How Much Do Public And Home EV Charging Stations Really Cost?

4 years ago by Jay Cole 59

Cost Of A Curbside DC Fast Charging Station?  About $60,000 On Average According To RMI

Cost Of A Curbside DC Fast Charging Station? About $60,000 On Average According To RMI

RMI Takes A Look At The Total Cost Of A DC Fast Charging Station

RMI Takes A Look At The Total Cost Of A DC Fast Charging Station

If you own a plug-vehicle of some kind, you have likely been exposed to at least 2 or 3 of the four types of common electric vehicle charging stations – or EVSEs if you will, that are available today:

  • home charging station
  • parking garage station (or any public wall mounted system)
  • curbside EVSE
  • curbside DC fast charging EVSE

But how much do these machines actually cost?

Anyone who has had a L2 home charger installed can tell you that it is not simply the cost of the EVSE hardware, although that is generally 50-70% of the entire package.  Electrician labour, extra parts needed for the install, preparing/wiring a location for the unit, permits, etc.

And while we have looked at each individual charging station and their costs abstractly before.  Josh Agenbroad and Ben Holland have put together some incredible data on all four standards at the Rocky Mountain Institute.

All the graphs below express their work, as they find a normalized cost for each unit:

  • home charging station – $1,200
  • parking garage EVSE  – $5,500, multiples in one location – $4,000
  • curbside EVSE – $9,000, multiples in one location – $5,800
  • curbside DC fast charging EVSE – $60,000

We definitely recommend a read of their article for those who are interested in getting behind the figures.

Commercial L2 Application Costs

Commercial L2 Application Costs (via RMI)

Rocky Mountain Institute Puts A True Cost On EVSEs

Rocky Mountain Institute Puts A True Cost On EVSEs

EVSE Cost Table (Via RMI)

EVSE Cost Table (Via RMI)

RMI Outlet, hat tip to Chris!

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59 responses to "How Much Do Public And Home EV Charging Stations Really Cost?"

  1. David Murray says:

    What does “mobilization” mean?

    1. Jay Cole says:

      We didn’t want to take too much (or quote) from the original article in hope people would check it out, but here is what it says:

      “We’ve broken down the cost into several categories: 1) the actual charging station hardware, 2) other hardware and materials, 3) electrician and other labor, 4) mobilization, which we define as time for the electrician and others to prep and get to the worksite (often including an initial on-site consultation), and 5) permitting.”

      We ourselves do a lot of consulting behind the scenes in this area, and although the report may not be flawless (no report ever could be) as there is a lot of variance found between the players, the shifting landscape and the size/locations of the projects – it is very well thought out and presented.

      Sidenote on costs: I would say the home charging has the most variance built in, as you can have a uber cheap guy pick up a unit and have it operational for as low as $400-$500; while on the other end you could have someone just picking up the phone and ordering a premium EVSE installed through the OEM contact for $4,000+

    2. BraveLilToaster says:

      Probably the cost of the delivery of the huge DC quick charger. You can’t fit a lot of them on a truck (and even if you did, they aren’t going to all get delivered at the same time), so you pretty much have to hire the whole van for the delivery.

    3. HVACman says:

      Mobilization is a standard construction industry term for everything that has to happen to in preparation to getting on-site and building, including front-end paperwork, permits, ordering equipment/materials, securing sub-contracts for the various trades, etc. It is a lot more than “picking up the parts and getting in the truck to drive to the job site”.

  2. scott franco says:

    Mine was $800 and the price is falling…

    $800 – For the L2 AV charger.
    $0 – to not pay an overpriced installer.
    $0 – Cost to California not to issue me a rebate.

    Not fooling with the city planning idiots – Priceless.

  3. GeorgeS says:

    This makes me question what Tesla was saying about their supercharger stations.

    Tesla was saying they save money by ganging Model S 10kw car chargers together, but how can that be if we start with 480 Volts.??

    1. HVACman says:

      I think the “chargers” they refer to are the electronic AC/DC converters/regulators similar to what Leafs, Volts, and others have on-board to take the 115 or 230 VAC from an EVSE and actually charge the battery.

