August 3, 2023

Choosing the Right EV Charging Stations for Your Commercial Property


6 Min. Read

As electric vehicle (EV) adoption continues to rise, commercial property owners face the challenge of selecting the ideal EV charging stations to meet their tenants’ needs. Selecting the most useful charging station involves understanding the best fit for your property, charging speeds and power requirements, and your potential ROI.

In this article we’ll cover the key factors to consider when choosing the best EV charging solution for your commercial property.

Comparing Charging Speeds and Power Requirements

Level 1 chargers are not usually suited for regularly used vehices due to their slow charging speeds, typically only providing 2-5 miles of range per hour. As a result, while Level 1 charging is highly accessible due to the ability to utilize a standard 120 volt electrical outlet, it is generally deemed insufficient to meet the needs of commercial property tenants and visitors, as well as most residential use, due to the slow charging rate and overall inefficiency.

Alternatively, a Level 2 charging station operates at 240 volts and offers a charging rate of 20-40 miles of range per hour. These stations are well-suited for commercial and multifamily properties where drivers desire overnight or all-day charging, allowing EVs to recharge within a reasonable timeframe.

On the other hand, a Level 3 charging station, also known as DC Fast Charger or DCFC, provides power at 480 volts or higher, enabling a significantly faster charging experience. These stations can charge an EV at 60-250 miles of range per hour, depending on the specific charger and vehicle compatibility. This makes Level 3 charging ideal for high-traffic locations or situations where users require a quick charge to continue their journey promptly.

Level 2 and 3 charging stations offer distinct capabilities and benefits, making it essential to understand their differences to make informed decisions for your property.

Level 2 vs. DCFC Chargers

When considering power requirements and infrastructure, it’s important to note that DCFC charging stations demand substantial electrical infrastructure upgrades and may not be supported in all areas.

The higher voltage and power demands of DCFC chargers necessitate robust electrical systems and may require significant modifications or enhancements to the existing electrical setup. This can involve additional costs and coordination with licensed electrical professionals to ensure the infrastructure can support the increased power requirements and may also require additional permitting.

In contrast, licensed electrical contractors can install Level 2 charging stations with less costly modifications to the existing electrical systems in commercial properties. Since Level 2 chargers operate at a lower voltage than DCFC chargers, they are more compatible with standard electrical installations.

This means that, in many cases, the electrical infrastructure of a commercial property can more easily accommodate Level 2 charging stations without requiring extensive upgrades to the electrical infrastructure.

Assessing Costs and Return on Investment

Installation costs for a DCFC charging station are generally higher than installing a Level 2 charging station. The higher prices are primarily due to the increased power requirements of DCFC chargers, which necessitate more robust electrical infrastructure and specialized equipment.

The need for electrical upgrades and purchasing and installing high-powered charging equipment for DCFCs can contribute to higher upfront costs. Furthermore, DCFC charging stations will require more electricity during charging sessions.

The faster charging speeds offered by DCFC chargers require a higher power draw, resulting in increased energy consumption. As a result, operational costs, including electricity bills, may be higher for DCFC charging stations than Level 2 stations.

Generating Potential Revenue

However, it’s essential to consider the potential revenue generation of Level 3 charging stations. Faster charging speeds attract more users looking for quick charging sessions, making Level 3 stations preferable for high-traffic locations and short-term parking scenarios.

With more users utilizing the charging infrastructure and potentially paying for charging sessions, Level 3 stations can generate a higher revenue than Level 2 stations.

Determining your ROI

To evaluate the return on investment (ROI), commercial property owners must consider multiple factors, including installation costs, operational costs, charging demand, and potential revenue opportunities. The specific circumstances of each property, such as location, tenant profiles, and local charging infrastructure availability, play a crucial role in determining the ROI for Level 3 charging stations.

Level 2 charging stations also have their advantages in lower installation costs and potentially lower operational costs. While they may generate less revenue due to slower charging speeds, Level 2 stations are still highly suitable for properties where tenants and visitors spend extended periods, such as office buildings or long-term parking facilities.

Ultimately, the decision between Level 2 and Level 3 charging stations should be based on a comprehensive cost analysis, considering installation expenses, operational costs, revenue potential, and the specific needs and characteristics of the commercial property.

Determining the Best Fit for Your Commercial Property

Determining the best EV charging stations for your commercial property requires a careful assessment of the specific needs and characteristics of the property. When deciding on charging for multifamily properties (offices, buildings, and long-term parking facilities) where tenants and visitors spend several hours, Level 2 charging stations are often the most suitable choice.

These stations provide a steady and reliable charging solution, allowing EVs to recharge over an extended period. With Level 2 chargers offering a charging rate of 20-40 miles of range per hour, they are well-suited for situations where users have longer dwell times at the property.

On the other hand, Level 3 charging stations are better suited for high-traffic and short-term locations. These locations include shopping centers, restaurants, or highway rest stops, where users require a quick charge to continue their journeys promptly.

The significantly faster charging speeds provided by Level 3 chargers, with rates ranging from 60-250 miles of range per hour, cater to the needs of users who seek efficient and rapid charging options.

Combining Level 2 and Level 3 Chargers

Depending on your business, property, and clientele, a combination of Level 2 and Level 3 charging stations may provide the best commercial property solutions for your location. This approach allows property owners to accommodate various charging needs and preferences within a single place and can appeal to customers and employees alike.

By offering a combination of charging options, commercial properties can cater to long-term visitors who require overnight or extended charging and short-term visitors looking for fast and convenient charging sessions. Customers will also likely want to utilize both options based on their preference for charging speeds. Offering charging stations that meet their needs benefits you and your customers.

Finding an EV Charging Solution That Works for You

Choosing the appropriate EV charging stations for your commercial property requires careful consideration of charging speeds, power requirements, costs, and the specific needs of your tenants and visitors. By understanding the differences between Level 2 and Level 3 stations, assessing costs and return on investment, and determining the best fit for your property, you can ensure that your commercial property is equipped with the right EV charging solutions.

As the most trusted electrification solutions and EV charging installation provider in North America, Qmerit will work with you to determine a charging solution that meets the needs of your business and your budget. With a network of vetted and certified electricians trained in electrification technologies and installations, you can rest assured in knowing your installation will be seamless from start to finish and provide you and your customers with a high-quality, safe installation.

Start your journey towards a sustainable and convenient charging infrastructure for your tenants and visitors today. To learn more about our comprehensive Level 2 and Level 3 EV charging solutions tailored for commercial properties, contact Qmerit today.

Author: Tom Bowen

Tom Bowen

President, Qmerit Solutions and Commercial Electrification