Charging Station Host Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What makes for a good charging station location?
For a cost-effective and successful charging station installation site owners should consider how much use they can expect and how much benefit electric vehicle (EV) drivers can get from charging while parked at that location. The best way to ensure that your charging station is used is to know that a resident, employee, or regular client owns an EV and wants to charge it at your location.
- Learn what makes a “sweet spot” location, places where EV users will want and need to charge their cars, in the EVSE Cluster Analysis Study [PDF].
- Consult the New York State EV Registration Map to understand how many EV drivers live near you.
What type of charging station should I install?
There are several kinds of charging stations -- including Level 1, Level 2 and DC Fast Charging – so the one you choose will depend on a number of factors. These include expected customer use cases, cost and site design considerations. The good news is that as a site host you have many charging station installation options and NYSERDA has the information and resources to support you.
What site design factors affect installation cost?
Charging station installation costs can exceed the cost of the hardware itself and are influenced by a number of design factors that should be considered such as:
- Currently available electrical service. All new charging station installations should have a load analysis performed on the facility’s electrical demand to determine if there is capacity to add EV charging stations. AC Level 2 stations will need a dedicated 240-volt (40 amp) circuit and upgrading electrical service may be necessary.
- Distance between the electrical panel and the charging station. A longer distance between the electrical panel and the EV charging station means higher installation costs because it increases the amount of necessary trenching (and repair), conduit, and wire. It is desirable to minimize the distance between the electrical panel and EV charging station as much as possible while also considering the location of the charging station on the property.
- Location of charging station on the property. Consider the impact of placing the charging station at a particular location on the property. For example, placing charging station parking spaces in the back of a building might discourage their use, but other customers may be upset if a charging station is installed in prime parking spaces that often remain vacant because there are few EV drivers.
Other considerations have less impact on installation costs but can impact how effective the station is at benefiting EV drivers and other clients. Some of these include the path the charging cord takes when in use and parking lot management practices.
Can I charge people for using my charging station?
Yes, you are allowed to charge people for using your station although many station owners choose to provide free charging as an enticement or benefit. An example of this is an employer offering free charging to their employees and customers. If you decide to charge for use there are a number of factors to consider in determining what works best for you.
Charging for use depends on venue. Your decision will depend in part on the venue where it is operating. In some areas of New York State, particularly in the larger cities, some garages that charge for parking may find clients that are willing to pay extra for EV charging on a regular basis because they do not have the ability to charge at their residence.
Charging for use depends on site installation purpose. Profit generated by the station is not the only opportunity to generate a return on investment from the charging station. Charging stations might attract EV drivers who then patronize your business, retain valuable employees, or provide a sense of your environmental stewardship which might help attract EV and non-EV residents, employees, or customers.
How charging for use works. Station owners can charge for use per hour, per session, or per unit of electricity.
- Per Hour: If you charge per hour, there is a set cost for any vehicle whether it is charging or not, and different vehicles receive electricity at different rates, so the cost of energy may vary widely by charging session.
- Per Session: This is usually more appropriate for workplace charging or charging stations that have very short, regular sessions.
- Per Unit of Energy (usually kilowatt-hour [kWh]): This accurately accounts for the true cost of electricity for the charging station owner, but does not give an incentive for a car that is fully charged to leave the space
Some site owners have tried combinations of these approaches, such as charging a flat rate for the first two hours, then an increasing rate for longer sessions. Some locations might prefer to lower their operating expenses by not joining a charging station network and offering charging for free.
How do I direct people to my station?
Many EV drivers find charging stations through mobile phone apps or online maps. Belonging to a charging station network often provides additional exposure on these tools but the following
sites include any charging station that they are made aware of:
What policies should I consider for my station?
- Charging Station Signage [PDF]. Signage helps notify everyone of the policies in place for using the stations. Most importantly, the charging station parking spaces should be available for EVs so you may want to restrict other vehicles from parking in these spaces. As demand for parking spaces with charging stations increases, you may want to implement further restrictions, such as ensuring that EVs parked there are actually charging or setting a time limit for how long an EV can charge there. A sign can inform drivers of the policy, but to be effective, you must also enforce the policy through tickets or towing of unauthorized vehicles as necessary.
- Charging Station Protocol [PDF]. EV drivers have recently debated charging protocol, particularly in workplaces and multifamily buildings where an EV might occupy the charging station space for longer than it requires to fully charge. A vehicle that just needs “topping off” may remain plugged into a charging station for the full workday, which limits access for others. At workplaces or multifamily buildings, it might be useful to establish charging protocols that address access, priority, and EV driver communication to handle potential charging conflicts.
Why is workplace charging so important?
As many people drive to work and EV drivers like to top off their charge whenever possible offering workplace charging is a great employee benefit for employers to offer. In fact, charging at work can as much as double employee EV all-electric daily commuting range. For employers, workplace charging can help attract and retain a cutting-edge workforce and demonstrates leadership in adopting clean energy technologies.
- NYSERDA's Workplace Charging Brochure [PDF] provides overviews of the benefits of installing charging stations at workplaces and guidance on the process of planning, installing, and managing EV charging infrastructure
- The Department of Energy’s Workplace Charging site offers guidance on engaging employees to take advantage of this benefit, as well as detailed information on evaluating, planning for, installing, and managing workplace charging
What are DC fast charging stations?
DC fast charging utilizes direct-current (DC) energy transfer and a 480-volt alternating current (AC) input to provide extremely rapid recharges at heavily used public charging locations. Depending on the EV, DC fast charge stations can provide an 80% recharge in as little as 20 minutes. Charging speeds depend on a car’s battery size and charging hardware, but many EVs can now charge in excess of 100 kW (more than 100 miles of range in 20 minutes). DC fast charging is primarily an option for all-electric vehicles. Few plug-in hybrid EVs can use DC fast chargers. There are three main connectors for DC fast chargers; EVs that can use DC fast chargers are only compatible with one of the following:
- SAE Combined Charging System (CCS) is a widely accepted charging standard used by most automakers
- CHAdeMO is a common charging standard primarily used by Nissan and Mistubishi
- Tesla’s Supercharger Network is based on a proprietary charging technology that can only be used by Tesla’s own cars
A number of public and private companies are building more charging stations in New York State and beyond, including the New York Power Authority, Electrify America, EVgo, ChargePoint, Greenlots, and more.