      Tesla’s 10 KW chargers probably are designed to handle a range of standard AC voltages and convert them to whatever DC voltage is required for their DC battery bus. So it shouldn’t be too hard to wire up a bunch of 10 KW chargers in parallel, all with 480 VAC input, and have their controllers talk to each other and coordinate to produce whatever the “Master brain” says it needs for DC output.

      I think the SC stations are designed so that they can auto-switch how many 10 KW chargers feed each plugged-in Model-S, depending on how many S’s are plugged in, their relative charge states, and the overall KW capacity of the installation.

      Very clever….

      1. Malcolm Scott says:

        thank you for that explanation. Very interesting to see discussion on multi-vehicle charging architectures and related standards.

  4. MDEV says:

    In Arlington Virginia if you live in a condo you must install your charger as commercial, just the labor can be up to $10.000

    1. Spec9 says:

      What does “as commercial” mean? And $10.000? That is ten dollars, sounds like a bargain.

    2. What is the cost to install a 220/240V wall outet for a dryer, or welding equipment, or air compressor?

      A EVSE with matching plug can use the same 40A circuit (drawing 30A to charge at 6-7 kW).

      1. Josephus says:

        For a 240v right next to the breaker box, for me parts cost $38, plus labor, plus permits. I then bought a $550 clipper creek to plug into it.

  5. David Murray says:

    You know. This is one big advantage of PHEVs that I’ve been saying for years. They can afford to charge up on 120V, thus bypassing the need for a 240V charging station. All a person needs is a good quality 15-amp outlet in their garage, or on a post outside their driveway, etc. People will eventually want to upgrade to a 240V station but they don’t have to make that investment right away. They can do it later after they have had the car for a while.

    1. GeorgeS says:

      That’s the great thing about the Volt.

      My Voltec L2 charger was only 500$ and I installed it myself.

      Also I modified it with a plug instead of hard wiring it. I use it at both houses.

    2. kdawg says:

      I’ve been charging on 120V for almost 2 years. Only on a rare occasion (and typically during winter) have I desired a 240V charger. I still play around w/the idea of installing one though. I wouldn’t get much money from my power company for doing it, but a couple of my friends got $2000+ from their power companies towards a 240V charger.

    3. BraveLilToaster says:

      Well, until such time that the technology is cheap enough for a 30kwh battery and use the engine “only rarely”. Then you’ll be spending 20+ hours charging from flat.

      220v on the other hand, can easily get up to 80 amps, making for 17 kw chargers. While not the 20 minute charge that a DCQC can get you, you can still get ubiquitous chargers that can get you the rest of the way to your destination, where presumably the ubiquity of the charging stations would mean the time spent *at* your destination would mean charging the rest of the way.

      1. kdawg says:

        My Volt charges at 1.44kW on at 120V, and that’s only when I set it to 12A. Most of the time I leave it at 8A, so it’s only charging at 960W. Even at these lower rates, I always wake up will a full charge, ~40 miles, enough to do what I need for the day with miles to spare.

        That being said, I have a gas engine for backup in my Volt. If I owned a BEV, I’d install a 240V charger. This would just be insurance against emergencies & the days I put a lot of miles and come home late w/not a lot of hours to charge.

    4. vin says:

      Nice to know that I’m not the only one that’s charging on L1 at home!

      I’ve got two EVs (FFE and RAV4 EV) and one PHEV (Volt). Doing just fine on L1 only, believe it or not. Total miles driven of all three vehicles combined will be about 30,000/year.

      Trick is to have at least two 120V outlets on separate circuits that are accessible from the garage/driveway. I have four, thanks to the guy before me that built my house. Only really need to use two of them at a time. All charging is done primarily at super-off-peak rates, some of it off-peak, but never prime time.

      I’m planning to go to L2 at some point and have all the parts to convert an existing 30A 240V outlet to 50A, but it would be out of convenience rather than necessity. Doing so would mean that I’d charge the RAV4 EV twice a week instead of every night.

