May 28, 2024

How Much Does a Commercial EV Charging Station Cost? The 3 Top Factors to Consider


8 Min. Read

With the increasing popularity of electric vehicles (EVs), installing EV chargers on commercial properties supports company sustainability goals, enhances customer and employee satisfaction, and creates new revenue streams while positioning your company as a leader in addressing ESG.

Retail shoppers, moviegoers, and employees appreciate the added value of transforming downtime into charging time—and they’re willing to pay for the convenience. This means generating an additional, solid revenue stream for owners and capitalizing on available parking spaces with this new amenity.

But when it comes to making such a large upfront investment, one of the key considerations for commercial property owners is, “How much does a commercial EV charging station cost?”

Although there is an initial expense involved in installing commercial EV chargers, incentives, and an efficient revenue models can help balance the cost, ultimately influencing your return on investment (ROI) and creating a profitable future for your property.

This article will explore the top three factors to consider when installing commercial EV charging stations and discuss how commercial property owners can leverage incentives and rebates to make their electrification projects even more lucrative.

Commercial EV Charging Station Hardware and Technology Costs

How much does a commercial EV charging station cost? There are 3 EV charger hardware types, each with increasing capabilities, and the first step in determining cost is to choose the right EV charging station for your commercial property by determining what makes the most sense at your location.

EV Charger Hardware Types

  • Level 1 EV Charger

Level 1 chargers are the simplest and least capable type of EV charger, requiring only a standard 120V outlet, but only providing only two to five miles of charging per hour. It can take a Level 1 charger 40-50 hours to fully charge an EV, making it unsuitable for commercial use.

  • Level 2 EV Charger

Requiring a dedicated 240V circuit with AC energy and professional installation by a licensed electrician with EV charger installation experience, this type of EV charging station provides 20-40 miles of range per charging hour with the ability to fully charge an EV in 4 to 10 hours.

Offering Level 2 EV charging is a good option for commercial properties where customers, employees, or guests might expect to park overnight or for several hours at a time—for example, commercial office facilities, multifamily buildings, theme parks, and hotels.

Costs for equipment range from $500 to $10,000 per charger depending on the features and style of charger you select. For example, a wall-mounted commercial EV charger will typically cost less than a pedestal commercial EV charger, and additional features such as “smart charger” capabilities or multiple charging ports will also impact the price of your charging station.

When it comes to installation costs, the price will depend on various factors such as the complexity of the installation, distance from the chargers to a power source or electric panel, and any other service or infrastructure upgrades required to support the charging stations. On average, Level 2 commercial EV charging station installations will cost anywhere from $600 to $12,700.
Site acquisition, preparation, and permitting for commercial EV charging station installation are extra and will vary depending on your local prices and requirements, but your licensed electrician will be able to further assist.

  • Level 3 EV Charger

Level 3 EV charging stations are the most complex and costly type of EV charger, requiring the most energy and added complexities for installation that generally require a licensed electrician with additional training and certification for Level 3 EV charger installation.

Also referred to as Direct Current Fast Charging (DCFC), these high-powered EV chargers require a 480V DC utility service, and as such, are more commonly found in public spaces that are well-traveled and have access to this type of power.

Offering the fastest charging speeds at 50-250 miles of range per charging hour, DC Fast Chargers can refuel an EV in 30 minutes to 1 hour. Because the charge time is quite short, DC Fast Chargers are best suited for high-traffic locations with limited time for charging, such as malls, grocery stores, or retail stores.

Costs for equipment range from $20,000 to $50,000, and up to $50,000 per unit for electrical labor, but similarly to Level 2 EV charging stations, the features of the DCFC selected and the complexity and distance or additional upgrades needed to support these chargers will have a direct impact on the price of both the chargers themselves and the cost of the installation. Additionally, site acquisition, preparation, and permitting are not included and vary by location.

Smart Charging and Other Charging Technology

Smart charging technologies can add greater value for high-volume commercial charging sites. For example, chargers designed to optimize charging hours for the lowest utility rates can be installed. If they can charge within customer time frames, they can minimize your electricity cost and increase your margin.

Additionally, chargers with accompanying software that can notify users when their vehicle is nearing or has finished its charging cycle can help minimize idle chargers, and depending on your billing model, you may be able to implement fines or by-the-minute fees for vehicles left plugged in after they have finished charging to incentivize customers to responsibly charge.

