Here are some of the things I've learned so far...
- Parking lots weren't designed with spare power available. Therefore, most installations require power distribution work to get ample power out to the parking lot. This can be expensive if the job requires things like boring under pavement or step down transformers are involved. Because every property is different, it's very hard to make assumptions on how much a "typical" installation is.
- You have to balance the "best" parking space with a "cheap installation" parking space. The cheapest parking space install is usually the shortest distance to power. The best parking space is usually up front were it can be easily seen, has good security, and can be easily expanded on. Deciding on the right parking area is a skill, requiring you to walk the property manager through the options.
- Plan big, start small. If you buy into the idea that EVs will become the norm in 10 years...and therefore drivers will rely on public charging on a regular basis...then you should be the type that plans for expansion of your EV Chargers as EVs get popular. For a few of our customers, this means installing a 200 Amp service/panel near the parking area with larger conduit to support additional panels in the future. A 200 Amp service will easily drive four Level II (220V) EV Chargers and an additional circuit for a Level I (120V) charger too.
- Thanks Obama, Coulomb, NovaCharge, and Get Ready Central Florida. The ARRA funding that powered the Chargepoint America program in Orlando will GREATLY speed adoption of EVs in Central Florida. Why? The economy has sucked the slack out of all budgets...and installing EVSE is a luxury for most companies. Without these free units, trying to get people to pay for EV Chargers (and installation) before the cars arrive would be super tough...and without public chargers available, people will adopt EVs much slower.
I gotta say that it's very exciting to work in this field...and it's very challenging (read: not easy). We (car companies, EVSE vendors, installers) are basically starting up a new business during the worst recession since the Great Depression and asking cash-strapped businesses to pay for expensive things that will be used in the near future...that's hard! The good part is that this "slow" period allows us to concentrate on how to do this job right - as there is nothing worse than poor quality.