As more employers, retailers, fleets and municipalities explore installing Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE), Clean Fuels Ohio regularly receives questions about the cost of the equipment and expected maintenance. Given that EVSE units seen at public and private sites today are relatively new technologies, there is not much significant data on the lifespan or average maintenance costs of EVSE.
Thankfully, research and support from the US Department of Energy Clean Cities Coalition provides some guidance to EVSE maintenance:
Non-networked Level 1 and Level 2 charging stations require very little maintenance and upkeep. You may need to replace the commercial grade electrical outlet periodically for Level 1 EVSE units which should cost no more than $100 in equipment and installation by an electrician. Level 2 EVSE stations are often modular in design, so any malfunctioning components can be replaced separately rather than replacing an entire unit. In general, the charging cord should be stored securely so it is not damaged. Any accessible EVSE parts should be checked periodically for wear and tear, and the overall system should be kept clean. You can clean the units with a damp cloth and some light detergent. Always make sure the equipment is de-energized before performing service on electrical components.
Networked, or “Smart” EVSE stations, will require slightly more upkeep and repair. EVSE units with advanced features or communications systems like data or payment collection may require more periodic maintenance than a basic unit simply because there are more components with the potential to malfunction. In many cases, a local electrician can troubleshoot problems with the units. EVSE manufacturers also offer extended warranties and other options that can reduce the long term maintenance and repair costs. In addition to warranties that cover replacement EVSE hardware, there may be warranties available to cover the labor to perform a repair.
Level 1 or Level 2 EVSE Maintenance Plan (sample case):
Replacement of charge cord due to vandalism (if not covered under warranty);
Replacement of EVSE unit at the end of its useful life (industry experts predict a lifespan of 10 years);
For networked units, add:
Cost of technician troubleshooting (if not covered in network subscription fees)
Cost of manual resets for software malfunctions
DC Fast Charging (DCFC) stations require more maintenance DCFC units require ongoing maintenance because they have cooling systems, filters and other components that do not exist in Level 1 or Level 2 units. Work with your supplier to establish a warranty and service plan that fits your goals, taking into account usage and site-specific needs.
Factor in maintenance when choosing an EVSE ownership model Charging station ownership models vary. Some charging station hosts choose to purchase, install and operate stations themselves. This model gives the host the ability to control the station, and allows them to keep all revenue generated if they elect to integrate this feature. Maintenance of the EVSE is not included in this model, but station hosts do have the option of contracting regular maintenance work to a third party if desired.
Other organizations will contract with a third party who pays the station equipment, installation and maintenance costs, and manages the logistics in return for lease payments or a share of the station’s revenue. This model minimizes your upfront costs and administrative responsibilities.
For additional resources:
Plug-In Electric Vehicle (PEV) Handbook for Public Charging Station Hosts (US DOE Clean Cities Technical Response)
Guidance in Procurement of EVSE (US Department of Energy)