Charging Station Installation: How to Pick Out the Best EV Spots in Your Lots

By July 23, 2018Blog
EV charging slips at an Asda grocery superstore in Inverness, UK.

Over the last few years, there has been a big increase in the buzz surrounding electric vehicles. This makes sense, given how many electric cars are on the road today: According to EcoWatch, two million EVs were in use by 2016—a significant uptick from 2012, when such automobiles were “virtually nonexistent.” Moreover, nearly 200,000 EVs were purchased in 2017, setting a new record.

To accommodate this change in the automotive industry, more and more parking lot owners are installing electric vehicle charging stations. Doing so offers many benefits:

  • It increases the value-add and differentiation of your parking lots.
  • It contributes to lower vehicle emissions.
  • It can lead to significant tax incentives.
  • It can bring in a lot more revenue for your parking lot.
  • It can even make a lot look more appealing and upscale.

Where to Situate Your EV Spots

If you’re inclined to add electric vehicle charging stations to your parking lot, you need to construct a well-thought-out plan. That means you must determine what technology you wish to purchase, how many charging stations you need, where to put them, and how much electrical service is available at that location. We address the first two issues in other blog posts, but here’s an outline for situating charging spots.

Clustering

Given that charging stations need access to electricity and data lines, it almost always makes sense to cluster EV spots together into a bank, preferably close to the electrical distribution panels for the parking lot. However, if you have a parking lot with multiple entrances, or a large lot, it could make sense to have a bank at each end. Generally speaking, though, concentrate your EV charging spots and give them clear signage and asphalt paint.

Convenience

For parking lots associated with one or more separate businesses, it makes sense to put the EV spots closer to the business entrances as a way to provide a good experience for EV drivers, giving them second billing only to disabled parking spaces. (In a larger lot you may also wish to designate a spot for both EV and disabled access only.)

Many states and municipalities, including California, have passed laws protecting EV parking spots from use by non-electric vehicles. Thus, generally speaking, the best course of action is to place your EV spots where it is most convenient for EV drivers.

Visibility

Electric vehicles are not yet so common that people expect to see chargers in every parking lot. If you have a parking lot, especially one that isn’t connected to a separate business, making your EV charging capabilities visible is critical to attracting attention and EV traffic. This can sometimes mean visual placement of the parking spaces so that the signage will be prominent both to motorists on the road and to anyone entering the lot.

In other words, don’t tuck them in some hidden corner. Promote them!

Signage

“Signage is critical for finding designated spaces within a busy lot,” reads a study conducted by WXY Architecture and Urban Design. “For large and heavily trafficked lots, vertical signage indicating [EV charging spots] charging is key. This type of signage should not be used for commercial purposes, such as branding.”

You should get creative, as well, and use your parking lot’s design and location to your advantage. Canopies, carports, and road-surface icons and arrows can go a long way.

Also, given how much people associate the color green with sustainability, utilizing that color—and proving your commitment to the environment with items such as solar panels and recycling bins—can help your cause immensely.

Proximity to Infrastructure

All else being equal, the most economic locations for EV spots is wherever is nearest to existing access to electrical service and, if you’ll be using wired networking, data lines. Extending service is very costly, entailing contractor work and, usually, road or sidewalk surface repair.

Consult with EV Connect

Every parking lot is different, and in many cases there are particular circumstances that can’t be generalized, yet make a big difference to the utilization and therefore profitability of EV charging spots.

At EV Connect, we can help you figure out the best for your specific lot and circumstances. Contact us today to learn how you can receive a free site assessment and quote!

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