How Electricians Can Make Money Installing EV Charging Stations
By: Michael Purser | Sep 14, 2023
Becoming a certified installer of electric vehicle charging stations provides an exciting opportunity to grow your business. Licensed electricians are uniquely positioned to take advantage of a boom in demand for EV chargers. S&P Global estimates that EV charging infrastructure will need to quadruple by 2025 to accommodate America’s appetite for electric vehicles.
That surging need for new electric vehicle charging infrastructure puts electricians in the spotlight and opens doors to new markets and billions of dollars in public and private installation jobs. Electricians who prepare to meet the demand will reap the benefits as businesses and homeowners scramble to add EV chargers to parking lots and garages all over America.
Learn about new opportunities in EV charging station installation, the skills you need to expand your client base, and the regulations that are shaping this expanding market.
A Growing Need for EV Charging Infrastructure
Electric vehicles are on the rise. The sale of electric vehicles, or EVs, increased 55% in the U.S. during 2022, reaching a total sales share of 8%. That explosive growth is projected to continue through 2023, with the International Energy Agency expecting a 35% year-over-year increase in new purchases.
To help fuel America’s turn toward EVs, the Biden-Harris Administration announced $7.5 billion in public funding for EV charging in an effort to create a national network of 500,000 EV charging stations. That funding is just part of the recent Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s provision for new electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE), including the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program.
The demand for new electric car charging equipment isn’t limited to commercial EV chargers. As more Americans buy into an electric future, private companies are scrambling to fill the need for home EV charging stations — including level 1 charging outlets and level 2 charging equipment.
From private garage stations to public parking lot rapid chargers, electricians will be the ones installing the equipment that will make a coast-to-coast EV charging network a reality. And they will make a lot of money doing it.
The Competitive Advantage of EV Charging Station Installation
The U.S. faces a shortage of licensed electricians. Through the end of the decade, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates approximately 73,500 new job openings each year. A major factor in that shortage is the need for skilled electricians who can tackle the upcoming boom in NEVI-funded commercial EV chargers.
Every single one of the projected 500,000 electric car charging stations, composed of at least four DC fast chargers, will need full switchgear and field wiring. Building the skills needed to perform safe, efficient commercial installations gives a licensed electrician access to an emerging market backed by billions of dollars of federal incentives.
The Edison Electric Institute anticipates the need for 12.9 million EV charging ports in the United States by 2030. Furthermore, it expects 74% of those ports will be installed in single- or multi-family residential units. The International Code Council is so confident in the future of electric vehicles that it amended its building codes to require EV-ready wiring in all new construction. Licensed electricians working on new construction will be well-rewarded for serving as electric car charging station contractors.
Additionally, residential electrical contractors are well-positioned to help homeowners expand their home service to accommodate a new 120-volt or 240-volt home charging station. The expansion of 240-volt service in older homes will be big business for electricians as they work to accommodate the need for at-home level 2 charging stations across America.
Getting Started with EV Charging Station Installation
With billions of dollars of demand for EV charging stations expected over the next decade, now is the time to develop your skillset and expand your business. But where should you start?
Education and Training
The first step in becoming an EV charger installation electrician is to keep up to date with code changes and your understanding of EVSE. Electric vehicles and EV charging stations are still relatively new, so both technology and supporting codes will change frequently over the next few years.
In particular, stay focused on changes to the National Electrical Code (NEC). Article 625 of the NEC lists code requirements for electric car charging systems. Since EV charging is considered a continuous load under NEC, there are some extra protections built into the standards that govern EV charger installation.
A detailed study of NEC Article 625 will prepare you to stay compliant while installing EV charging stations. Brush up on GFCI protection requirements, the minimum height for charger outlets, cable length requirements, ventilation needs, and more.
Regulations change frequently. But technology moves much faster. Right now, there are three levels of EV charging equipment, depending on the average charging speed.
Level 1 Charging
- Uses 120 V alternating current (AC) plugs
- AC slow chargers provide approximately five miles of range per hour of charging
- Charging equipment is portable
- Uses NEMA connectors on one end and SAE J1772 connectors on the other
- Suitable primarily for household use
Level 2 Charging
- Uses 240 V or 208 V AC outlets
- Charges approximately 25 miles of range per hour of charging
- EVSE is permanently installed
- Dedicated 40-Amp circuits are required
- Uses SAE J1772 connectors or Tesla-specific NACS connectors
- Most common EV charging station at home and in public
Level 3 Charging
- Uses 480 V or 1000 V direct current (DC) power
- DC fast chargers provide up to 200 miles or more of range per 30 minutes of charging
- Charging units are permanently installed
- Uses CCS connectors (SAE J1772 combo), CHAdeMO connectors, or Tesla-specific NACS connectors
- Available for commercial EV charging stations and fleet applications
All three levels of electric car charging stations have their own benefits, limitations, drawbacks, costs, and use cases. As electric vehicle technology leaps ahead, these designations may change. New equipment may become standard. Older models may fall out of use. Many regulatory bodies and industry groups have an interest in shaping the future of EVSE, not to mention car manufacturers themselves.
For the licensed electrician looking to make money with EV charging station installation, it is crucial to stay current on new developments. Stay ahead of the market to capitalize on new opportunities and push your income even further.
Licensing and Certification
Installing an electric car charging station doesn’t currently require an additional license or certificate. The EV industry is still young and hasn’t developed a robust set of standards yet. If you are a licensed electrician, you already possess the basic skills and all the licensure needed to install EVSE.
