As you determine whether an electric vehicle charging station is a good choice for your business or community, here are a few things to consider:
Outcomes: What is your reason for installing an EV charging station? What kind of results do you want to see?
Customer experience: Where will you put the EV charging station? Who will use it? How long do you expect customers to be at the EV charging station? What will the customers do while their vehicle is charging?
Budget: What budget do you have to install an EV charging station? How many EV charging stations do you need?
Revenue: You have the option to set up a fee structure to use the EV charging station. Are you expecting to collect revenue?
Timeline: When do you want the EV charging station operational?
Availability: Do you want to advertise the EV charging station publicly? If so, how will you market it to your audience?
Once you have made the decision to move forward with an EV charging station, you can explore your specific options and the costs involved in greater detail. Here are some helpful tips:
A) Get quotes from EV charging station vendors.
To get the most accurate cost estimate for your project, research the various EV charging station manufacturers and their products. Get quotes to compare prices and ask for spec sheets to help engineers and electricians evaluate equipment and infrastructure needs.
Here is a nonexhaustive list* of EV charging station manufacturers to get you started:
ABB, Blink, BTC Power, ChargePoint, EVgo, KemPower, Flo, Freewire, Phihong, Siemens, Tritium and ZEF Energy.
*Alliant Energy does not endorse any EV charging station manufacturer mentioned or not mentioned. Alliant Energy is not liable for any damage or malfunctions from EV charging stations purchased from an EV charging station manufacturer or vendor.
Questions to consider during your research of EV charging stations include:
- How long is the warranty and what does it cover?
- What safety certifications (UL, ETL or Energy Star) does the EV charging station have?
- How is the EV charging station maintained?
- How is the EV charging station repaired and how long does it take on average to repair?
- Is the EV charging station able to support multiple software platforms to assist with processing payments and data management? Supporting multiple types of software is called Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP) compliant.
- What type of connections do the charging ports have and what type of electric vehicles can use them? Common types of connections include but are not limited to CCS, CHAdeMO and J-1772.
- Are there additional costs involved in making the EV charging station operational, such as commissioning?
- Can the manufacturer meet Buy America standards? This is needed for National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) projects.
B) Check the electric service manuals.
The service equipment you order, such as Current Transformer (CT) cabinets, will need to align with Alliant Energy’s electric service rules. Check out our electric service manuals first and contact us at 1-800-ALLIANT (800-255-4268) if the equipment is not listed in the manual. We will review the project to make sure you order the right equipment, saving you time and money.
C) Explore possible software platforms.
With a list of compatible software platforms provided by the charging station manufacturer, get quotes from multiple software platform providers to compare prices. Some questions to consider asking the software platform provider include:
- What kind of access restrictions can be set up to allow only certain drivers to use the changing station?
- How does a customer enable the EV charging station to charge their vehicle?
- What kind of fee structures can be set up?
- How does a customer pay for EV charging services?
- How much of the fees collected will the software company keep? How much of the fees collected will I receive?
- Are there one-time commissioning fees for activating the EV charging station?
- How much does the software cost per year?
- Does the software require a specific cellular connection? If so, how much does it cost?
- How is the software maintained and updated?
- What do I do if I notice the charging station is not online or operating?
- How often do you run reports to see if stations are offline, and how long does it take to get them back online?
- Will the software notify me if the charging station is offline?
- Can I schedule when the charging station is available for use?
- Can I set a maximum kilowatt or kilowatt-hour output to limit the electricity demand at any point in time?
Note for Iowa customers: Effective July 1, 2023, the state of Iowa will collect a $0.026 per kilowatt-hour excise tax on the sale of electricity from nonresidential EV charging stations into a battery or other energy storage device of an electric motor vehicle. Ask the software manufacturer about their product’s ability to meet this requirement. Learn more about the tax here.
D) Evaluate the costs and funding options.
These charts can help you estimate the project cost of your EV charging station, as well as funding resources that may be available to you:
Table 1: Electric vehicle charging station summary
|type of charging stations||users||estimated project
|- Visitors staying more than one hour.
- Visitors staying less than one hour to top off, rather than get a full charge.
- Drivers who need an overnight charge.
|- Visitors staying one hour or less but needing a full charge.
