August 24, 2023

Embracing Smart EV Charging Solutions Opportunities for Electrical Contractors


6 Min. Read

Given the current rate of EV adoption, the charging infrastructure needs to grow four to five-fold over the next few years to match demand. For electrical contractors, the need for EV charging solutions and a surge in federal and state funding are creating exciting opportunities.

Expanding your services to cover smart charging solutions for EVs could be the key to building a successful business with a clear path to sustainable growth.

In this article, we’ll review the EV charging services you should consider offering, how to get the proper training to safely provide these services, and how to position yourself as a leading electrification service provider in your community.

Expanding Services to Include EV Charging Solutions

The growing need for EV charging solutions creates new opportunities accessible to licensed electrical contractors. For those willing to expand the scope of their services, there is plenty of room for growth.

Identifying the Right Charging Products

Several factors are driving the demand for residential and commercial EV charging:

  • The 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act invested $7.5 billion in developing a modern charging infrastructure.
  • Automakers are expanding their EV lineups, with over 130 models available by 2024.
  • From lower purchase prices to increased consumer confidence, all conditions are favorable to the EV market and could result in 14 million sales by the end of 2023.
  • More commercial customers are also seeing the benefits of investing in EV charging upgrades, from fleets searching for savings to property managers or hospitality businesses looking to offer additional perks.

Meeting Diverse Customer Needs

A municipality working on a public project, a commercial customer looking to make a building more sustainable, and an EV owner searching for a convenient charging solution have vastly different needs.

As an electrical contractor, you can identify a smart charging solution adapted to each scenario to better meet the needs of your customers.

Understanding the Different EV Charging Levels

You should familiarize yourself with the different levels of EV charging:

  • Level 1 charging uses a traditional 120V outlet and requires no electrical upgrades. While it’s a viable solution for Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs), charging a Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV), or EV battery fully can take over 40 hours.
  • Level 2 is by far the most popular EV charging solution. Available in commercial and residential settings, it can charge an EV overnight but does require a specialized 240V circuit designed to manage continuous loads. Two-thirds of EV owners have a Level 2 charging station at home.
  • Level 3 or DC Fast Charging delivers 50 to 400kW and can charge an EV within 20 minutes to a few hours. It’s not a viable option for residential installations, but this product has a growing commercial market.

Upskilling and Training for Electrical Contractors

Knowledge and skills are crucial to expanding your electrical contractor business. You should become an EV expert, from best installation practices to EV charging innovations.

Certifications and Training

Working on 240V circuits has some safety hazards, and the risks are higher for DCFC charging stations and other commercial installation projects.

Using the wrong materials or failing to follow electrical and construction codes can harm you and those who use the charging infrastructure.

Not all states have official requirements for EV charging station installers, but some jurisdictions require certification through the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Training Program and some EVSE manufacturers will also require specialized training to install their chargers.

Even if your state doesn’t require an EVITP certification, it’s an excellent place to start learning about best practices. Reviewing your local building and electrical codes can also be helpful since many municipalities are updating these documents with EV charging provisions.

Keeping Up with the Latest Changes

Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) EV infrastructure standards were enacted in March 2023. These standards apply to projects that receive federal funding and require EV charging solutions that follow the Build America, Buy America Act regarding domestic assembly and component costs.

The latest version of the National Electric Code enacted in September 2022 also includes some new provisions for load calculations in EV charging.

These standards exemplify the budding regulatory environment that will keep growing along with the EV charging infrastructure.

Besides keeping up with the latest regulations, electrical contractors need to be in the know when it comes to tech innovations:

  • More EVs will support bidirectional charging shortly. A market for vehicle-to-grid, vehicle-to-home, and vehicle-to-load chargers will open.
  • Smart charging features and faster speeds will pave the way for the next generation of charging solutions.
  • Innovations like wireless or in-motion charging will transform the industry in the future.
  • Microgrid technology will transform how energy is sourced and shared by utilities and consumers, as the “prosumer” continues to rise.

Leveraging All Available Resources and Programs

Keeping up with programs offered at the federal, state, and utility levels means you can help your customers take advantage of the extra tax credits, rebates, and grants they might qualify for.

The EVITP and other organizations like the National Electrical Contractor’s Association (NECA) are additional helpful resources. When building your supply chain, the partners you select can also help you gain expertise in the products you install.

Lastly, states and local jurisdictions are actively regulating EV charging deployment and setting new best practices. Leveraging all these resources and programs will help you become a market leader.

Positioning Yourself as a Market Leader in Electrification

Experts believe the EV charging market will grow at a compund annual growth rate (CAGR) of over 30% between now and 2030. Depending on sources, there is a need for anywhere from 700,000 to 1.2 million public Level 2 chargers to keep up with the accelerating pace of EV adoption, and even more residential chargers will be needed.

EV charging is a relatively new market, and early adopters have the best chance of becoming tomorrow’s leaders.

Your Brand Reputation

A majority of customers are new to navigating EV charging solutions. They need a trustworthy professional who can make suitable recommendations.

Focusing on developing a solid brand reputation by emphasizing your knowledge and dedication to quality will help you become a recognized leader.

Beyond EV Charging

EV charging is just the beginning. There is a growing demand for other electrification services, and a successful EV charging station installation can establish your business as a go-to choice for the following projects:

Ensuring Quality and Safety With Best Practices

Developing your best practices will help you stand out from other installers.

The new standards rolled out by the FHWA and DOT, local electrical codes, building codes, and standards created by utility companies can be helpful starting points. Going beyond these standards will result in a strong reputation for quality and safety.

Finding the Right Partners

Building a network of EV charging equipment vendors will put you in a position to offer quality products to your customers while having a large selection of EV charging solutions.

Reach out to manufacturers, learn more about their products, find out how they ensure quality, and choose which brands you want to add to your portfolio.

Take the Next Step

EV charging solutions are a promising market for electrical contractors looking to explore new opportunities.

Learn more about how partnering with Qmerit can help your electrical contracting business embrace smart EV charging solutions and capitalize on the growing market opportunities in the electrification sector.

With over 269,000 EV charging stations installed, the Qmerit’s Certified Installer Network is emerging as an electrification leader.

By joining Qmerit’s network, you’ll have access to specialized training, exclusive contracts through our network of electrification partners, and the ability to build your business for the future. Contact Qmerit today to learn more about becoming a Certified Solutions Partner.

Author: David Santillo

David Santillo

Senior Vice President, Contractor Support