Electric Charging Points Cost – One of the numbers thrown around for months by the Biden administration is that it plans to deploy “500,000 electric vehicle charging stations.” And now that the Senate version of the Biden infrastructure bill is close to passing, an estimated $10 billion could potentially be funded in grants to build electric vehicle charging infrastructure in the United States.
But how many charging “stations” (eg, chargers, ports, individual charging connections) will the last number in front of the word “millions” actually fund?
Electric Charging Points Cost
First of all, why did I say $10 billion? The Senate bill allocates $7.5 billion not only to electric vehicle charging infrastructure, but also to “hydrogen fuel infrastructure, propane fuel infrastructure, and natural gas infrastructure.”
Installation Costs Of Electric Car Charging Stations By Type
“… a grant program to strategically deploy publicly accessible electric vehicle charging infrastructure, hydrogen fueling infrastructure, propane fueling infrastructure, and natural gas fueling infrastructure in designated alternative fuel corridors or elsewhere accessible to all electric drivers vehicles, hydrogen vehicles, propane vehicles and natural gas vehicles”.
I haven’t heard how these costs might be allocated to different types of electric infrastructure, but my best guess is that $5 billion of the $7.5 billion could go to EV charging infrastructure. Second, according to an analysis by Jeff Davis at the Eno Center for Transportation, there is an additional $5 billion earmarked for EV charging infrastructure in USDOT grants to be provided through state and local governments.
So with that out of the way, let’s go back to the question “How many electric vehicle charging stations will $10 billion buy for America?”
The short answer is, “It depends,” because the cost of deploying electric vehicle charging stations has several variables. This includes:
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Contact Carl Pancutt, CEO of high-power electric vehicle charging deployment company Cleantek, for help with the increasing costs of deploying DC fast chargers.
As you can see from the cost examples below, the actual hardware costs are usually more than 50% of the total project cost. Other costs include:
Add all those costs up and you’re looking at $40,000 for a 50kW DC fast charger to over $400,000 for a 350kW DC fast charger. These are the costs per charger. The more DC fast chargers installed per site, the lower the cost per charger due to the high cost of additional electricity and construction.
Do you think these costs are accurate? In a recent Wall Street Journal article, Cathy Zoi, CEO of charging network EVgo, said it costs the company about $110,000 to deploy a DC fast charger. And so the costs of deploying a charging location with four charging units is close to half a million, or one with 8 chargers, almost a million dollars.
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“Each parking lot costs about $110,000 to build and the loading units. When we’re talking about building a station, we’re talking about half a million to a million dollars in capital.” – Cathy Zoi, CEO – EVgo
In the North Carolina example above, the cost is $100,000 for one 50 kW charger and in the Baltimore example, $137,500 to deploy two 50 kW chargers. $61,612 for two 50kW DC fast chargers is consistent with the average price given by Cleantek’s Carl Pancutt.
To find out the average cost of deploying Level 1 and 2 charging stations, I contacted John Kalb of EV Charging Pros, one of the leading experts in deploying EV charging in multi-family property. John has been involved in the deployment of 100 level 1 and 2 electric vehicle charging projects and has a wealth of project data.
As with the installation of DC fast chargers, the costs of deploying level 1 and 2 charging stations may include the installation of additional electrical panels, traction conduits, for level 2, usually the additional power utility, permissions and hardware loading.
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Below is a sampling of 8 Tier 2 deployments in multi-family properties in Northern California. The cost per port ranged from a low of $6,205 to a high of $17,099 and an average of $9,808. The percentage of project costs associated with non-hardware aspects varied widely, but averaged 56.1% of total project costs.
Interestingly, PG&E, the Northern California utility, released cost data showing an average of $17,661 for Tier 2 MUD (Multi-Family Unit Development) deployments per port and $18,384 for MUD deployments and at the work site .
One of the challenges of apartments is that in some markets most properties were built between 1950 and 1980 and the power supply and electrical panels do not support the charging of multiple electric vehicles. there are level 2 chargers. And the projects themselves trigger requirements to bring these properties’ electrical infrastructure up to current code, still adding additional costs to the project.
Cost is one of the main reasons some consultants and utility companies recommend that multifamily property owners deploy Tier 1 “smart points” instead of Tier 2. Peninsula recently published Clean Energy’s case study comparing the costs for deploying a tier 1 smart outlet solution versus the network level. 2 and found (see image) that a Tier 2 deployment costs 4.5 times more than using a Tier 1 smart socket.
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Below is a sample of 7 Tier 1 Smart Point of Sale deployments at multi-family properties in Northern California. The cost per port ranged from a low of $2,084 to a high of $4,991 and an average of $3,254. In these samples, the average cost per port for Tier 1 was exactly one-third of the cost per port for Tier 2. The percentage of project costs attributed to non-hardware aspects varied widely. -other, but averaged 73.6% of the total cost of the project
Now that we’ve plotted the range of average deployment costs for each level of EV charging hardware, let’s see how many chargers $10 billion would buy at each level and for different combinations.
In the chart below I have modeled a number of 50 kW, 100 kW, 180 kW and 350 kW DC fast chargers that could be implemented between $1 billion and $10 billion. As you can see, the number ranges from a high of nearly 175,000 for 50 kW chargers at $10 billion, to a low of 3,125 for 350 kW chargers at $1 billion.
If you used a cost of $105,000 to deploy 100 kW chargers, $10 billion could cover the cost of about 95,000 DC fast chargers.
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That’s nowhere near the 500,000 figure the Biden administration often touts. And if instead of 100 kW chargers, it goes with 200 kW at $200,000, $10 billion will only cover 50,000 chargers. And 350 kW high-power chargers at an average cost of $320,000 would result in 31,250 chargers installed.
Now, an important investment factor to consider. Under the Biden Infrastructure Bill, US government grants are capped at $15 million per grant and 80% of the project cost. Therefore, the investment dollars above include 20% or more to be contributed by the grantee. So if you’re looking at how much government dollars will cover, the number of chargers deployed is slightly higher. However, these subsidies will also likely increase the costs of charger deployment, which will increase the cost of the project, keeping these numbers still relatively accurate.
Now let’s look at Tier 1 and Tier 2 costs using the same model and approach as above for DC fast chargers. Using the average costs above, $10 billion would fund more than 3 million Tier 1 smart outlets or just over 1 million Tier 2 charging stations.
Combining the three types of loading, let’s look at some example scenarios and combinations of what they might look like when spending $10 billion or $5 billion? Depending on the mix of chargers in each tier/power, it could be anywhere from 150,000 to almost 1.4 million and everything in between.
Ev Charging Station Cost
The point of this article is not to suggest what the mix should be, I’ll save that for a future article, but to do the math and show what is actually possible.
But one thing is very clear, if the Biden administration wants to add 500,000 additional charging stations, most of them will have to be Tier 2 and assuming they fund them (which is unlikely), Tier 1 chargers as well.
Which companies will be the main operators of DC fast charging points in the US? USA in 2030? Read more »
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Ev Chargers: States Are Getting Billions For Electric Vehicle Chargers
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