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The Benefits and Challenges of Installing EV Charging Stations

May 7, 2024 | Public | 0 comments

With the increased popularity of electric vehicles (EVs), modern mobility is propelling us toward a greener future. EVs have emerged as one of the most promising solutions to combating climate change and reducing our dependence on fossil fuels, yet the continued growth of the EV market greatly depends on the development and installation of a robust and reliable charging infrastructure.

While EV demand has boomed, the current charging infrastructure has struggled to keep pace. There are currently about 138,100 charging stations in the United States, which—while similar to the number of gas stations available—is not enough to support the rapid growth of EVs. Recently, the Biden administration pledged to install an additional 500,000 charging stations in the United States by 2030. This promise to expand the EV charging station infrastructure has led many to wonder about the benefits and challenges that come with charging station installs.

Although many of the benefits of the growing EV adoption nationwide are evident, such as greener transportation and reduced emissions, the challenges faced by expanding the EV charging infrastructure are not quite as clear. Here, we dive into both, analyzing what people from retail stores to college campuses to corporate areas may wish to consider before installing EV charging stations in their spaces.

Benefits

The benefits of installing EV charging stations are multifaceted. The obvious environmental benefits are what most people initially consider. EV use leads to a reduction in greenhouse gases; the better the charging infrastructure, the better the EV adoption. Local air quality can also be significantly improved by more people driving EVs.

The installation of EV charging stations also has widespread economic benefits. Jobs directly connected to the installation and maintenance of 500,000 new charging stations will be in great demand, as will the jobs that train and certify those workers. There is also a significant opportunity for revenue generation through charging stations through user fees, attracting people to businesses that offer charging and advertising opportunities.

Still, the main benefit of more EV charging stations is convenience, as EV drivers are currently experiencing what many refer to as “charging anxiety”—the fear that when they need a charge, there will not be a working charging station available for them. Installing more charging stations enhances accessibility for EV drivers, supporting longer trips and greater EV adoption.

Challenges

The installation of EV charging stations on one’s property presents a wide array of challenges, some of which people may not have considered before. The primary issue is cost, as it can often cost thousands of dollars to install the EV charging station, and there are additional costs involved in proper maintenance for those stations.

Locations interested in offering EV charging often have to balance public and private funds to make the installation happen. There are, however, grants available through the government for commercial EV charging station installation. Different levels of chargers can be installed, and businesses seeking to offer EV charging but wanting to save money may consider installing a Level I or Level II charging station, depending on their needs.

Another challenge is the strain on the power supply and grid capacity. In high-demand areas, installing a new charging station may strain the existing power grid too much. Strategic pre-planning is needed to accommodate the increased power needs of an EV charging station installation, which is where alternative energy sources such as battery or solar power can come into play.

Regulatory hurdles can also stand in the way of installations, as EV charging station installs frequently involve certain complex permit and regulatory requirements, such as making the charging station more uniform to accessibility issues for disabled users. Any business or organization that wishes to install an EV charging station at their location must be aware of these regulations—be they local, state-wide, or federal.

Technology can also be a challenge, as many people tapped to work on EV charging stations may not be adequately trained in the specific EV charging technology, leading to widespread downtime for charging stations. Additionally, compatibility issues have thrown a wrench in EV adoption. Tesla, for example, has its own Supercharger network that is largely incompatible with the charging needs of other EV models, which has recently prompted some EV automakers including Ford, BMW, Honda, Kia, Toyota, and more to adopt Tesla’s NACS charging standard.

Lastly, the EV industry is one where technology is constantly evolving. Those who work in the industry and wish to install EV charging stations must be aware of the changing technology and how to implement it.

Expanding a more robust EV charging station infrastructure represents a pivotal step toward a more sustainable future, though it remains evident that the expansion of this network to serve the needs of EV drivers is not without its obstacles. However, among the challenges lie seemingly endless opportunities for innovation, revenue building, and progress.

EV charging stations offer commercial locations a chance at job creation, enhanced convenience to their customers, and new revenue streams—all while reducing harmful emissions. This highlights how the installation of EV charging stations is not only a smart business move but also a move toward greater societal transformation overall.

Elaina Farnsworth is co-founder and CEO of SkillFusion, a digital customer service platform for training, certification, and compliance of electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) electricians, technicians, and EV-ComTechs.

The post The Benefits and Challenges of Installing EV Charging Stations appeared first on Facilities Management Advisor.

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