In Electric Vehicles, On The Move, Transportation & Land Use

This is the final installment of Greater Mercer TMA’s Get In, We’re Going Electric series. This article is a companion to the first two in the series, EV101 Basics and EV for Changemakers. Here we focus on facilitating the installation of EV charging stations for public places. It is here to guide private business owners, hotel managers, property managers, and owners of commercial and office parks in assessing their EV charging needs and understanding the process of planning for EV transition. In this article, we will talk about EV charging equipment and their costs; common installation, design, and permitting considerations; and additional EV planning support. We will also cover available government incentives and reimbursements that can help offset the costs of going electric. For more information, please reach out to Greater Mercer TMA at (609) 452-1491 or tma@gmtma.org. Links are provided for reference, not paid promotion.

Together in Electric Dreams

It is becoming easier and easier for municipalities and businesses to adapt to meet New Jersey’s growing EV charging needs. There are already several available incentives (reimbursements, subsidies, etc.) and policies that empower this. In July 2021, New Jersey state administrators signed into law a package of bills that required municipalities to streamline the permitting and installation process for electrification, and incorporate EV planning into local zoning, permitting, and redevelopment requirements. This package of bills is considered one of the most comprehensive in the nation and is expected to make the process smoother for both existing and new businesses to install electric vehicle charging stations and make the shift to EV-friendliness.

The bill also outlines the following goals:

  • 400 fast chargers available for public use at 200 locations by December 31, 2025
  • 1000 Level 2 chargers available for public use by December 31, 2025.
  • 15% of Multi-Family Residential Properties shall be equipped with EVSE (Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment) by 2025
  • 20% of Franchised Overnight Lodging Establishments shall be equipped with EVSE by 2025

Where can we find EV Charging Stations in Mercer and Ocean County?

In New Jersey, public charging infrastructure is continually expanding. Greater Mercer TMA created a map of EV charging stations in Mercer County and Ocean County, seen below. There are currently 45 locations in Mercer County and 26 locations in Ocean County that provide EV charging facilities.

If you’re curious to know if there are charging stations in your area, there are websites and free or paid mobile apps that help you plan long trips and provide other useful features. Google Maps also provides information on EV charging stations. We have listed the free websites and apps for both IOS and Android users below:

Website and App

  • Plugshare.com
  • Chargepoint.com
  • Chargehub.com
  • Chargeway.com
  • Opencharge.com

App Only

  • EV Match
  • Open Charge Map
  • MyGreenCar

What types of places are ideal locations for EV charging stations?

The ideal location for an EV charging station is typically as close to electric service as possible while also being convenient to other activities at the site. If people drive to that location and park there, they might also want to charge there.

  1. Multi-family homes and apartments: Most EV charging is likely to be done at home. Charging is typically easiest for EV owners who have a garage or driveway space to charge their cars, but it can be a challenge for those who live in apartments or other multi-family units. As the EV market continues to grow, property managers and developers may want to start providing dedicated parking spots for EV Charging. For multi-family buildings, no two cases are the same. Later in the article, we will discuss some of the considerations property managers and developers might make in EV planning.
  2. Hotels and resorts: While residential charging can meet day-to-day charging needs, EV drivers on vacation will need a place to recharge their vehicles after a long drive. Recently, New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) launched a new program to encourage electric vehicle (EV) charging locations at tourism destinations across the state. State attractions as well as overnight lodging establishments will have the opportunity to apply for up to six Level-Two chargers and two DC Fast Chargers through the program. This is what NJBPU President Joseph L. Fiordaliso had to say about it:

“As we recover from the pandemic, this initiative will help EV drivers discover some of New Jersey’s most iconic destinations by giving tourists a place to plug in and unwind as we prepare for the EV revolution happening across the country. By supporting EV tourism and public charging, we can strengthen local businesses and reduce ‘range anxiety’ to help drivers feel more comfortable getting from A to B in an EV – whether it’s Carteret to Cape May, or Sussex to Salem. Electrifying transportation will help us reduce harmful emissions as we strive toward Governor Murphy’s goal of 100 percent clean energy by 2050.”

  1. Workplaces, schools, and community parks: These are examples of places where people might park and charge their cars for longer hours. People typically spend most of their time during the day at the office and having the opportunity to charge at work would certainly make the decision to purchase an EV easier. Installing charging stations in your office parking lot could be an extra benefit to current employees and an incentive to prospective hires. This also demonstrates a commitment to environmental sustainability. There are a few considerations that employers and property managers may need to look into in the EV planning process. Read this article to find out more.
  2. Malls, commercial centers, restaurants, fitness centers, and grocery stores: It’s becoming more common to see Tesla and DC Fast Charging stations pop up in rest stops, shopping centers, malls, grocery stores, and restaurants. While people are shopping, grabbing lunch, or running errands, they benefit from the convenience of having available chargers to keep their EVs travel-ready. Other ideal locations would be gyms and fitness centers. The Volvo and Harris Poll survey found that respondents identified the gym as a top location to charge.