If you are further seeking to maximize your profits, installing solar panels or battery storage to power the charging stations can help to further offset your long-term costs and increase your total project profitability.

Other Selection Criteria

In addition to capacity considerations, it is important to ensure that your charging site supports both your business and customer needs.

Understanding factors including when and how long your chargers will be used, the projected daily number of users, the size and traffic of your commercial location, as well as the length of time users park there, will help determine the proper charging infrastructure needed to meet customer demand.

Installation and Site Preparation Costs

The next factor to take into consideration is the cost associated with installation and site preparation, which vary by location and work needed to support the EV chargers.

The costs associated with installing a commercial EV charging project can be substantial, and estimates are difficult to determine without experience and knowledge of these factors, so it pays to work with an expert partner who is experienced in commercial site installation.

After determining charging needs based on customer projections, your licensed electrician can help you to create and address a checklist of costs. Assuming you own the property, these can include, among others:

  • Number and type of chargers.
  • Charger manufacturer.
  • Charging station software.
  • Site preparation (excavation, plumbing, concrete).
  • Utility service upgrades.
  • Labor.
  • Permits.
  • Taxes (and check the effect of revenue-producing property on real estate taxes).
  • Licensing.
  • Landscaping.

Ongoing Maintenance Costs

When determining how much does a commercial EV charging station cost in the long-term, you will also need to factor in the maintenance of your EV charging site. A proper maintenance program includes:

  • Regular inspection and cleaning.
  • Scheduled software updates, such as point of sale (POS) and operating software.
  • Safety inspections of key electrical components following IEC 61851, UL 2202, and IEC 60364-7-722 standards.
  • National Electric Code (NEC) compliance audits.
  • Low-voltage cable and connection checks.
  • Seasonal inspections and care.
  • Cooling system checks.

Although routine maintenance may seem initially unnecessary, investing in proper maintenance upfront can prevent significant and expensive failures down the line with increased station downtime. Station outages as a result of negligence not only incur greater costs for repair, but also decrease the availability of your chargers—a critical customer expectation that can negatively impact your business’s reputation and the revenue of your chargers.

Working with a licensed EV charger installer and scheduling regular maintenance will help ensure your charging stations remain in excellent condition and continue to generate revenue for years to come. While the charger manufacturer is generally responsible for charger software updates, your electrical contractor will be responsible for ongoing maintenance per any maintenance agreements you purchase, and the POS provider will manage the maintenance of the sale system.

You can use your on-site technicians to carry out basic cleaning tasks, and having a member of your staff dedicated to overseeing and ensuring this general care occurs can help mitigate future challenges.

Paying for the Commercial EV Charging Project

EV charging stations can be a significant asset for commercial property owners, but the steep upfront cost can certainly serve as a deterrent without taking into consideration the available rebates and incentives for commercial property owners, as well as the long-term profitability of this project.

So how much does a commercial EV charging station cost? As discussed, the three key drivers are:

  • Charging station hardware and technology.
  • EV charger installation and site preparation.
  • Ongoing maintenance.

Fortunately, most of these costs are subject to significant tax credits or rebates for commercial property owners, and your licensed commercial electrical contractor can assist you in determining the applicable cost incentives at the federal, state, local, and utility levels for your project.

For example, the Federal Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (IRA) provides tax credits of up to $100,000 per commercial EV charger, but it is important to note that there are certain requirements that must be met and failure to comply with these requirements can lead to the reduction or elimination of incentives.

EV charging stations can be a significant asset for commercial property owners and managers and it is important to partner with a trusted company to ensure that your investment is the most efficient for your business.

Partner With Qmerit

As the largest and most experienced EV charger installation network in North America, Qmerit’s extensive network of qualified electrical contractors has the experience and knowledge to simplify your choice of charging station and installer. Our dedicated team of professionals can take the heavy lifting out of selecting your EV chargers and budgeting your projects and will help you manage the EV transition from start to finish to mitigate risks all along the way and ensure your EV charger installation is seamless, safe, efficient, and completed on time.

Financial incentives at the state, utility, and federal levels are evolving all the time. With years of experience navigating the available incentives and evolving requirements for qualifications, we have the expertise to help you receive every benefit you are entitled to, without the stress.

With over 450,000 EV charging stations installed, the Qmerit Installer Network leads North America in electrification and our team is here to help you navigate all your energy transition needs.

Learn more about our turnkey solutions for Commercial EV Charging or give us a call at (888) 272-0090 to see why we’re North America’s most trusted EV charger installer.