Best Practices for Electric Vehicle Charging Stations in Los Angeles and Beyond
by Alison Brown
Completing an electric vehicle charging station project can be challenging. Given how tight parking is in Los Angeles, just ensuring that the relevant parking spaces are cleared in time for construction can be a challenge! That makes it even more important to ensure that the end of project commissioning goes smoothly. Here are five tips to help you get through that process.
Make sure you have a signal: When designing a project, especially in a parking garage, measure the availability of a cell signal. If you don’t have a strong cellular connection, then you might need to plan for the installation of cellular extenders or repeaters. By taking this extra time during your early site visits, you can purchase the right equipment that will better integrate with your selected equipment. You will also skip expedited shipment charges!
Communicate expectations clearly: Make sure the property owner understands all the steps that are required to complete a project. Having a frustrated property owner hindering access to the site or limiting your ability to complete the project will only make commissioning tougher. Understand the process and be thorough when defining project completion.
Make sure you chose a manufacturer that has good customer service.
Follow the rules: Make sure you understand the utility and city’s inspection requirements before you energize your equipment. Is commissioning allowed before you have final sign-off? Especially when you have a circuit dedicated to EVSC, you will need to coordinate final project commissioning with the utility. For instance, last year, LADWP stopped requiring the installation of an EV meter for participation in the rebate program. This change had impact on the final project designs and commissioning time frame. By staying up-to-date with the rebate specific requirements, you can avoid project delays.
Study the manual: Before you start pushing buttons and turning things on, study the commissioning section of the manual. Sometimes there are tips and tricks that will help you sequence your work to make sure the commissioning process is effective. As some industry professionals like to say: "RTFM (read the flipp'n manual)!"
If you get stuck, ask for help: As you work through your product selection, make sure you chose a manufacturer that has good customer service. With the quantity of EVSC being shipped, there will be a few duds. By having a strong relationship with the customer service, you will be able to get over-the-air diagnostics to understand why the EVSC may not be communicating with the cloud. Some manufacturers also allow you to schedule a commissioning call with their service team so someone is on standby to take your call if you have issues while on site.