EV Charging – The Old Way vs the New Way
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The old way vs the new way
The current way a lot of businesses get EV charging is to get a network to pay for it. That’s great for both businesses. You get a few more customers and the network increases their availability. There is usually a long term agreement built in so that the ROI for the network justifies the investment. And to be fair to all involved, this has pretty much been the only way to get EV charging into car parks for a number of years. On the surface all looks good, however as an EV (hybrid) driver, for me it’s not a great experience. In order for me to be able to charge, I need to have the right app for the right network. That could be one of more than 15 apps. Who wants apps any more?
What’s the customer journey. I drive into your car park. I might – might – know the network of the EV charging units, but likely not. I drive into the space, work out what the network is, download the app, sign up, put my card details in, work out how to start a charge with the app and then, finally, I can get on with my day. I then go to another car park. Likely a different network. Same thing, again and again. Potentially 15 car parks with 15 different networks. Eventually, of course I will have all the apps downloaded (I currently have 7) and will be able to go anywhere. But what a poor customer journey. At some point I’m sure the number of suppliers will drop, but until then it’s not a great experience.
And what about for you as an operator? Network led EV charging has its good and bad points. Good because you get more people in your car park. Good because you have a couple of spaces available for EV charging. However, you also have all the cost. You pay for the energy. The network takes the revenue. Yes, you may get a portion of that, but it will be a very small portion. And as energy prices rise, your costs rise. To encourage more drivers to charge, the prices are kept lower, keeping up the usage of the chargers which in turn means your costs go up again.
At what point does the cost of providing the energy for the charging outweigh the benefit of getting a couple of EV drivers into your business?
And is this really the best way forward? I suppose it could be if the primary reason was to roll out EV charging and a network based rollout was your only option. I don’t think that is the primary reason.
What would be a better option? You roll out EV charging in your car parks – 4, 6 or 8 spaces with fast charging for nothing upfront and just pay a simple monthly subscription. That would be better. You set the tariffs. You take the revenue. Your customers don’t need to use an app. Your customers start the charge direct in the car park. No phone, no network. Your customers pay for their charging and parking in a single transaction, at the payment machine or at the exit. All the benefits of a network led solution – encouraging more customers to park in your car parks – but with additional benefits to you and your customers. Surely that’s a better solution for everyone.
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