- Features | September 16, 2013
Electrical Vehicle Charging Infrastructure: Plan Ahead to Be EV Ready
Plans for investment in commercial property enhancements and municipal revitalization projects generally include a storyboard picture of nice sidewalks, landscaping, building facades, and parking, but how often do you see an electric vehicle (EV) charging station incorporated into that portrait or plan? These projects can include significant electrical infrastructure for lighting, including parking, security, and landscape, which require underground installation of conduit before the sidewalks are completed and landscape installed.
Have you ever thought about anticipating where an EV parking space might best be located in order to install electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) to charge employee or customer cars when the demand arrives? Let’s take a look at the importance of planning ahead for EV infrastructure and learn a few basics about what it means to establish an electrical infrastructure that is “EV ready.”
The term “EV ready” is broadly used to span a lot of territory from the public planning for parking to the emergency response to an electric vehicle car accident. All of the aspects are important, however, a focus on planning, anticipating, and even installing part of the electrical infrastructure for the expected EV-charging demand for a community or structure has significant benefit for all involved. Installing the electrical infrastructure may be as simple as having electrical conduit and/or electrical wiring capable of supporting the anticipated circuit capacity in place to where the EVSE will be installed. The stakeholders are numerous including multifamily dwellings, light commercial offices, and parking lots ranging from municipal facilities to university campuses. Fundamentally, many people purchase or lease an electric vehicle for the commute to their work place.
The benefits associated with being EV ready and planning ahead for the adoption of electric vehicles is significant. Some figures indicate an average of approximately 20 percent savings for the electrical infrastructure installation if you prepare for charging stations ahead of time. So planning and setting some guidelines to be used for your next infrastructure project is key whether you are guiding a small community, campus, or even a single facility that has a high potential to see an increase in EV charging needs.
How Can You Prepare Your Community, Campus, or Facility to Be EV Ready?
Establish a plan for those EV parking spaces by asking yourself a few questions:
- If 20 cars showed up in my community/campus, where would I locate an EV charger(s)?
- Is there planned construction in the immediate future or a timeline for renovation for these locations?
A good infrastructure practice would be to specify and run EV-ready conduits or circuits in the parking lots/garages during renovation and new construction in anticipation of installing EVSE in the future. There is limited expense, less hassle (such as business interruption), and lower cost (such as demolition and repair of sidewalks and landscape) to consider EV readiness during construction as compared to a dedicated project.
There are a number of considerations that may support preparing a facility for EV charging. Ask your employees, suppliers, renters, or customers if they are driving or anticipating driving an EV. Location of the parking and charging space is a significant key: Is it appropriately accessible? Consider distance to the electrical infrastructure since the further the charging station is, the more expensive the infrastructure will be to serve the charging station. Don’t discount visibility to the community of being a supporter of EV charging.