However, several certification programs can help you increase your visibility and marketability as a certified EV charging station installer.
Tesla will promote you directly on its website if you become a Tesla Certified Installer, for instance. If you would prefer working with a single charging network, you can take a course to become a ChargePoint Installer. Programs like these give you additional advertising and referral opportunities through a particular company.
Until recently, there was no national standard for EV charging station certification. As part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, however, there is now a clear winner. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), along with other stakeholders and electrical industry groups, helped create a training certification program called the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Training Program (EVITP) as a company-agnostic professional standard.
As a condition for public funding under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, EVITP certification is a requirement for electricians who install electric car charging stations as part of the NEVI network. If you want to get involved in the Biden-Harris administration’s aggressive EV charging station rollout, you can satisfy the requirements of 23 CFR 680.106(j) by earning your EVITP certification.
Alternatively, you can complete a registered apprenticeship program for electricians that includes charger-specific training approved by the Department of Labor.
Even for chargers not built with government money, becoming an EVITP-certified EV charging station installer gives you a major competitive advantage over non-certified electricians. If you want to maximize your earning potential through EV charger installations, certification is one of the best investments you can make.
Master Local Regulations
In addition to federal regulations and national building codes, each jurisdiction has its own requirements for EV charger installation, designed to minimize fire risks and future-proof local communities. For instance, if you want to install an EV charger in Ventura, California, you must satisfy state permitting requirements and local residential charging station codes on top of all other applicable standards.
If you plan on installing EV charging stations in your area, make sure to study up on the permits and statutes you will need to follow to stay compliant. The last thing you want is to wrap up a successful installation only to find out it didn’t pass inspection.
Make Money with EV Charging Stations
Billions of dollars are up for grabs in the next decade for electricians who can install EV chargers. Keeping up to date with industry changes, investing in certification programs, and complying with rapidly developing regulations will increase your value and unlock the door to a growing revenue stream.
Whether you want to add EV charger installation to your broad skillset or become a contractor who specializes in EV chargers, opportunity is knocking. Embrace this evolving market to take advantage of a major shift in consumer, corporate, and government electrical needs. Start making money with electric car charging station installation.
S&P Global Mobility. (2023, January 9). EV Chargers: How many do we need? Retrieved from https://press.spglobal.com/2023-01-09-EV-Chargers-How-many-do-we-need
International Energy Agency. (2023, April 26). Global EV Outlook 2023. Retrieved from https://www.iea.org/reports/global-ev-outlook-2023
The White House. (2023, February 15). FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Announces New Standards and Major Progress for a Made-in-America National Network of Electric Vehicle Chargers. Retrieved from https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2023/02/15/fact-sheet-biden-harris-administration-announces-new-standards-and-major-progress-for-a-made-in-america-national-network-of-electric-vehicle-chargers/
U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration. (2023, June 21). National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Program. Retrieved from https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/nevi/
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2023, September 6). Occupational Outlook Handbook: Electricians. Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/construction-and-extraction/electricians.htm#tab-6
Edison Electric Institute. (2022, June). Electric Vehicle Sales and the Charging Infrastructure Required Through 2030. Retrieved from https://www.eei.org/-/media/Project/EEI/Documents/Issues-and-Policy/Electric-Transportation/EV-Forecast–Infrastructure-Report.pdf
International Code Council. (2021, October). 2021 Electric Vehicles and Building Codes: A Strategy for Greenhouse Gas Reductions – Building Code Amendments for Electric Vehicle Charging. Retrieved from https://codes.iccsafe.org/content/ICCEVBCSGGR2021P1/building-code-amendments-for-electric-vehicle-charging
U.S. Department of Energy Alternative Fuels Data Center. (n.d.). Developing Infrastructure to Charge Electric Vehicles. Retrieved from https://afdc.energy.gov/fuels/electricity_infrastructure.html
National Renewable Energy Laboratory. (2011, February). Electric Vehicle and Infrastructure Codes and Standards Chart. Retrieved from https://afdc.energy.gov/files/pdfs/48604.pdf
Tesla. (n.d.). How to Partner With Tesla. Retrieved from https://www.tesla.com/support/energy/powerwall/installer-resources/partner-with-tesla
ChargePoint. (n.d.). Become a Certified ChargePoint Installer. Retrieved from https://www.chargepoint.com/partners/commercial-installers
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. (2022, August 26). IBEW-Backed EV Training Picked for National Charging Network. Retrieved from https://www.ibew.org/media-center/Articles/22Daily/2208/220826_IBEW-Backed
Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Training Program. (n.d.). Apply for Training. Retrieved from https://evitp.org/training/
The Code of Federal Regulations. (2023, June 5). 23 CFR 680.106 — Installation, operation, and maintenance by qualified technicians of electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Retrieved from https://www.ecfr.gov/current/title-23/chapter-I/subchapter-G/part-680/section-680.106
California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development. (n.d.). Permitting Electric Vehicle Charging Stations: Best Practices. Retrieved from https://business.ca.gov/industries/zero-emission-vehicles/plug-in-readiness/permitting-electric-vehicle-charging-stations-best-practices/
City of Ventura Building and Safety Division. (2017, September). Submittal Guidelines: Residential Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Expedited Review. Retrieved from https://www.cityofventura.ca.gov/DocumentCenter/View/9894/Residential-Electric-Vehicle-Charging-Station-CHECKLISTGUIDELINES