- Drivers who need to charge quickly.
|20 kW: $15,000-$30,000
50 kW: $40,000-$60,000
100 kW: $60,000-$80,000
150 kW: $80,000-$100,000
180+ kW: >$100,000
NEVI projects: $1 million
*Note: Actual project costs may vary based on EV charging station prices, installation costs and services purchased such as warranties.
Table 2: Funding options
|IADOT NEVI||Iowa Clean Cities|
|WisDOT NEVI||Wisconsin Clean Cities|
For Level 2 EV charging stations:
Iowa customers: Visit the Alliant Energy Marketplace.
All customers: Check out EPA’s EnergyStar website for qualifying EV charging stations.
Other funding resources:
A) Contact Alliant Energy and an electrician to schedule a site visit.Alliant Energy will evaluate the grid infrastructure up to the meter. The electrician will evaluate the electrical infrastructure from the meter to the EV charging station. Having Alliant Energy and an electrician meet at the same time makes evaluating infrastructure needs and designs quicker and easier. Contact us at 1-800-ALLIANT (800-255-4268).
B) Send the necessary information.
Before the site visit, we ask that you provide the following information to Alliant Energy and the electrician:
- The type of EV charging station.
- The number of EV charging stations being installed now and in the future. If you are likely to add more stations in the next 10 years, mention this. It costs less to purchase and install equipment once rather than multiple times, and you'll want to know all your options before construction begins.
- Where you are planning to install the EV charging station.
- Your timeline for installing the EV charging station.
C) Have your questions ready at the site visit.
During the site visit, here are some of the questions you may want to ask:
- What infrastructure upgrades are needed?
- How much will the upgrades cost?
- What would be the cheapest place to put the EV charging station?
- What is the timeline for getting equipment and installing it?
- How much of the cost would a construction allowance cover?
Note: If you are interested in installing a Level 3 EV charging station and have single-phase power to your site, consider whether an EV charging station model that comes with a battery might be a more cost-efficient option for you. Work with Alliant Energy and the EV charging station manufacturers to evaluate the best solution.
Work with Alliant Energy, the electrician and other vendors to complete the electrical and civil construction to support the EV charging station. Work with the software platform provider to commission the EV charging station and resolve any problems.
When everything is completed, make sure the EV charging station is operational by plugging in an electric vehicle. Work with the electrician and EV charging station manufacturer to resolve any problems.
What if I only want a specific group of drivers (i.e., employees or guests) to be able to use the EV charging station?
Access to the EV charging station can be restricted. The software platform provider will be able to set up restrictions and come up with the access solution that works best for your needs.
How do drivers pay to use the EV charging station?
Most software platform providers require drivers to create an account linked to a method of payment. Drivers can access their account through a website, a mobile app or a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) card. Consult with the software platform provider about how fees are collected and how much of those charges would be given back to you.
Other equipment such as credit card readers can be installed on the EV charging station for an additional cost that can charge credit cards directly. Consult with the EV charging station manufacturer about other payment methods their equipment supports.
How do I set up fees to use the EV charging station?
There are two main structures used to set up fees on an EV charging station: Fees based on kilowatt-hours (kWh) and fees based on time. The software platform provider will be able to set up a fee structure that meets your needs.
In Iowa, an EV charging station serviced by the electrical grid are able to charge fees by the kWh. An EV charging station not serviced by the electric grid but by a form of self-generation such as solar energy may be considered a public utility for charging drivers by the kWh.
In Wisconsin, the current interpretation of the Public Service Commission (PSC) Chapter 196 is that only public utilities are able to charge customers directly by the kWh for using electricity. Time-based fee structures are the best solution at this time to charge drivers for using the EV charging station in Wisconsin.
What is a networked EV charging station?
A networked EV charging station is connected via Wi-Fi, ethernet or cellular modem. The network connection provides more information about the use of the EV charging station and makes processing payments easier. Consult the charging station manufacturer and software provider about the best network connectivity option for you.
How much does electricity cost for a charging station?
In Iowa, time-of-day rates are available that could save money if charging stations are primarily used during off-peak hours. Keeping peak demand lower during on-peak and off-peak hours will save money, especially with Level 3 fast charging stations. Certain software can control how much power charging stations use at any given time and set a maximum demand. Consult with the software provider about these options.
In Wisconsin, time-of-day rates are available that could save money if charging stations are primarily used during low-rate periods. Rates also include a demand limiter that caps the cost of electricity per kWh any time the charging station is used. This is beneficial for sporadically used Level 3 fast charging stations.
Learn more about our electric rates.