July 21, 2023

EV Charger Maintenance Costs Don't Need to Break the Bank

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8 Min. Read

As more and more electric vehicles (EVs) hit the roads, the need for reliable and accessible EV charging stations grows.

However, just like any other electrical equipment, EV chargers require regular maintenance to ensure their functionality and longevity, and unexpected maintenance costs are bound to happen occasionally. The cost of maintenance can be a significant concern for EV charger owners.

Fortunately, there are steps that can be taken to minimize these costs. Understanding the differences in maintenance needs between Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 charging stations is essential, as is implementing preventative maintenance measures and utilizing warranties.

By doing so, EV charger maintenance costs don’t need to break the bank, and EV owners can enjoy the benefits of accessible charging without incurring unexpected expenses. In this article, we will explore the maintenance costs associated with different levels of EV chargers and discuss ways to minimize these costs while maximizing the return on investment (ROI).

Maintenance by Level

While different charging levels will face different maintenance needs, those issues can greatly vary depending on the intricacies of the technology. Understanding what preventative maintenance can be done for each level is key.

EV charger maintenance averages at approximately $400 per station for annual fees on Level 1 and Level 2 charging stations. Level 3 DC fast charging stations can cost nearly double for maintenance per charger, depending on warranties, however these chargers are more common for commercial use. You should take maintenance costs into consideration when installing one or more chargers to avoid unexpected expenses.

Level 1 EV charging stations generally have the lowest maintenance cost.

Level 1 EV chargers are less complex where moving parts are concerned. That means there are fewer areas where errors could occur. Frequent inspections, preventative maintenance, and storage conditions all play an integral role in the potential costs. Preventative maintenance could include cleaning cables or periodically changing a commercial-grade electrical outlet. While these chargers are both cheaper to install and require less maintenance, they are also less likely to satisfy charging needs as they only provide 3-5 miles of range added per hour of charging.

Level 2 EV charging stations are prone to have higher maintenance costs than Level 1 chargers due to their size, location, and complexity.

Level 2 EV chargers are the most recommended EV charging station for regular use, as they are often more susceptible to wear and tear outside of traditional plugging and unplugging. Weather and increased frequency of use are among some of the elements causing increased maintenance costs. Level 2 charging stations also have more moving parts, which increases their complexity. This is the most common charger type as, while it does require a professional installation, Level 2 chargers are capable of providing a full charge in 4-10 hours, depending on the model of charger and electric vehicle.

DCFC, or Level 3, EV charging stations require consistent preventative maintenance based on usage, which increases costs.

DCFC EV chargers are even more intricate, but these charging stations are generally only found in public or commercial spaces due to the high cost and prohibitive electrical needs. Their technologies include cooling systems and the need for filtration. Unlike Level 1 and Level 2 charging stations, DCFC stations require minimal routine maintenance; however, without that maintenance, multiplicative problems may occur. Issues with one part may cause issues with others and improper use can lead to stations being out of service. DCFC chargers are an excellent choice for distance travel and can fully charge and electric car in approximately 30 minutes to an hour, frequent use should be avoided as using these chargers more than three times a month has been linked to an increased risk of battery degredation in EVs.

Individual units have varying price margins based on the model and not all makes and models will incur the same repair costs for similar maintenance. Differences may include whether or not a unit has network capabilities as any additional components are subject to additional maintenance costs or more detailed preventive care.

Maintenance Frequency

EV technology is relatively new, so the industry can only estimate the lifespan of chargers to be approximately 10 years. Factors that are out of your control will cause the most wear and tear, increasing the need for maintenance.

The number of miles driven dictates maintenance on a vehicle. Charging stations similarly require attention. The more drivers that utilize these stations and the higher the frequency of use, the higher the potential risk of damage.

Location and weather patterns significantly affect chargers as moisture from humidity, rain, and high temperatures can make the spring and summer months especially harmful to these units. Additionally, cold weather can lead to other issues arising with your charging station, so it’s important to be aware of potential issues, take precautionary measures, and routinely maintain your charger.

Therefore, consider the time of year when it comes to the frequency of preventative maintenance. Wiping down the equipment with moist towels and detergent plus securing the cables in weather-resistant locations will improve overall longevity.

Increasing ROI

EV charging station owners, for the most part, will directly control the benefits of their EV charging stations. You should assume that the cost will be average at a minimum. EV charging station owners, especially those with multiple chargers, can charge associated fees to cover the EV charger maintenance costs.