What types of facilities and infrastructure does my property/business need? What will it cost me?

Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) delivers electrical energy to charge an electric vehicle’s batteries. This equipment communicates with the vehicle to supply an appropriate and safe flow of electricity and can:

  • differ based on their communication capabilities and how quickly they can charge a vehicle.
  • vary on its suitability for installation at homes, workplaces, private fleet facilities, and public venues.
  • be directly wall-mounted on the outer wall of buildings, or inside garages, or can stand alone on a pedestal.

We covered residential EV charger types in our previous articles. Typically, Level 1 Stations are best for overnight charging at home (multi-family residentials, apartments, hotels), and Level 2 Stations may be more ideal for workplaces, schools, or community parks where people can charge for longer hours. DC Fast charging stations are best for locations where individuals spend 20 minutes or more.

New Jersey provides incentives for adding charging station in apartment complexes through the NJDEP’s It Pay$ to Plug in Program. Multi-unit dwellings with at least four units may apply for funding to install charging stations and owners will receive reimbursement for charging port types as follows:

  • $750 for level 1
  • $4,000 level 2
  • $200,000 for DC Fast Chargers, with a 2-port minimum per grant

Read more about how your property or business can get funding for charging infrastructure on New Jersey’s Drive Green website.

Photo source: PSE&G

PSE&G also has a $166M initiative that supports the states goals for the installation of:

  • 40,000 residential chargers
  • 3,500 commercial chargers
  • 1,000 DC fast chargers

Customers may be eligible for three types of reimbursements: residential smart charging, mixed-use commercial charging, and public DC fast charging.

The cost of charging stations varies depending on the type of EVSE, the site, and the size of the installation. Total cost includes:

  • the upfront equipment purchase,
  • installation (e.g., garage modifications or pedestal construction needs, including any needed trenching; protective bollards, etc.),
  • electrical work – including possible expansion of utility infrastructure for connectivity,
  • permitting and administrative fees, and
  • any supporting features (e.g., Wi-Fi-enabling, credit card support)

 

At $20,000 to $150,000 for a single port EVSE unit, DC fast charging (DCFC) systems are the costliest to purchase and install. The price depends on the features and power rating of the system. On top of that, installation costs can vary greatly from site to site and can range from $4,000 – $66,000. Additionally, if utility upgrades are needed, installation costs can add hundreds of thousands of dollars to the total investment. This can easily be offset by a $200,000 grant from NJDEP’s It Pay$ to Plug in Program. Nevertheless, it is important that towns and installers carefully consider current and future needs when siting DCFCs to ensure maximum usage and benefits.

On the other hand, Level 2 costs vary depending on the charger type and site considerations. The midrange costs for Level 2 charging infrastructure are $400-$7,200 per unit with $600-$12,700 for installation. The NJDEP can offer up to $4,000 to offset these costs.

Level 1 comes at the lowest cost, ranging from $300-$1,300 per unit with $0-$300 for installation. If there is already a viable 120V outlet, no additional infrastructure is needed for this type of charging. In most cases, drivers can use the L1 charging cable that comes with the vehicle. The NJDEP can offer up to $750 to offset these costs.

 

How do we expand charging station access in multi-family dwellings and apartment buildings?

For those who live in apartments or other multi-family units, charging at home could be a challenge. For property managers and developers, providing charging stations in dedicated EV parking spots is an effective way to attract tenants, especially as the EV market continues to grow. The Alternative Fuels Data Center (AFDC) provides resources and case studies for property owners and developers to review as they consider their options for EV adoption. Here are some questions property managers and developers need to ask themselves during the planning process:

  • Logistics: How is parking allotted at your building? Is it assigned or deeded, or is it on a first-come, first-served basis?
  • Electrical Capacity: Does your building have enough electrical capacity to support additional charging infrastructure?
  • Cost recovery: Will your building charge its tenants to use charging infrastructure? How will that work? Will you assign chargers to individual drivers and charge them? Will you install charging equipment with a payment system?

Where can I get help?

If you are a local business, developer, or property manager interested in EVSE installation and are seeking funding and assistance in implementing charging stations, Greater Mercer TMA can help you stay up-to-date with best practices and connect you to information that you need.

We are here for you throughout the planning process: EV ordinance research, planning and development, looking for funding resources, connecting you to experts on charging infrastructure, and identifying key locations for planning stations. Contact us at (609) 452-1491 or tma@gmtma.org.

If you would like to read more about planning for electric vehicles, here are some important online resources:

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