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July 13, 2021

EV Charging Installation 101 - What electrical contractors should know

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6 MIN. READ

As electric vehicles (EVs) grow in popularity and entire commercial fleets adopt them, electrical contractors are looking to offer solutions for this new customer base. It is an amazing chance to both serve market demand and reduce carbon emissions. However, many electrical contractors don’t know where to begin, finding the process complicated. This quick guide will get you started on offering EV charging installation services in your area.

The growing EV market

EVs continue to dominate automobile news headlines. Automakers are going full bore in this sector, and the trend is not slowing down. By 2025, EVs will make up 10% of the new car market. This will be a spark for new businesses and opportunities down the line.

  • Tesla has contributed to the mass popularity of EVs. They have launched several models including the Model S and Model 3.
  • There will be around 100 pure electric vehicle models by 2024.
  • Trucks, SUVs and high performance cars are gaining popularity in the EV segment. Notable entries include Ford’s F-150 Lightning and the Mustang Mach-E.
  • By 2030, there will be around 4 million EVs in California alone.
  • By 2040, 58% of global passenger vehicle sales will come from EVs.

As this segment grows and price and performance line up with the customer’s desire, you can expect this market to make inroads into the garages of the masses. And as EV charging installation becomes more accessible, this will expand the reach of EVs.

The demand for electricians is surging

As more people purchase EVs, other services and products will be in demand. Concerns around charging and distance are common, so the option to have charging stations at residences is gaining popularity. These at-home stations give the users an extra layer of security that they will be fully charged each night. It also opens up a new source of business for electrical contractors.

Charging stations are popping up in homes around major cities across the country. This enables contractors to offer EV charging installation and repair services. After all, the need to have convenient and accessible charging networks is vital for the success of the EV market. Electrical contractors will play a big role in this transition.

In order to make this shift, however, electricians need to gain a deeper understanding of EVs and the related markets.

What electrical contractors should understand about EVs

The EV market is wide-ranging. The segment has come a long way since the Toyota Prius and other early models. Now, the choices range from a sports car to pick-up trucks. Gone is the perception of a puttering, oddly shaped vehicle. The reality is that the newer EVs have groundbreaking speed, performance and styling.

Types of EVs include:

  • BEVs – Battery electric vehicles, also known as “pure electric vehicles.” These are powered by electricity by an onboard battery system. They do not have a gasoline engine, a fuel tank or exhaust pipes. They have to plug into a charging system to get juice, and they use regenerative braking to charge while driving.
  • HEVs– Hybrid electric vehicles, powered by both gasoline and electricity. They start with the electric motor, and when the range is low or if you need more power, the gasoline engine kicks in. The internal battery is charged by regenerative braking and not by an outside source.
  • PHEV – Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. These are similar to HEVs. However, they can be plugged into an outside source to charge internal batteries. The other difference is that they do have a zero-emission range when powered by a battery.
  • EREVs – Extended range electric vehicle, powered by an engine (using gasoline), a plug-in battery pack and an electric motor. This allows these vehicles to have a long range. They rely on electric power, and when needed, the gas motor kicks in to carry the load. With their primary reliance on electricity, these vehicles have low emissions.
  • FCEVs – Fuel cell electric vehicles. These have an internal fuel cell that uses hydrogen to create electricity to power the wheels of the vehicle. They do not need to be plugged in. Instead, the hydrogen cells need to be filled at a station. These are less common but still a great way to travel long ranges.

Among all of these choices, BEVs are becoming the most popular version. But, to stay charged, BEVs (and other EVs) need a source of electricity. They can connect in different ways and through charging systems and networks. They can also push electricity back to the power grid, which is a way to balance power based on supply and demand.

Understanding home charging stations

There a few types of EV charging installation stations, but the ones commonly used in homes are:

Level 1 charging– These are the most popular and use a standard 120-volt outlet that is common in homes. These are the least expensive method, but they are the slowest to charge an EV.

Level 2 charging – These can be used for both residential and commercial applications. For homes, it needs a 240-volt special plug. For commercial, it needs a 208-volt special plug. Indeed, Level 2 chargers cannot plug into a normal wall outlet. Thus, a qualified electrician needs to install Level 2, which creates opportunities for an enterprising contractor like you.

The benefit of these units is that they can provide a charge in as little as 2 hours. They can also pair with solar panels.

What customers want

In short, customers want convenience. They want the comfort and security of having a safe, clean charging experience at their home. As a customer, you would want to pull into your garage, plug in your car and come back fully charged in the morning. This is a major market opportunity.

Site assessment for residential installations

Residential customers require an onsite assessment to understand each situation. It requires that the customer owns the residence or has permission to install a charging unit. Once this is established, a qualified electrician can do the work. Permits will also need to be pulled.

Partner with Qmerit for EV charging installation

Qmerit has a Certified Solutions Partner (CSP)program that offers electrical contractors the opportunity to learn new techniques in the electrification field through in-depth training and continuing education programs.

This is an opportunity for contractors to build a new customer base, gain a new source of revenue and have the opportunity to gain repeat business through maintenance agreements.

Qmerit also provides top-notch training and continuing education to keep your team up to date with new technology. This may also raise your reputation in your local market.

The opportunity in the EV space for electrical contractors is growing. When you partner with Qmerit, it will open your business up to new chances to increase revenue.

To take advantage of this EV charging installation opportunity reach out to Qmerit today.