Many states have laws preventing non-utilities from selling electricity. Standard practices for alternative fees included session, time, or subscription-based payments. Utilizing these payments to pay for preventative maintenance will reduce out-of-pocket costs while increasing the life of each charger between maintenance.

Refusing to take the time or invest the funds for preventative EV charger maintenance will cost you money. Fortunately, there are incentives for investing in the life of the unit. EV companies also have incentives to alleviate much, all of, or more than the total financial burden associated with keeping units in fully working condition.

The incentives may alleviate costs in one area. You can use those savings to pay for other things, such as maintenance fees.

Utilizing Warranties

Warranties for EV chargers come with various options depending on the manufacturer. Manufacturers may have the warranty price included in the equipment’s purchase price. The warranty may be sold separately. There may also be a set duration in which the equipment is covered.

Paying attention to which of these options are available is paramount for the consumer. Not having warranty coverage can lead to costly repairs if chargers were to break. Opting out of warranties will not directly increase ROI, and it would be crucial to keep up with maintenance.

Establish whether the installer, site host or charging network is responsible for charger maintenance. Draw up contracts that include the percentage of functional time for the chargers, time of repairs and maintenance, and response time. For the site hosts, this is especially important for maximizing ROI and is why maintenance agreements are so critical.

Existing Infrastructure

Most EV owners love their electric vehicles and plan to buy another when the time comes; however, they are discouraged by the number of inoperable public chargers. Service providers say that upwards of 95–98% of charging stations were functional, which appears to be underreported.

EV owners also are concerned about the number of EV charging stations. The rise of EV ownership and the transition away from internal combustion engines will come with a large increase in EV infrastructure. That reinforces the need for installers, owners and networks to establish all ownership. Communication and understanding of terms should directly reflect the percentage of fully functional and well-maintained EV stations.

Tom Moloughney goes in-depth on the dangers of free DC fast charging. The lithium-ion batteries in EVs will have faster degradation rates when using DCFC. Along with basic maintenance, this will actively reduce the life of an EVs battery, which can be exceedingly costly to replace. Battery replacements may be as much as half the price of an EVs initial cost. Along with the warranties on chargers themselves, EV owners often get incentives that give them free charging for long durations.

Level 1 or Level 2 charging at home is the least taxing on the EV battery, while Level 3 charging is the fastest. One of the common downsides to Level 3 charging would be the cost-to-benefit ratio. Eliminating the cost of a leased EV will alleviate both problems for the EV owners.

These incentives push people that would not otherwise frequent public charging stations to do so with increasing frequency. That’s more wear and tear on those chargers. With increased usage, there is more potential for damage, making those warranties that much more valuable.

2030 Electrification Goals

Curiosity surrounds the rising need for EV charging stations, especially as many OEMs have committed to fully electric vehicle models in the coming years. The deadlines that the federal government has established for installing these charging stations to support EV adoption and emission goals is rapidly approaching.

EV charging stations installed across the country have increased rapidly over the past several years, but electrical charging infrastructure will need to be rapidly expanded to meet goals of 300,000 charging points by the year 2030, and many experts claim that even these numbers will be inadequate. Nearly six times the current quantity of charging stations is also going to require increased maintenance personnel.

The number of workers in the industry won’t necessarily grow as rapidly as the stations being built, making it even more crucial for station owners to find a qualified electrician to perform preventative maintenance and reduce the risk of costly repairs.

Getting Started Today

Maintenance is crucial to ensure the functionality and longevity of your chargers, and unexpected costs can easily arise without routine care for your charging station. As the most trusted electrification installer in North America, Qmerit is here to help you with your electrification journey.

At Qmerit, we understand the importance of investing in proper care for your EV charger – a decision that not only ensures the safety and efficiency of your charger but also extends the lifespan. That’s why we offer comprehensive EV charging station installations and electrification services to make it easy for you to install and maintain your charger.

Our team of certified electricians is highly knowledgeable and experienced in handling EV chargers, and with over 269,000 electric vehicle charging stations installed to date, there’s a reason why so many auto manufacturers, EVSE manufacturers, businesses, and homeowners trust Qmerit. With regular inspections and customized maintenance plans tailored to your specific climate and conditions, we ensure that your charger remains in peak condition for years to come.

Contact Qmerit today to start reaping the benefits of reliable, efficient, and safe EV charging infrastructure.

Author: Greg Sowder Greg Sowder President, Qmerit Network