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Electric vehicles (EV) have been making their way into the US market in recent years. With so much buzz around the steep pricing of fuel and carbon footprints, EVs have given new hope to consumers on both aspects.
There are reasons why many consumers are opting for EVs. These vehicles are sleek, silent, and fun to drive. On top of it, they help lower pollution by almost 75 percent compared to petrol-powered vehicles. Besides, federal and state tax incentives on EVs make them an affordable and attractive option for consumers.
If we talk about the state of Illinois, the following statistics will be a revelation:
- On average, Illinois drivers could save $742 by shifting from gasoline to electricity.
- In Illinois, a new gas-powered car emits 4.9 metric tons of carbon per year, whereas driving an EV results in 2.7 metric tons emissions per year.
- Charging an EV at a residential charging station in Illinois is equivalent to paying $0.70 per gallon of gasoline.
The best part is that you can charge EVs at any charging station with access to electricity. According to ComEd, the largest electric utility company in Illinois, homes are the main charging locations for most EV owners. In Illinois, where 69 percent of people live in multi-unit dwellings (MUDs), the EV charging companies have a huge potential to provide services and grow.
EV Charger Installation Cost in Illinois
As an increasing number of consumers are buying electric vehicles, there is a growing need for EV charging stations to provide power to those vehicles. EV drivers can mainly charge their vehicles using residential charging stations. However, there is also a requirement for commercial charging stations in public places, workplaces, and fleet settings.
The US average for installing a standard EV charging station ranges from $454 to $1,065, with the median cost of $747 each. The cost of the stations is between $400 and $2,000, which depends on whether you select Level 1 or Level 2 charging stations. The cost of hardwiring or installing a circuit for a Level 2 charging station may add up another $500 to $1,500.
In Illinois, the distance of average daily transportation is 22 miles, which is well within the range of EV battery range. By charging your EV overnight, you can complete a round-trip daily without having to charge again. Regarding charging your EV, it is important to know those basics. There are three types of charging stations:
- Charging at a Level 1 charging station can take up to 18 hours.
- Level 2 charging stations are nearly twice as fast compared to Level 1.
- Level 3 charging stations (commercial) are often called “direct-current” (DC) charging, with the fastest charging capacity.
EV Charging Station Costs
A Level 1 charging station for homes usually comes with a standard 120V circuit, commonly used in most garages.
A Level 2 charging station has a 240V circuit, usually found in an electric stove or dryer. These circuits are not used in garages. Although a Level 2 station charges much faster than a Level 1, you still need to add a circuit. The average cost of installing a circuit is $700.
Comparison of Electric Car Charging Station Costs (Source: homadvisor.com)
While installing, a contractor will procure an EV charging unit, deploy an upgraded electrical service or connect the charging unit to an existing electrical service to accommodate the load. The contractor will also install an electric vehicle supply unit (EVSE) equipment, and work on parking spaces to meet the parking requirements.
A local electric utility may also need to involve if required for the necessary electricity supply upgrades with transformers or higher capacity supply wires.
Charging Station Installation Costs
Level 1 Charging Stations
In Level 1 charging, you can plug the cable into a standard 120V residential outlet. Most manufacturers include a Level 1 cable in their EVs, so you do not have to bear any additional cost to buy or install one. As Level 1 usually takes around 10 to 20 hours to fully charge the battery, you should use the EV for regular schedules or short distance. If there is no existing outlet, installing one can cost somewhere around $2,300.
Level 2 Charging Stations
Level 2 charging stations have 240V, which is similar to the energy that most home appliances require. These EV charging stations only take around 3 to 8 hours to fully charge the battery.
In Illinois, residential consumers are eligible for a rebate of up to 50 percent cost of installation from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO). Since Level 2 stations charge much faster than Level 1 stations, it is ideal for EV owners with irregular schedules or driving a long distance.
Level 3 Charging Stations (Commercial)
Level 3 stations are the strongest charging option, which commonly functions as public charging stations with a capacity of 480 volts. Also called “direct current,” these stations can recharge 80 percent of batteries within 30 minutes.
Some key information about Level 3 is below:
- The cost of Level 3 charging stations is between $10,000 and $80,000.
- Currently, the DCEO rebate program does not apply to these charging stations.
- Not all EV models can use Level 3 charging stations. Check your user manual if your EV model is compatible to get charging at Level 3 stations.
