability to provide on-the-go charging for roadside businesses, enabling you to cater to the needs of all EV drivers outside of fixed locations. Additionally, businesses should consider what the most efficient method of charging would be for their practices. Level 3 (DC fast charging) is a much more time-effective and efficient method compared to the other two levels, which would not provide enough miles of range in a reasonable time. Some needs would include: 

Customer Demand

Evaluate the demand for electric vehicle EV charging services in your target market and what is required of the charging station/portable charger. Determine how frequently the electric vehicles are being used and how far they are being driven. 

Charging Speed

Determine the appropriate charging speed for your business needs. This is mainly determined by how frequently the electric vehicles are being used. If they are being driven daily, Level 1 and 2 EV charging stations may be too slow to keep up with operations. Level 3 chargers (DC fast chargers) are ideal for short or long distance travel routes where customers seek rapid charging sessions. 

Future Expansion 

Consider the scalability and future growth potential of your business and the adequate charging materials to keep up. Evaluate whether the selected charging materials can accommodate increased demand and easily integrate with additional charging locations if needed.