Six Questions To Ask Before Buying
Electric Vehicle Charging Stations!

Just like any type of technology purchase, you can go with the fully loaded version or the bare bones version. Features that increase the price include:

  • Adding additional connectors so the station can charge 2 or more cars at one time.
  • Adding wireless technology to allow customers to activate and pay for the charging station with a wireless mobile app.
  • Higher power charging stations, such as Level 3 DC Fast Chargers, can be significantly more expensive than a typical Level 2 charger.
  • Optional accessories such as pedestal mounts (as opposed to wall mounting), cord management systems and “Tough” connectors that offer greater weather resistance can add to your cost.
  • Pricing can also vary depending on the manufacturer you choose. Different brands offer unique features or designs that can affect pricing.
  • Depending on where you install the device there are various state and local government cash rebates available that will subsidize your investment.

You can also use your charging station to generate revenue either by accepting payment from customers and/or using your charging station as a revenue generating mini-billboard.

Level 2 charging stations are the most commonly used charging stations for businesses. Pricing for commercial grade Level 2 chargers can range from approximately $1500 to $7000 each depending on the options and brand chosen. Level 3 DC Fast Charging stations can range from approximately $15,000- $35,000 and have the ability to fully charge many EVs in 20 minutes. Residential grade Level 2 chargers typically range from approximately $300 to $700. Many government cash rebates are available to subsidize your investment depending on the chargers’ location. Installation costs can vary depending on proximity to electrical panel, panel upgrades (if necessary), trenching/asphalt/concrete work, permitting requirements, etc.

Depending on your vehicle’s charge capacity, a Level 2 charging station can take approximately 2-8 hours to fully charge a car from 0% to 100%.  However, most EV drivers are not charging starting at 0%.  Range anxiety pushes EV drivers to be constantly on the lookout for charging opportunities so they can constantly “top off” (i.e. charge battery from 60% to 100%).  In those cases, an EV driver may only require 30 minutes to 4 hours, depending on their needs.

There are various business models to consider:

  • If you wish to cost justify strictly on the basis of selling electrons and you have just a modest number of paying customers each day, you can generate anywhere from $100.00 to $500.00 per month in gross margin. This would take approximately 6 months to 4 years to payback and after that it is pure profit. Since rates for electricity vary in different locales and at different times of the day, the cost basis can vary. Ultimately, selling electrons is not the best ROI model. There is a much bigger picture to consider.
  • If you are a business owner and you want to attract customers, then a charging station can rapidly show a great ROI depending on the net margin of the products or services you sell. In fact, many retail stores like Target have put in EV charging stations that are offered to customers free of charge. These parking spaces are in high demand. It is not uncommon to see them occupied 80% of the day. If that parking space generates 10 paying customers a day each generating $20 in gross margin, then that adds up to $200 per day in gross margin. At that rate an EV charging station pencils out in a matter of a few months or less.
  • If you are a property owner or manager then the EV charging station serves as a capital upgrade to the property that helps retain existing lessors, helps attract new tenants and is used to cost justify annual rent increases. Depending on your property, number of tenants, lease per sqft price, an EV charging station can generate $10,000 to $200,000 or more per year with either a modest decrease in your vacancy rate or a modest increase in your lease rate.
  • If you are a creative entrepreneur then the EV charging station becomes a tool to rationalize a broader Sustainable Energy marketing strategy that differentiates your business from your competitors. When you combine your EV charging station with solar panels, solar battery storage, low energy LED lighting and more, then your “Zero Carbon Footprint” positions you uniquely in your marketplace. By marketing your embrace of a sustainable energy business model, you attract like-minded customers that share your values and want to do business with you.
  • If you are a financially-driven Human Resources Manager, then an EV charging station is a way to attract and retain employees. The cost of an EV charging station and installation can be quickly cost justified by the productivity increases of keeping good employees. Or, to look at it from the other side, an EV charging station can help you avoid the loss of good employees which leads to decreased productivity and an increase in training costs of new employees. In a low unemployment marketplace, an EV charging station can help differentiate your job opportunity and be an emotional reason to recruit like-minded, socially-conscious employees.

Yes.  Customers can use an app on their mobile phone to activate the charging station.  You can control how much to charge.  Options include charging flat rates per charge, charge by the minute or charge by the KW/hour.  You can charge different rates depending if the charging station is activated or if the station is idle while the EV driver is squatting on the space after their EV has been topped off.  Most will use some combination of a flat rate and a per minute rate.  Many EV charging station owners make their device free for use as a means of attracting customers and retaining good employees.

Yes.  Many charging stations are available on leases of 3-5 years with a $1 buyout (depending on your credit worthiness).  Ask us about your options.