      1. Dave R says:

        If those 120V outlets are dedicated and rated at 20A, you can easily and inexpensively convert them to 240V outlets using the same wire just by swapping out the breaker for a dual-pole unit along with a matching outlet and then either use EVSEupgrade to upgrade your existing charge cord, or pick up something like the the AeroVironment turbo-cord and then charge at double speed.

      2. kdawg says:

        Holy crap you have a lot of plug-in cars! It would be interesting to hear your opinion of the pros & cons of each.

        1. Vin says:

          Okay, I’ll work on it!

    5. BraveLilToaster says:

      Really, what I’m saying is that it’s a mistake to build a whole new infrastructure based on the present requirements, rather than on future ones.

      Of course building 120v EVSEs would be cheaper. But will it be useful in 5 years? Probably not.

      1. Spec9 says:

        120V is fine for workplace chargers, airports, wtc.

    6. Spec9 says:

      I charged a pure EV on 120V for many months. As long as your commute isn’t long, you can get by on it. But it is worth getting a 240V eventually (and I did).

  6. pjwood says:

    60k is less than 2 million, for hydrogen.

    In the world of multi-billion dollar state and city General Funds, I would think more states could follow Oregon and seed their infrastructure. The value of a maintained Level 3 property will likely minimize the potential for any loss, as demand increases over time.

    1. BraveLilToaster says:

      Someone on the Nissan Leaf Facebook page who is part of the project to build out the L3 charging infrastructure in my neck of the woods has pointed out a rather important statistic when comparing the cost of L3 chargers vs Hydrogen stations.

      The maximum number of customers per day is considerably lower for L3 charging than for any other refuelling type. If you’re running at maximum capacity 24 hours a day, you can only service about 72 customers with an L3 station, if every last one of those customers spends only 20 minutes at the charger. The maximum capacity for a gas or hydrogen station is 288 per day, if everyone spends 5 minutes on their refill, which is 4 times as many customers.

      Mind you, H2 stations cost at least 33x as much, so there’s that.

      1. HVACman says:

        So 10 FCDC chargers, assuming an economy of scale, would be about $300K and could charge 10 x 72 = 720 vehicles in 24 hours compared to H2 @ 288 vehicles/24 hours for about $1 million initial capital expense. Oh, and the H2 costs about $5/gallon equivalent. In bulk kW amounts, with profit & OH, I’d think FC will be about $2.75/gallon equivalent (about $0.30/kWh)

        And with EV’s you can charge at home for a fraction of the cost…

        1. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

          The most important sentence you wrote is the last one. When you have a plug-in you have less need of public refueling and that reduces per-car infrastructure costs.

          A very informative article.

      2. JakeY says:

        A hydrogen station can’t actually fill 288 a day, it’s more like 25 for the current 100kg/day ones. It’s because the storage is large enough or on-site production rate isn’t fast enough, even though the refueling rate might be.

        The other thing is despite the “5 minute” number frequently tied with hydrogen, only a limited amount of stations can accomplish that. A lot of them take 30 minutes because it needs to compress the hydrogen (and it actually slows down when reaching near the max capacity of the tank, just like a battery does, again because of compression).

  7. MTN Ranger says:

    My installation:
    L2 EVSE $750 = ($525 after tax credit)
    240V outlet = $250

    Net $775

  8. Foo says:

    Umm, I just got a EVSE with a 240V plug on it and plugged it in. Didn’t need a permit or an electrician.

    1. Spec9 says:

      Well, you did need the 240V outlet . . . those are not too common. But they should now be stubbed into every new garage built from here on forward.

      1. Foo says:

        I thought most houses (well, to be fair, in CA) had a 240V plug in the garage for an electric dryer. Every house I’ve ever lived in has had one.

        1. io says:

          And all the places I lived in CA didn’t have the dryer in the garage, or it was natural gas. (Never been a fan of laundry in the garage anyway, it’s usually the dirtiest place…)

          Adding to the problem, in my current home, the electrical service entrance is at the opposite corner of the house.

