We cover a lot of EV charging news here on CleanTechnica, and for good reason — EVs and EV chargers go hand and hand. But often the electricians that install these charging systems are overlooked. The contribution that these and other electricians are making to electrify the world should be recognized for their efforts. While electricians are still in high demand for traditional needs, the new niche of installing residential EV chargers is growing exponentially as more and more EVs are produced and taken to the road. In Minnesota, a new report indicates it’s becoming a steady stream of work for some electricians that is expected to grow rapidly in the coming years.
Minnesota has approximately 35,000 electric vehicles on the road today. As more people open up to going electric, as more electric vehicle options arise, and as EVs come down in price, that number will increase rapidly. Minnesota is using federal funds to help build out a public charging network along major highways, but even so, research indicates that most drivers conveniently charge at home.
Many people will need electrical improvements in order to charge at home, especially those with older homes or those who wish to benefit from faster charging or more than one charger, while some will only need to plug into an existing outlet in their garage and don’t need any electrical work at all. (It can also be necessary to install new equipment to take part in some utility programs.)
Electricians like Adam Wortman of St. Paul, who installed an electric car charger at the home of a clean energy advocate four years ago and has subsequently reorganized his company to almost exclusively focus on similar projects, are benefiting from this opportunity. “It’s where I see the demand,” Wortman said, “and from a business standpoint, it’s nice to have a specialty.”
It’s unknown exactly how many electricians have made the same decision, but 400 electricians have been educated and qualified by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 292 during the past two years to install commercial EV chargers along state and federal highways. Although, non-union contractors are more frequently used for residential installations.
Many electricians have actually bought electric cars by now, especially Teslas, and they are focused on solving problems or watching out for potential issues from their own experiences as well as their work installing chargers for others.
Bryan Hayes, founder and owner of Bakken Electric LLC, bought a Tesla in 2012. His team of 6 electricians in the Twin Cities region has installed more than 4,000 EV chargers now! Aside from EV chargers at houses, they (and other electricians) are also landing jobs installing charging stations at parking garages, apartment complexes, shopping centers, municipal buildings, restaurants, parks, and elsewhere. Again, though, homes are key — and we’re moving into a new era of EV adoption in which people without their own garage are needing charging more and more. “Condominiums and apartments [and] hotels are now a big focus of my business,” Hayes said.
“I think the market is getting more specialized and more niche than ever,” Sherman Electric owner Jim Sherman adds. “I know contractors that only work on hospitals, and I know contractors that only do apartment buildings.” This is in part because of the intricacies of building codes — different industries or types of buildings have different requirements for EV chargers, and that’s a barrier to new market entrants and a competitive advantage for the electricians who figure them out and then can more easily do future jobs in that segment. Interesting times in the EV charging and electrician world.
The demand for electricians to install residential EV chargers is only going to increase as more people switch to electric vehicles. If you are an electrician looking for a niche market, then this one looks very promising!
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