Electrical Infrastructure

Your hotel may recognize an opportunity to drive revenue by offering electric vehicle (EV) charging for your guests and employees. As you pencil out your strategy for EV charger installation, it’s important to consider risk over the long term. 

The decision to offer EV charging to your guests involves the selection of the proper electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) to serve your specific use case. But that’s just a small part of any comprehensive plan.

You also have to consider the electrical infrastructure required to support your long-term strategy. Otherwise, your EVSE won’t function as you expect, and any future upgrades will require additional investment and business disruption. 

To minimize risk, any EV charger installation project must proactively consider your business’s future needs. Future Energy has found that long-term planning is the most significant aspect that businesses miss when considering total cost of ownership for EV chargers.

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Assembling a Trusted Team

The first step in incorporating EV charging solutions is to find a subject matter expert that you trust. The average contractor likely will lack experience in navigating utility company requirements for EV charging electrical infrastructure, let alone coordinating with your local municipality.

The installation of EV charging stations and the electrical infrastructure to support them is a complex process that requires an experienced, trusted team.

Understand Construction as a Means to an End

An experienced EV charging consultant understands that construction is a necessary part of the process that your business hopes to achieve: improving the client experience. 
It’s common to think about EV charging as a construction or a contractor conversation, when, in fact, it’s a business conversation. The expectations of your clients are changing. Done the right way, you can use EV charging to enhance your brand and attract clients.

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Keep Your Business Goals in Mind

Many companies make the mistake of purchasing EVSE without thinking about the big picture. It’s important to identify your business goals so that you can piece together a plan on how best to serve your clients and minimize risk over the long term. 

The installation of EV charging stations and the electrical infrastructure to support them is a complex process that requires an experienced, trusted team.

Choose an Experienced Partner to Minimize Risk

The electrical infrastructure that supports EV charging has its own unique challenges.  Inexperienced vendors, suppliers, and construction partners may not consider potential risk as they take on your project.

For example, your business may choose to offer level 3 charging, which uses 480-volt, three-phase power to fully charge a vehicle in about a half hour. You may rush to purchase the expensive equipment and contract an electrician to supervise installation.

However, if the electrical infrastructure fails to support the power needs of the level 3 chargers, you will have wasted money and effort. Without proactive planning to install the correct infrastructure, you may end up with “fast chargers” that work at only 10% of their capacity. Worst of all, you may not be aware of the issue until the project is complete. 

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Preparing for Business Disruption

The installation of EV chargers likely will disrupt your normal business flow. The project will require some construction, whether it’s the relatively simple installation of EVSE to large-scale excavation of pavement. But the extent of this disruption will vary depending on a number of factors.

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Working with the Utility

Future Energy smooths the process by coordinating with your local utility to install the electrical infrastructure to support your use case. This includes the identification, submission, and preparation of all necessary permits. 

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Recognizing Requirements by Location

The time and cost of the electrical infrastructure project depend in large part on the distance between the utility drop and where you wish to place your chargers.

The utility may just have to trench a few feet and drop an infrastructure equipment pad to stabilize the transformer and current transformer cabinet. Or your requirements may call for digging up a couple of hundred feet of parking lot to run a conduit through a trench.

Plus, a four-story hotel with a surface lot in a small town clearly will have different requirements than a 70-story hotel in Manhattan with a parking deck. Hotels with a garage will need to allow the space and consider how the electrical needs impact the actual facility.

Future Energy has experience matching your electrical infrastructure needs to the specific constraints of your location. We understand the requirements, whether you plan to offer EV charging at a location that is indoor or outdoor, urban or rural, straightforward or complex.

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Saving Six to 12 Months by Addressing Electrical Needs Early

Future Energy has found that companies who address their electrical infrastructure needs at the start of a project save significant time on their project. Specifically, you can install your EV chargers six to 12 months sooner than if you had waited to work through the process with the utility. 

Furthermore, Future Energy has found that a proactive plan gives your company a leg up. This is based on our experience in all 50 states of the US and nine provinces of Canada. Businesses that offer the utility a detailed plan for their electrical infrastructure increase the likelihood that the utility will handle their cases first. Utilities favor businesses that are best prepared.

Identifying EV Charging Costs 

Future Energy helps to align your internal stakeholders on strategy. It’s a tricky balance between immediate time and budgetary needs and long-term goals and potential risk. 

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Initial Costs

Short-term costs are only a small part of the puzzle when considering the cost of EV chargers. The price of the actual EVSE varies depending on the speed of charging and the quality of the equipment. Your business also needs to consider related soft costs, such as custom striping, bollards, and safety equipment. Additionally, software and networking costs contribute to the investment.  

But low initial costs are not always a value proposition for EV charging. 

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Long-Term Costs

EV chargers require specific electrical infrastructure to maximize value. It may be tempting to dig up your property now to quickly address immediate EV charging needs. However, you almost certainly will have to repeat the expensive construction years from now when it’s time to upgrade. Planning your electrical infrastructure needs with foresight minimizes cost—and risk—in the long term.

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Cost Offsets from the Utility

In many cases, you can offset the cost of upgrading your electrical infrastructure through national, state, and local incentives. Some states and municipalities cover 100% of the cost from the utility side. But funds are available primarily on a first come, first served basis. Future Energy goes after this available money for our clients using our Financial Incentive National Database (FIND) tool.

Utilities differ in their price sheets, their methods of operation, and their requirements for distribution. Future Energy is familiar with the “rule book” for utilities throughout North America, and we bring this experience to your project. 

Choosing an Experienced Partner

Save time and money on your EV charging project by choosing a partner with the knowledge and experience to simplify the process for your business. Contact Future Energy today to find out how our experience can help your company address your electrical infrastructure needs.