4 Things to Consider Before you Install an EV Charging Station
Los Angeles has already installed 2100 publicly available EV Charging Stations (EVCS) and plans to install 10,000 by 2022 . You read that right – within the next 3 years, we will have 5 times more charging stations. At Flux Energy Systems, we consider ourselves veterans of vehicle electrification. Twelve years ago, you could have spotted our founder zipping around her college on a solar powered scooter she designed for her physics thesis. Shortly thereafter, she was experimenting with the power electronics on a theoretical vehicle 2-grid charging station in Germany (Stromparkplätze für Elektrofahrzeuge ). These academic projects tested the integration of renewable energy and vehicle charging into the grid. Now, over a decade later, these projects are being installed at scale.
To process the massive influx of EV Chargers, utilities and permitting authorities have established comprehensive (yet evolving) codes, processes, and standards to help ensure the safety of the communities in which the EVCS are being installed. Over the past 6 months we have designed approximately 240 ports (1.4 MW of load for you solar folks) at 14 different project locations. Through that process we have learned some critical lessons.
1 - Do it right the first time. The jurisdictions have not been able to keep pace with the rapid increase in EVCS installations, so they are understaffed and slow. For a successful, timely installation of your new EVCS it is important to get everything done right for your permit submittal the first time to avoid time-consuming reviews.
2 - Know your loads. The addition of charging stations will result in a higher power requirements from your electric service. The utility will be checking to make sure their equipment can handle the additional load, but they move slowly. Have an engineer check your main switchboard, wiring, and transformer to make sure you don’t need to upgrade your system.
3- Avoid restriping your parking lot. Parking is an Angeleno’s greatest headache! There are entire chapters dedicated to ensuring compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Work with someone who knows the rules before you request a building permit. By designing this right, the first time around, you can save valuable time.
4- Check the rules for your rebate. Many utilities are offering rebates for the installation of EV Charging Stations. Read all the rules regarding the rebates very carefully or hire someone who knows the process. You don’t want to delay your rebate payment due to incorrect paperwork –or worse, have to rebuild your whole system to meet the rebate’s technical requirements. If you are financing the project, such a delay can drastically affect the ROI.
Zero Emission Vehicles are only getting more popular,  so the infrastructure will need to be built out. When you get started with these projects, work with qualified professionals to ensure your installations go smoothly!