July 18, 2023

Commercial Property Owners Can Future Proof Their Investment with EV Charging Solutions


6 Min. Read

Businesses worldwide are waking up to the reality that EVs will eventually comprise most new vehicle sales and are looking into commercial EV charging. This means commercial building owners need to learn about electric vehicle (EV) charging solutions, how they can benefit their business, and what options will work best for their space.

Concerns about the environment coupled with government and company-funded incentive programs are spurring EV adoption. The U.S. EV market is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of over 25% between 2021 and 2028.

Recognizing that electrification is inevitable, some businesses seek to electrify their fleets to become more sustainable. Other property owners are recognizing the need to offer EV charging capabilities to satisfy employees. Lastly, forward-thinking commercial sites want to leverage onsite EV charging stations to increase revenue or attract customers.

An EV Charging Strategy for Your Commercial Property

Many commercial property owners initially viewed EV charging stations adjacent to parking spaces as a costly amenity, but they are rapidly becoming essential attractions. Large chains are gearing up. Walgreens is adding charging stations at 400 locations, and Kroger announced last year its plans to bring hundreds of charging stations to its supermarkets.

As the number of EVs on the road increases, late adopters could be left behind. EvuallyEventually, a property without an EV infrastructure will become less attractive to patrons and personnel and eventually less valuable. To avoid appearing outmoded, your commercial property will, at some point, need an EV strategy to future-proof your investment.

Developing a scalable plan for installing charging stations now and as demand grows is not simple. You want to avoid short-sighted decisions on equipment, electrical needs, or construction requirements today that will require considerable investments of money and work in the foreseeable future. This means learning more about EV charging options and how they can benefit your commercial business is essential.

Commercial EV Charging Solutions

The first step is learning about the commercial charger options for your business and neighborhood. There are three basic types. Level 1 charging is exceedingly slow, only adding a 3.5-6.5 miles of driving range per hour. This level of charge is inadequate for the majority of EV drivers, especially in a commercial space, which is why most properties install significantly faster and more desirable Level 2 and Level 3 charging stations.

You will need to consider if you want users to stop for a while at your property or encourage them to simply top off their battery:

  • Level 2 – These EV chargers, which come in various sizes and capabilities, are being widely deployed in commercial settings with minimal installation issues.

Level 2 charging results vary based on battery type, circuit capacity, and configuration.Most Level 2 ports typically add 10 to 20 miles of range per hour, but some can provide 65 to 80 miles of range in an hour. As a result, it can take 4 to 10 hours to fully charge an EV with a Level 2, making them ideal for locations where people will spend more time on shopping, working, or visiting attractions.

The average cost to buy and install a commercial-grade, Level 2 charging station is about $6,000 but can vary significantly based on electrical capacity, required trenching, and other considerations. Additionally, installation costs are higher for Level 2 chargers with higher charging speeds.

Drivers will seek them out along traffic corridors for a quick stop, but these chargers are not recommended for regular use. Additionally, many neighborhoods and properties cannot accommodate the direct current needs for this charger, which requires a 480-volt connection.

Your strategy might be to have people come to charge their car while they grab a quick snack, take a rest break, or make another quick stop. A final drawback to Level 3 charging stations is the cost, which averages $50,000 for the charger alone, and will likely need additional electrical work to support the installation of these chargers.

Meeting the Needs of Those Using Your Property

Public chargers should be installed where people will need them, but charging speed is an important consideration. Establishing the best electric auto charging solutions for your property depends on the type of business and its needs:

  • Employee Vehicles: EV-driving staff want to have the opportunity to conveniently charge their vehicles at work and confidently drive home with a full battery. Since they would have the car parked for several hours, Level 2 charging stations are adequate. Charging stations for employee use can be set up as a courtesy or with some costs recouped from users. With so many locations not having charging capabilities, they can also be an extra recruiting tool. 
  • Fleet Vehicles: If your business relies on fleet vehicles, you want to minimize downtime. That could mean using fast-charging stations to return vehicles to duty quickly for on-going and 24/7 operations. If your vehicles only need to rely on a single charge per day, however, charging overnight with Level 2 chargers and cheaper electricity rates makes sense. Fleet vehicles can charge in a larger depot with Level 2 or DCFC charging stations or by installing Level 2 charging stations in the homes of fleet drivers. 
  • Courtesy and Convenience for Customers: If your property is a destination people drive far to reach (and will be at for several hours), more visitors expect charging stations to be readily available. This includes hotels, bed and breakfast sites, amusement parks, famous landmarks, ski resorts, and countless other examples. EV drivers will want to know before heading your way that they can power up before heading home. Again, since vehicles will be parked for some time, Level 2 chargers should be adequate to meet the needs of these customers. 
  • Attracting Customers: Shopping centers and restaurants with onsite charging stations will be sought out by drivers looking to top off their batteries while spending time and money. DC fast chargers will prompt them to use a restroom and maybe buy coffee, whereas a Level 2 charger could encourage them to stay for a few hours. Charging stations for customer use would be opportunities for commercial property owners looking to use them to boost revenue, depending on clientele and neighborhood norms.

The bottom line is that choosing which charging stations to install should be closely tied to your business strategy and needs.

Advantages of Investing in EV Charging Now

Getting ahead of the curve and attracting EV drivers may be excellent reasons for commercial property managers to investigate charger installation. The top reasons to do so in the near term are incentives available from the federal, state, and local governments, and even local utilities.

One California study, for example, cites that installed fast chargers received an average incentive covering half of their cost for the charger and installation. For easy navigation of the incentives available for your property, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center maintains a database of available incentives.

Commercial building owners should take advantage question movement and install EV charging solutions that meet their needs. With the largest network of licensed installers spanning the U.S. and Canada, Qmerit mitigates the stress out of vetting qualified charging station installers for your infrastructure project and help you navigate through the options, establish a project budget and facilitate a successful, safe, and hassle-free charger installation.

Electrification should be accessible and affordable, and Qmerit can help you navigate your project to success. With a track-record of over 269,000 electric vehicle charging station installations, commercial property owners can trust Qmerit to manage their EV transition and help find ways to offset costs via incentives and financing.

Contact Qmerit today to get started and future proof your electrification investment with the most-trusted installers in North America!

Author: Tom Bowen

Tom Bowen

President, Qmerit Solutions and Commercial Electrification