EV Charging: Business or Service?

It’s the wild west in the EV charging market right now. With so many charging hardware vendors and service providers seeking to sell their products should you decide the appropriate direction for your organization?

Even before you look at the price of a charging station or the design; there is a critical strategic consideration, is the charging going to be a business or a service? Do you want to generate revenue from the chargers or are they going to be “free energy” to users.

The answer to that question leads you determine if you want a charger, and if so the type. Free energy deployment can be relatively easy and straightforward, if it fits your business model. On the other hand, networked chargers have software platforms built in that enable consumer to pay for the charging session. They handle the financial transaction process between the device, the user and the banks, of course for a fee. You set the fees you want to charge and at the end of the month they send you a check for the revenue they have collected, less, of course, their fees.

You may not yet be comfortable with the idea of contracting with an EV service provider for long-term network services. It can be a challenge to understand the business models of EV manufacturers. Running the numbers is difficult because there are no models available to do ROI analysis, given projected revenue, initial deployment costs, and maintenance and service fees.

You may be told by vendors to “trust us to run these networks in partnership with you. We’ll be economically fair and provide the features owners desire.” That pitch may not be enough, you may counter with “I have to consider my vendor as an economic and technical partner, not just an equipment provider. That makes my risk of doing business greater, and my decision process more complex.” The bottom line is that deploying EV chargers is a business decision before it’s a technical one.

I’ve spent the last few years helping organizations reach the right decision for their business needs. Getting to the right decision requires a good guide, or Sheriff, to guide you through the Wild West of EV charging.

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