Is your retail property ideal for hosting DC fast chargers?

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By Jennifer McClure, Director, West - Site Development at EVgo
Apr 7, 2022

Public fast chargers aren't built in random locations. A lot of thought goes into identifying the best sites – and for good reason…they’re valuable assets critical to enabling EV adoption, but they do cost money to install and operate! Charging companies, automakers, governments, and drivers themselves all want chargers to be sited in places that serve actual EV drivers and help drive increased EV adoption. Site hosts (aka our partners who host EVgo chargers on their property) also have interest in the chargers being utilized because the more visitors using the chargers on their property, the more new business for the nearby stores.

To date, EVgo has added fast chargers to 850+ locations allowing us to serve 340,000+ EV driver customer accounts – bringing convenient fast charging to customers and delivering incremental revenue to our retail site host partners.

So how does EVgo select where to place chargers in the ground? With more than a decade of experience building, owning, and operating fast charging, we follow a time-tested methodology that incorporates lessons learned and real-time customer insights as the EV market continues to evolve and grow. Here are some of the questions we discuss as we evaluate sites internally and with our partners:

First Question: Will the site be utilized by EV drivers?

One of the most important aspects of a sites’ suitability is the projected use of the station – will it serve EV drivers? We have developed a proprietary siting tool that helps us “score” each site, identifying gaps in the network and unmet demand for current and near term EV drivers. When EVgo and a site host agree on a partnership, EVgo can help prioritize the sites that will have the highest potential for near-term utilization...and customers for the retailer.

EVgo’s proprietary technology is extremely accurate in predicting utilization by factoring 14+ independent variables and leveraging the latest machine learning and GIS technology. Some of the independent variables it considers includes, “Are nearby chargers being utilized?,” “Is there EV market penetration in the area?,” “What is the area’s population?,” “Is it an area with workers that commute?,” and “Is the area already saturated with chargers?” The model also factors in an explicit empirical environmental justice overlay to influence an equitable rollout of EV charging infrastructure. Learn more about EVgo’s actions to promote electric for all.

All of these factors are key in starting to understand the economic viability of installing EVgo chargers at a location, as well as the traffic that the chargers would bring to the host’s property. Once the location is approved after analysis with the proprietary siting technology, it’s time to zoom in even closer to evaluate site attributes like convenience for customers and electrical equipment.

Second Question: Are there appropriate parking spots to put the chargers?

EVgo’s site development team uses a combination of in-person visits, desktop research from looking at property maps or leveraging Google Earth views, and new technology including drone assessments to determine if there is ample space and locate the ideal location within a parking lot for a new station.

EV charging station retail property

Fast chargers are easiest to install and access when they can be near existing electrical equipment (ideally a junction box, utility switch, or power lines) and have landscaping available. There are also benefits to siting chargers closer to the center of lots such as increasing visibility among EV drivers passing by to increase visits, as well as helping to promote the site host’s sustainability branding. We can consider the current usage of parking spots through our preliminary assessments but will also work closely with the site host during this step.

Following an initial assessment, EVgo will check its internal assumptions against a civil survey and continue detailed development work.

Third Question: Can the charger be connected to the grid?

As part of the preliminary evaluation of a site, an EVgo site developer will scout how the power is getting to the property. Fast chargers almost always get power from the grid which means wires need to be connected to transfer the electricity. To confirm interconnection options, EVgo consults with the local utility to see if the fast chargers can be connected and if a transformer, which steps up or steps down the voltage, will be needed.

The cost and labor involved in the grid interconnection process is tied to the previous step of siting the chargers on the property. Siting the chargers near a point of connection can have cost-saving implications - reducing or increasing the distance to lay electrical lines - which can have significant material and labor costs.

Fourth Question: Do we have final approval to build?

EVgo has a sense of viability before it pursues a project, however, before the physical installation begins, EVgo and its site host partner need to get permission from the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) – which is likely to be a part of a County or local governing office.

When all these questions have been answered then EVgo can begin the process to secure the permits and break ground! You can learn more about the site development and installation process in a previous blog post, “Installing EVgo Charging Stations is as Easy as One, Two, Three.”

So to sum it up, EVgo leverages proprietary technology, a deep knowledge of EV customers, and a decade of project management experience to ensure that if we build the chargers, people will come.

Do you think your property would be a good fit?

We can’t accelerate electric vehicle adoption without you, the site host. If you think you have a property (or properties) that is ready to host EVgo fast charger, we’re always happy to help you evaluate your property’s suitability. Also, you can answer this preliminary list of questions to get one step closer to knowing if your property is optimal for hosting EV fast chargers:

Can customers access the chargers 24/7? (Note we also have proprietary technology to work around gated parking lots – Learn more about EVgo Access™)

  • Is there space for electrical equipment?

  • Can you dedicate at least three parking stalls to EV fast charging?

  • Is your property ADA accessible?

  • Is your property located in a dense EV market? Do you see a lot of EVs driving around or parking at your property?

  • Is your property in a convenient, high traffic area?

If you answered “yes” to all or most of these questions, we’d love to help you confirm that your site is suitable and work with you to add chargers to your property. Simply fill out some details about your property and we’ll be in touch!

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Drone shot of EVgo chargers in a shopping area

The ideal host property for EVgo fast chargers provides:

  • 24/7 Access to chargers

  • Space for electrical equipment

  • ADA accessibility (if applicable)

  • Ability to dedicate at least three parking stalls to EV fast charging

  • A convenient high traffic area with public access (grocery store, retail shopping center, gas station, parking lot/structure, or hotel)