The overall comparison between Level 1, 2, and 3 in terms of capacity, charge time, cost, and environmental impact at a glance:
Factors that Drive EV Installation Costs
The installation cost of EV charging stations varies based on different factors. For example, the installation of the Level 1 charging station will be relatively simpler and the cost will be at the lower end. On the other hand, the Level 2 or Level 3 charging station installation would be more complex and costlier. An installation process will be more complex due to the following factors:
- Trenching for laying a long-distance power supply connection to the electrical panel or from the panel to the charging station;
- Upgrading the electricity service to receive enough power capacity for the charging station;
- Upgrading the electrical panel to develop circuits for each EV charging unit if it is not already available;
- Meeting the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act Standards (ADA) to ensure that the parking spaces are level.
Generally, the industry trends are showing that the cost of EV charging stations is downwards and will keep decreasing. However, the costs of installation will still vary from state to state due to differences in state and local incentives.
Although the cost information of the past EV charger installations provides an estimate, the best way to find out the estimated cost of a charging location is to contact the EV manufacturer, the utility company, and charging unit installers for a site evaluation.
Charging Level and Amperage Rating
Level 1 EV charging is the most affordable option. Charging is possible through an outlet for an EV driver to plug in a Level 1 cord set or through an EV with a connector. Level 2 charging units have a midrange cost, and Level 3 is the highest cost tier.
The EV charging largely depends on the voltage from the utility service and the EV charging unit’s amperage rating. Level 1 EV chargers are rated from 12-16A, Level 2 units usually come with ratings from 16-48A, and Level 3 have a maximum rating of 60-200A.
The cost of a charging unit will go up with an increase in charging power because of the higher manufacturing cost to accommodate the need for higher amperage.
EV charging units with a single port allow charging only one vehicle at a time. Charging units with multiple ports (usually with 2-4 ports) allow multiple EVs to charge at once or in sequence.
The cost of multiple port units is higher than the single-port units. However, the cost of ports and installation costs are less on a per-port basis in the case of multiple ports.
Type of Mounting System
Typically, EV charging units are available both as wall-mounted and pedestal-mounted. Ceiling-mounted units are another type of mounting system but they are mainly for residential use.
The cost of a pedestal-mounted unit is around $500-$700 more than a wall-mounted system because of the additional cost of manufacturing the pedestal.
There is also an additional cost of construction for installing a pedestal-mounted system. On most occasions, site owners go for a wall-mounted system if the parking spots for charging are close to a wall. However, pedestal-mounted systems offer more design flexibility, including the ability to place the EV charging unit alongside a sidewalk or in the most visible spot of a parking lot. Besides, pedestal-mounted systems can hold multiple EV charging units.
Networked or Non-Networked
EV charging units can be either networked or non-networked. Networked units connect to the Internet through a cable or wireless technology and transmit data to the server of a network host.
Non-networked charging units do not connect to the Internet. Instead, they provide basic charging functions without modern communications or monitoring facilities. This is why the price of the equipment is lower than the networked unit.
A single organization manages a networked unit. Some of the major networks in the US are Tesla, Blink, GE WattStation Connect, ChargePoint, SKY, NRG eVgo, AeroVironment, etc.
Both residential and commercial consumers need permits for upgrading charging infrastructures and electrical supply lines, which will vary by location. Check with your local permit office before beginning a project. We have mentioned the breakdown of the average costs for each phase of the application:
Application Fee: $40-$60
Electrical Permit Cost: $80-$100
Other Handling Charges: $20-$40
Costs of Upgrading the Garage
When planning to install an EV charging station, remember the circuits available in your garage. Most garages do not have a 240-volt and 20 to a 100-amp circuit. You need to install a circuit, which may cost between $500 and $1,500, or include a circuit while remodeling an average garage at the cost of nearly $13,000.
There are several finance options available from the federal and state government for buying an electric vehicle and installing charging stations.
If you are interested in buying an electric vehicle, you can get some tax incentives that come from the federal or state government. The federal government provides incentives of up to $7,500 for consumers who will buy fully electric or hybrid vehicles.
The government also offers incentives to those consumers who add residential charging units as well. Such a program provides residential and commercial consumers a 30 percent deduction from the cost of installing a charging station. Besides, consumers can also get back up to $1,000 of the total cost of installation. Keep in mind that these incentives may expire on December 31, 2020, unless extended. Check with the Department of Energy (DOE) in Illinois or check their website for more details.
Most leading electric utility companies in Illinois offer a complete range of turnkey solutions, warranties lasting 3 to 4 years, and scalability for residential and commercial consumers. If you are thinking to buy an electric vehicle or install a charging station in Illinois, the best time is now.
You can enjoy the freedom of owning an electric vehicle and can conveniently charge the batteries at your own home charging station. As Illinois continues with its focus on expanding the electric vehicle market, you are likely to get more options to install smart charging stations at affordable costs.