          So… I just kept charging my Leaf at 120V, which was just fine for my ~40 mile commute.

          Later though, I took advantage of other work being done to install a beefy 240V line to the garage.

          Some cities now require such wiring for new constructions. Great move IMHO, as the cost of installing it later can be significant.

  9. EV Fan says:

    My Costs:
    Leviton 32A EVSE – $0 (came with the Fit EV)
    Materials – $124
    Permit & Inspection – $101
    Oregon Tax Credit – ($56)
    Total – $169

  10. Dr. Kenneth Noisewater says:

    And the cost to install a gas pump (and associated tank and other hardware bits)? Probably in the $250k area, assuming you had permits for hazardous materials etc..

    1. kdawg says:

      And add in the cost to remove/replace the tanks when they start leaking.

  11. SeattleTeslaGuy says:

    A very useful addition to this study would be the average cost of putting in a 50A NEMA 14-50. There are number of chargers (hard to call them EVSEs!) that plug in to that outlet. This is the minimum cost for a 10KW(ish) charge station.

    The cost of this is quite variable. It mostly depends on how far the outlet will be from the breaker panel and whether the panel has enough capacity. I’ve seen lots of numbers on the Tesla club forum – the range seems to be $300 – S2000

  12. Dave R says:

    What’s often overlooked in charging station install costs is that installing multiple charging stations can multiply the number of charges per hour while maintaining the same chance of one finding that all stations are busy.

    This thread on TeslaMotorsClub illustrates this nicely where poster Cottonwood applies the Erlang-B model to charging:

    http://goo.gl/eiOcvN

    One might thing that going from 2-4 stations would only double the throughput, but that ignores what happens when one finds that all stations are full (potential customers will go away instead of waiting).

    As an EV driver, your biggest worry is arriving at a location and finding all stalls busy as now you’ll either have to move on or wait.

    Going from 2-4 stations lets you charge 5 times as many cars per hour while keeping the same chance that all 4 stations will be busy.

    Combined with economies of scale that you get when installing multiple stations at a single location, it seems to be a no-brainer to at least stub out as many stations as you think you may need at some point in the future so that you minimize labor costs when installing future stations down the road.

    1. Spec9 says:

      Phone apps can help with this . . . you can see if a station is available before driving over and you can sometimes even reserve it.

      1. Dave R says:

        While they can help, they are generally very unreliable and by the time you make it to a station, their status is not likely to be the same.

        Having to rely on an app is ridiculous and only tolerated by early adopters – when was the last time you needed one to find an available gas pump?

        Each QC location should have at least 2 QCs installed per location with stubs for 2 more at some point down the road.

        Each L2 location should have at least 4 L2 stations installed per location with stubs for 4-8 more stations installed per location at some point down the road.

        Very low volume locations may get away with 1 QC + 1 L2 station if installing a QC, or just 2 L2 stations. But in all cases provision should be made to stub out additional stations so adding more stations will cost a minimum amount.

        A charging station that one can’t rely on is barely better than not having one at all.

        1. scott franco says:

          I use apps to find gas all the time, for example http://www.californiagasprices.com/. You do this to find the best price, and that can change literally hour by hour.

        2. Spec9 says:

          Of course you use a phone app to find charging stations. 90+% of the time you just charge at home so you rarely use public charging.

          You are stuck in the gasoline mind-set. Free your mind.

  13. Spec9 says:

    Damn . . . some of these costs should be eliminated by being more opportunistic. For example, light poles in public parking lots have electricity already delivered to them. They should be able to strap small level-1 chargers to them for very low cost. Such chargers are workplaces could be a great boon.

  14. Just_chris says:

    The outlander has a fast charger, cool

    1. Spec9 says:

      Kinda silly though do you really need a fast-charger for car that already has a gas engine and the battery is only 12KWH? I’d be mad if those things clog up fast-chargers.

