Electric vehicles (EVs) are the future of transportation. Each year, more people buy EVs, and car manufacturers continue expanding their EV offerings, promising to make either most or all their fleet EVs by the mid-2030s to early 2040s. One of the great benefits of EVs over traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles is the ability to recharge the car’s battery anywhere that can support a charging station. Instead of going to a gas station to fill up your car, you can charge your car from home, work or even while running errands. Eventually, an EV owner who may only have a few miles left until empty could stop at any number of retail location with a charging station as opposed to ICE owners who must frantically search for a gas station before they run out of fuel.
Even though EVs are becoming more popular, the charging station infrastructure is still being built. There are dedicated charging network sites located across the country, but there are still plenty of businesses out there that don’t realize installing EV chargers at their sites can help increase their revenue. There are many different strategies business owners can utilize to maximize EV charging revenue at their sites, but choosing the right plan comes down to the amount of time customers spend at their sites.
Generally, businesses with shorter customer dwell times (≤45 minutes) benefit by having direct current fast chargers (DCFCs). DCFCs provide a greater charge in a shorter amount of time, which helps leverage convenience to their customers. Businesses with longer customer dwell times (2+ hours) can benefit from Level 2 (L2) chargers. L2 chargers don’t charge as fast as DCFCs but because customers are on site for longer periods of time, so they can plug their car into the charger and go about their normal routine while their car is charging. Businesses with moderate customer dwell times (45 minutes – 2 hours) can benefit from a hybrid strategy since customer dwell times can vary depending on what a customer needs from that business at that moment. Below are four business types that can benefit from providing EV charging:
Quick-service restaurants account for nearly half of all dining establishments in the nation, but the other half includes all types of sit-down restaurants where customers can spend 30 minutes to a few hours on site. These dwell times present the opportunity for restaurant owners to earn additional revenue from customers who own EVs by providing EV charging stations. One of the advantages of EV chargers is that regardless of whether EV owners go about their same routine when dining or if they stay a bit longer to get more of a charge, in most cases restaurant owners can earn more revenue from them than from non-EV customers. Although dining bills should be about the same for both EV and non-EV owners, restaurants can earn additional revenue from EV customers who pay to charge their vehicles. Some restaurant owners might worry about losing money by not being able to turnover tables quickly if EV owners remain there longer than non-EV owners. While table turnover might be slower, the average hourly charging revenue can be around $25 – $35. A fast casual restaurant whose average check is $12 would have to serve three more non-EV owners per hour and a fine dining restaurant that is open for 12 hours with an average check of $100 would have serve three to five more non-EV owners per day to equal or surpass the revenue from EV charging.
Shopping centers come in all shapes and sizes, from strip malls to multi-anchor shopping complexes. Developers and mall owners need to understand how long customers typically stay on site in order to determine the best EV charging strategy. Shopping centers that have customer dwell times of 10 minutes or less probably won’t benefit much from EV charging. For businesses with very short customer dwell times, it is often best to offer free charging to convince customers to stay on site longer and get them to buy additional items to increase store revenue. Since developers earn revenue from rent and not tenant sales, it doesn’t make sense for them to offer free EV charging.
Larger shopping centers will have greater ability to earn charging revenue since customer dwell times are longer. These shopping centers can provide customers with L2 and DCFC charging so customers can select the charger type that best fits their routine and the needs of the EV. To maximize revenue, it is best to understand how many customers have EVs and select chargers based on the percentage of customer dwell times. If 5% of a mall’s customer base owns an EV, 5% of their parking spaces should have EV chargers. If 40% of customers spend less than an hour at the mall and the other 60% spends over an hour there, 40% of the chargers should be DCFCs and 60% should be L2. If a large shopping center has 10,000 parking spots, 500 should have EV chargers, and of those 500, 200 should be DCFCs and 300 should be L2.
All types of outpatient facilities can benefit from offering EV charging. From preventative care offices, ambulatory surgery buildings to multi-use sites, EV-owning patients can spend a significant amount of time receiving medical care, which is a perfect opportunity for outpatient facilities to earn charging revenue. Preventative and immediate care offices that have patient dwell times of less than an hour will probably benefit most from primarily offering DCFCs while diagnostic testing and ambulatory surgery facilities are more suitable for L2 charging. These facilities can have patients there for several hours, so providing EV charging enables patients to charge their vehicles while they are receiving the care they need.
EV charging for in-and-out medical facilities presents a similar scenario to the fast-casual restaurant example, but with one major difference. Like a restaurant, preventative care and immediate care facilities aim to provide their services in a timely manner in order to keep wait times down and maximize the number of patients they can see. Unlike at restaurant, EV owners will have no reason to linger after their appointment. This means EV owners and non-EV owners alike will have similar dwell time so there is no need to try and balance each vehicle owner to maximize revenue. All EV charging revenue is additional income without any additional opportunity cost.
The best places to install EV chargers are at multi-unit housing complexes. For most types of businesses, there needs to be some type of convenience factor to get customers to pay for EV charging, especially for businesses with shorter customer dwell times. It is easier to convince customers to pay to charge their vehicles when they are already spending significant time at a site because they don’t need to adjust their routine to benefit from EV charging. Since owners can charge their vehicles at home overnight for the lowest cost, most EV charging will take place at home, making most types of multi-unit housing perfect for EV charging.
One of the bigger challenges for installing EV chargers at multi-unit housing complexes is where to place them. Excluding unit garages that are owned by the tenant, the two most common types of parking layouts are open parking lots and either assigned or unassigned parking lots for specific clusters of units. For open parking lots, the most convenient way to install chargers is to dedicate a section of the lot to EV charging. When planning where to put EV chargers in a parking lot, they should be located close to accessible parking, but they cannot replace accessible parking. Since it is complicated balancing which accessible spots should get EV chargers and which should just remain accessible spots, it is best to spec out all EV spaces to the same dimensions as ADA spaces. The number of chargers to install will depend on the current number of EV owners plus the projected increase over the next few years.
Parking clusters that don’t have assigned spaces can follow the same guidelines as standard open parking lots, but the layout for parking clusters with assigned spaces poses more challenges. The design will have to consider how many tenants have EVs and provide EV charging near their buildings. Many EV chargers have the capability to charge two vehicles at once, so reassigning spaces to locate EV owners together makes it easier to manage the number of chargers needed for a given parking cluster. Once the chargers are installed, the units that have EV charging spots can be marketed as “EV friendly” so buildings can be filled accordingly. This cycle can continue as more EV owners move in until EVs become the majority of vehicles on the road.
Electric vehicles are the future of transportation, so getting your business ready to support EV charging will pay dividends in the future. Chargers themselves are becoming more advanced: Many chargers feature video screens that can be utilized to generate advertising revenue. Some chargers even have network connectivity, allowing businesses to utilize geofencing to expand their advertising capabilities. As time goes on, each charger’s ability to earn revenue will increase as EV ownership increases.
There are many challenges to installing EV chargers and business owners may be afraid that the immediate ROI will not be great enough to justify installing chargers. However, there are some EV providers that will split the cost of installation for a percentage of charging and advertising revenue, and some business owners could earn significant revenue by being the sole owners of their chargers. If you are curious about the potential revenue you could earn by installing EV chargers at your sites, click here to contact us today.