Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Financing

Electric Fleet Infrastructure Services Overview

Infrastructure refers to the necessary equipment, machinery, and support to maintain electrical vehicles. This includes different types of charging equipment, financing and support, and any related supplies and parts (such as EVSE ports and connectors).

There are three levels of EV charging:

Level 1
Level 1 charging stations are typically for personal use and simply plug into a standard wall outlet. It will take 24 hours or longer to fully charge an EV with a level 1 charger. Level 1 stations do not require any investment, but since they charge vehicles at a slower rate, they aren’t recommended for fleet charging.

Level 2
Level 2 stations are the most common charging stations at workplaces, and each level 2 connector is capable of charging more than one vehicle per day. With a level 2 charging depot, EVs can charge from 0% to 100% battery capacity in approximately 10-12 hours, and much less if starting from a partial charge.

Level 2 chargers can also be installed in a home for faster charging, reliably fully charging an EV overnight. You will find that many public charging stations are Level 2. Some Level 2 stations have multiple connectors that allow vehicles to charge simultaneously. Merchants Electrify Fleet recommends level 2 charging stations for our clients for both home and work locations.

Level 3 (DC Fast Charging)
Level 3, or DC fast charging ports, are available in some public depots. Although they can charge an EV to 80% in as little as 20 minutes of charging, this type of charging is more expensive and with daily use might degrade your vehicle’s battery more quickly.  However, DC fast charging can be used as part of a fleet strategy to alleviate charging congestion or to allow employees to charge vehicles quickly when needed.

Ensuring you have the right type of EV infrastructure in places means a more seamless experience and removes the worry about where and when you will recharge your vehicles.

We also offer traditional invoicing for EV charging, which means you don’t need a third-party charging agreement. We’ll simply provide a monthly invoice for all your costs, including EV charging infrastructure in addition to any other Merchants Fleet services and support.

Infrastructure Level Options

There are three main types of charging options, with depot and home charging being the most popular options for EV fleets. Public charging stations are available across the U.S., which can be helpful in the event your vehicle needs a quick charge between trips.

  • Depot: This is an overnight hub where fleet vehicles can recharge.
  • Home: Charging stations are available for drivers to charge their vehicles at home.

Key Considerations

Before securing any type of EV infrastructure financing, keep these key considerations in mind, and if you need more information, feel free to contact our fleet electrification specialists for assistance.

Budget & Funding
Your budget should detail funding, financing, and any type of cost consideration, including charging equipment, installation, operation, maintenance, extended warranty, and any type of annual charging network fee. Remember — you want to invest in the future and think about your company’s needs not just at the moment, but for the next few years.

Planning & Timeline
It takes time to implement an EV charging infrastructure solution, which can be anywhere from 12-16 months, especially if you have more than 3-4 plugs. If you’re considering EV fleet adoption, it’s important to start planning early, gain stakeholder buy-in, and ensure this type of project aligns with your broader environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals. Merchants Fleet advises our clients to explore an EV pilot program, which is a trial period for fleet managers to discover how to best incorporate EVs into their fleet.

Types of Charging Stations 
Do you need Level 1, Level 2, or Level 3 charging stations — or a combination of all three? If so, how many of each? It’s also important to keep in mind how many vehicles will need to be charged and how often, and how far your drivers will need to travel.

EV Interoperability
If you’re considering the use of public charging stations, make sure you conduct interoperability testing between vendors and suppliers. This will ensure the vehicle’s connector works with certain charging stations.

Ownership of Charging Equipment 
Who will own the charging assets? What happens if a driver with a home charging station leaves the company? These are important questions to consider when it comes to installing home charging equipment.

Geographic Location, Ownership & Regulations 
Additional considerations from the U.S. Department of Energy include permitting and inspections, signage, markings, utility needs, accessibility concerns, and whether the charging station will be site-hosted owned or third-party owned.

It’s also important to remember that charging stations are subject to local, state, and federal compliance laws and regulations. Also, depending on the location, a formal solicitation process might be required to buy and install any type of charging equipment.

Federal Funding Resources

EV Funding and resources are continually evolving. Since each state is different, we advise you to start with your state’s transportation department, or reach out to our fleet electrification specialists who can direct you to internal resources that are tailored to your area.

For details on federal EV infrastructure financing, we recommend the following:

EV Federal Funding and Financing Programs
The U.S. Department of Transportation provides an overview of
discretionary grant funding programs, formula grant funding programs, loan financing programs, and tax incentives. You can also find information on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which was signed into effect on Nov. 15, 2021 and provides additional funding opportunities for EV charging stations.

Electrification Coalition 
This non-profit organization implements strategies for widespread EV adoption, including advocacy, education, supply chain development, and more. They offer everything from webinars and case studies to police reports and the latest news on electric vehicles. We recommend reading Top 8 Takeaways from the Federal NEVI Guidance, which provides more details on the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

State Plans for Electric Vehicle Charging
This table illustrates actual and estimated funding by state, including information on EV charging coordinators and links to state-specific NEVI planning.

“We needed an EV charger installation partner that was able to hit a very tight deadline for getting units installed at multiple sites. I’ve worked with Merchants for years as a fleet client, and they delivered big time when it came to getting our chargers installed. We will be calling Merchants Fleet for our next round of installations.”

William Harris
Owner, Edge Auto

Frequently Asked Questions

What is level 2 charging?

Level 2 equipment offers charging at 208 or 240V AC. Level 2 charging equipment is compatible with all-electric vehicles (BEV) and plug-in electric hybrid vehicles (PHEV). Depending on the battery capacity and technology used in the vehicle, Level 2 charging generally takes between four and 10 hours to completely top-off a fully depleted battery.

What is Level 3/DCFC charging?

Level 3 equipment, also referred to as DC fast chargers, use high-voltage DC power to charge your vehicle. Most Level 3 chargers can provide an EV with 80% charge in about 30 minutes, but this will vary depending on the specifics of the charger and your EV’s battery capacity. Level 3 chargers are being deployed across the United States in public or commercial settings.

How do I budget for EVs?

You should consider all of the following costs associated with EVs: financing, charging equipment, installation, operation and maintenance fees, as well as any extended warranty and annual charging network fees. Our team will ensure that there are no surprises, and that you’re taking advantage of tax incentives to reduce your bottom line.

Are You Ready to Take the Next Step?

Our EV consultants are ready to answer your questions. Contact us today for more information or to get started on your EV adoption journey.