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Charger installation process and costs

    There are three contributing costs associated with the installation of Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) on a site:

    1. Electrical infrastructure
    2. Civil infrastructure
    3. Site safety

    The cost of a site is driven by the complexity of the installation tasks along with the cost of the actual EVSE unit itself. There are a number of strategies that can be employed to minimise costs.

    1. Electrical infrastructure

    Australian law requires that licensed electrical contractors conduct the installation of all permanently wired electrical equipment.

    The installation of a charging station may require a significant investment in the site electrical system, depending on the number and power of chargers installed.

    Installation of multiple Level 2 chargers or a Level 3 charger is likely to require an upgrade to the distribution board at a site.

    For high power installations such as DC (Direct Current) fast chargers or multiple Level 2 AC (Alternating Current) chargers, a special high voltage grid connection may be necessary. This requires the installation of a site transformer.

    Some sites such as large commercial buildings have sufficient capacity to install chargers without upgrade. An energy management system may help avoid these costly upgrades.

    Cost components of site charging system installation (electrical)

    ComponentDescription
    Design and labourAn electrician must design the circuit. A high voltage connection from the site to the grid requires a Level 2 electrician.
    NMI MeterNew connections require an NMI meter
    Cable, conduitsDelivers electricity to the chargers.
    Distribution boardThe charging system circuit must be connected to the site distribution board. 
    TransformerA transformer steps down the voltage from the grid connection to the site voltage level.

    2. Civil infrastructure

    Civil works are a major cost of outdoor charging stations. Each site may vary depending on whether the charging system is retrofitted or part of a new development, indoors or outdoors, rocky or soil ground and any other combination of circumstances.

    Indoor and outdoor installations

    For outdoor installations you can put electrical cabling through subterranean conduits which requires trenching.

    Retrofitting EV charging systems to a site may also requiring coring and tunnelling through concrete slabs.

    Indoor installations can avoid much of these costs by passing the electrical cabling through ceiling conduits and wall-mounting the charge points.

    Cost components of site charging system installation (civil)

    ComponentDescription
    Trenching and coringThe electrical cable must pass underground to supply pedestal mounted EVSE.
    ConcreteThe foundation of the EVSE pedestal, footpaths and gutters.
    InstallThe installation of the pedestal, bollards
    Site equipment and safety

    It is very important that drivers can identify the charging station, navigate safely to the charging bay and understand the rules of its use.

    Barriers such as bollards and tire stops are necessary to prevent vehicles colliding with the charging station.

    Cost Components of site charging system installation (site equipment and safety)

    ComponentDescription
    Road markingsLine and road stencil painting
    Vehicle SafetyTyre stops, bollards
    WayfindingSigns
    InstructionsHow-to signs
    LandscapingLow maintenance garden bed.

    3. Cost minimisation strategies

    It is very difficult to determine the expected cost of a charging station without a site inspection.

    There are a number of ways to minimise the cost of installation by:

    • minimising the physical footprint of the charge station – this reduces the length of cable and conduits while also reducing the amount of trenching tunnelling required
    • centralising the charge station management – this allows the use of simpler and/or cheaper charge points
    • planning ahead – installing a charge station may involve a number of stakeholders. It is important to involve energy utilities early on the process
    • installing multiple charge points at the same time – many costs can be shared between multiple charge points on one site. The economy of scale increases with number of charge points.

    To help you understand how each component contributes to the overall cost, we have provided an example “cost stack”.

    This particular example is for a Level 2 outdoor system utilising pedestal mounted EVSE. In this case, the cost per charge point falls with each subsequent charger installed.

    Example cost stack