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How to make money with EV charging stations

May 10, 2021 | Camille Charluet

Getting EV charging today is about more than just preparing your location for this shift in transportation—it’s also a clearcut path to attracting more visitors and earning more money. With public EV charging at your location, you open yourself up to a number of new profit-generating avenues. Below are a few examples of how adding EV charging can not only make your existing business more profitable but also be a new source of revenue all on its own.

How to boost customer spend with EV charging 

In today’s competitive landscape, businesses must think of creative ways to attract customers and encourage them to stay longer and spend more. Transforming your location into an EV charging destination is one of the simplest ways to do just that.

 Increase the time customers spend at your location 

Once EV drivers stop to charge, there is an obvious cross-selling opportunity for add-on products and services. Whether it’s a parent charging while getting snacks for their family, or a taxi driver topping up while grabbing some lunch, if you install charging stations, EV drivers will spend more time and money at your location.

Depending on the charger you choose and the size of an EV's battery, EVs can take anywhere from twenty minutes to six hours to charge. For shops, restaurants, or petrol stations, a fast (DC) charging solution is an ideal choice, fully charging even the largest battery in under an hour. However, since most EVs aren’t looking to charge from 0-100 per cent, a standard Level 2 (AC) charger will meet most drivers’ needs adding up to ~25 miles of range per hour. In many cases, a mix of AC and DC charging stations is the best solution.

Either way, by offering your customers a convenient charging experience, you also encourage them to spend time and money at your location while they wait.

 Attract loyal, high-value customers 

A study looking into the usage of EVs in the UK found that EV drivers have a higher income than petrol-car drivers. With more disposable income, your EV driving customers will not only spend more time at your location but also purchase higher-end items every time they visit. So, not only will you be attracting more business with EV charging, but the new business you’ll be attracting is more valuable too. Plus, these drivers are likely to turn into loyal, repeat customers as they know that they can charge whenever they visit your business.

 Instantly enhance your reputation 

For longer-stay destinations such as hotels or commercial parking lots, a standard (AC) charging solution may be more appropriate. By enabling your guests to charge while they sleep or go about their day, you can stand out from your competition and build a network of loyal, repeat customers.

 Put your business on the map 

EV charging stations also put your business on the map—quite literally. Popular navigation sites like Google Maps, and dedicated charging apps such as Zap-Map feature interactive maps that enable drivers to locate nearby public charging stations. By having charging stations at your site, you can boost your brand visibility on these platforms and attract new customers. 

Plus, with customised charging stations that display your brand colours or logo, you can dramatically improve your corporate image by letting everyone who sees your new charging stations know that your organisation is openly committed to a more sustainable future.

Even if sustainability isn’t a top priority for your business, environmental concerns are increasingly top-of-mind for your customers. By having charging stations on your property, you can establish your business as an eco-conscious organisation—and even qualify for some prestigious sustainability certifications.

How to generate consistent revenue with EV charging

Attracting new customers, earning brand loyalty, and increasing time (and money) spent at your location are all excellent examples of how EV charging can drive profitability. But the most obvious way EV charging can boost profits is the revenue earned from the stations themselves. Depending on the business model you choose, you can generate additional income by setting charging fees for charging sessions.

 Earn money by setting charging fees for your customers and visitors 

There are a few primary ways you can structure pricing on your charging stations and no “one-size-fits-all” approach—it really depends on what you want to get out of your setup. You can also test out different strategies any time you want. By having an overview of your stations’ pricing and energy usage via a charging management platform, making adjustments to your setup is as easy as updating a few settings.

Before you can start earning revenue from your charging stations, the first thing you need to figure out is how you want to bill for charging. As the charging station owner, you can set your charging fees and adjust them at any time. This may include a fixed session start or connection fee and a variable kWh rate. 

One common practice is to charge by the amount of energy being used (i.e., £0.10/kWh). You also have the freedom to define your mark-up (i.e., £0.35/kWh). So, as per below, if a car pulls up and needs to charge 25 kWh, that would be: 25 kWh x £0.45/kWh = £11.25

UK Gross Revenue per charging session

It’s important to note that consumers expect different energy prices depending on the type of charging your stations offer. AC charging tends to be cheaper and can take around four to six hours to fully charge a vehicle, depending on the model. DC charging prices are typically higher as fast charging allows drivers to spend less time plugged in, somewhere between 15 minutes and one hour. You can learn more about the difference between AC and DC charging if you’d like to dive a little deeper.

The amount of revenue you can earn also depends on your location type and how often it is utilised. At hotels, for example, guests typically park for eight to 12 hours overnight while they sleep. In this scenario, AC charging stations would be the ideal investment.

At rest stops or petrol stations, on the other hand, customers usually park for 15-30 minutes while grabbing a snack or coffee. In this scenario, DC fast-charging stations would be appropriate, with a quick enough turnover time to allow all your customers to charge quickly and get back on the road. You can see a breakdown of some other common scenarios and the estimated revenue you could potentially earn from each below.

UK Revenue Potential

You can also make individual agreements with your customers about their charging rates. For example, you could use a blanket strategy where everyone pays the same rate or a stratified strategy where some guests pay less than others (i.e., free EV charging for premium members). If you’re interested, you can take a look at some of the most common business models used by businesses like yours.

From cross-selling opportunities to generating consistent revenue, EV charging is the business opportunity of a generation—and it's only going to get bigger.

Want to know how to build the right EV charging solution?

Learn everything you need to know to turn your location into a premium EV charging destination by downloading our free ebook.

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