      1. io says:

        Hey, I think it’s great to have the option. Plus, a DC port enables cool applications, like powering other stuff with the car, V2H etc…

        I also welcome more quick-charger users; it would only encourage the operators of those stations to maintain them well, and eventually install more.

        With the per-session pricing that Blink/CarCharging and eVgo apply, I doubt Outlander drivers will flood QCs though. Maybe it’ll take a vehicle at the other end of the spectrum, the Model S with CHAdeMO adapter, to have operators rethink this strategy?..

        1. Spec9 says:

          Who’s gonna pay $5 for $1 worth of electricity when you have a gasoline engine? It is just nonsensical.

          1. io says:

            Do the math. As I said, the 5$ per quick-charge the most expensive operators charge isn’t attractive for this vehicle, but fact is, at 4$+/gallon, gas isn’t really better.

            While I fully expect most Outlander drivers not to QC at those prices, some certainly will just because driving electric is so much more pleasant, cleaner, etc.

            I for one definitely would, even though I enjoy virtually-free electricity at home.
            For me, quick-charging isn’t about buying kW·h anyway, it’s about having them put in the car here, now.

      2. Malcolm Scott says:

        Not all Outlanders have FastDC. The ones delivered in Australia have that capability not installed. Given the design embraces this capability, the issue is to my mind is also a matter of cost rather than why customers might need to use FastDC when there is an ICE generator. If cost increment was small, people would use it and enjoy the benefits.

  15. Just_chris says:

    Is there someone doing a “light” fast charger one that perhaps kicks out 10-20 kW instead of the full 40 kW. That would probably make it much cheaper.

    1. Spec9 says:

      Interesting idea. I wonder if you could reduce the cost by reducing charge speed and whether it would be a useful trade-off.

    2. Anthony says:

      Tesla? The Model S can charge at up to 20kW. Its still AC but 20kW is still fast charging for an EV (80 miles per hr of charging).

    3. io says:

      Yes, there are a few, e.g. Fuji Electric makes a 25kW QC, and Eaton units are modular in 10 kW increments. Neither is cheaper than the full-power Nissan/Sumitomo though.

      The Nissan/Sumitomo requires 3-phase 480VAC however; Eaton and others can accommodate lower input voltages, and may therefore be easier to install in some situations.

      Lower-power quick-charging can certainly reduce installation and/or operation costs (e.g. demand charges); I assume that all QCs can be “dialed down” as required for this purpose.

    4. Dave R says:

      I would certainly rather have two 20-25 kW QC stations over a single 45-50 kW QC station.

      Ideally each one would be capable of 45-50 kW and if demand charges are an issue, make the stations communicate so that demand does not exceed whatever level of demand in total is determined to be reasonable.

      1. Dr. Kenneth Noisewater says:

        DC charging is regulated by the charge station, while AC charging is regulated by the vehicle’s onboard charger. So, theoretically, you could oversubscribe DC charge stations and have them negotiate power allocation based on the SoC of the battery they’re attached to, without having to come up with some vehicle-to-vehicle protocol (or worrying about whether signaling a reduced AC capability to a charging vehicle will freak its onboard charger out somehow).

  16. Anthony says:

    I paid about $900 back in 2012 – $500 for EVSE, $250 for labor, $100 for permit, $50 for sales taxes. I’ll find out how much prices are today, since I’m moving and have to buy and install a new EVSE.

  17. Driverguy01 says:

    Darn, i’m the only one here with wireless charging?
    Guess i’m a bit ahead of my time… not a first for me.
    Not installed yet… next week.

    Cost?… nevermind.

    Armless and legless! That’s the cost!

  18. Malcolm Scott says:

    To my mind the most interesting aspect of the source article is what will be covered next. Insight into successful business models is the new news.

    ‘In the next instalment of this series, we’ll take a look at strategies and business models that can help to reduce these per-station infrastructure costs, thus making it more economically viable to realize a nationwide network of public EV charging stations.’

    I’ll be keen to see if they also cover modelling of simply providing a high amp 240v outlet in certain places where the revenue is captured in a related nearby business.