EV Infrastructure: What Do You Need?
One of the most challenging issues facing owners considering installing EV charging technology is infrastructure. EV technology isn’t self-contained. It requires power supplied by a local utility, wiring to convey that power, a conduit to house the wires, and charging stations. Retrofitting existing parking facilities to accommodate this infrastructure can be challenging and including it in new development requires careful planning.
WHAT TO CONSIDER
The first consideration when installing electrical vehicle charging is what is available from the utility or your existing electrical service. In existing installations, it is important to engage with an electrical engineer or contractor to help you understand what is available to you to use for the installation of EV chargers. Tasks such as site investigations, demand metering, and electric load analysis are key to understanding what your existing equipment can handle.
When dealing with new construction, it is important to discuss your needs with your electrical engineer. Electrical engineers can perform preliminary load analysis to understand what impacts your EV needs will have on your system size and voltage. In addition, once these impacts are understood, it is important to reach out to your local utility to ensure they can provide the power you require and determine what equipment may be needed for your site.
It’s essential to consider not just immediate EV infrastructure needs, but anticipated needs over the next decade or so. Integrating EV technology is simplest in new construction as your considerations merely consist of running wires and conduits to charging stations as part of your initial construction process. In existing installations, the construction is more complicated. In addition to the study required to understand your existing electrical service, you will also need to consider your structure. The type of structure (wood frame, block, and plank, cast in place, or post-tension) will have an effect on the ease of installation and cost.
It is important when dealing with existing installations to engage a designer and/or construction consultant who is familiar with your building type to provide you with an accurate analysis and report for what will be required. Due to economies of scale, you will want to consider panel and conduit installations that are appropriate to serve both the current and future needs of your site.
Make sure you enlist a firm familiar with EV charging infrastructure and construction requirements for your next project.