If you’ve driven on any road in the U.S. in the last few years, you will have recognized that the popularity of electric vehicles (EV) is booming. Millions of EVs are being bought each year worldwide, with more than 10 million EVs introduced to the roads in the last three years. While the automakers like Tesla, Ford, Toyota, and more have already started to capitalize on the shift to electric, there is plenty of opportunity for businesses not in the auto industry. One popular choice for EV investment has been the installation and management of EV chargers.
EV owners are constantly searching for the nearest charging station when away from home. This means that any commercial or residential property that has an EV charger can become a popular spot for EV owners – as long as it is well maintained.
If you’re a business or property owner looking to upgrade their property for the modern era and make a little extra money on the side, then installing an EV charger may be a great option. Here is everything you should know about the industry and what you will need to get started. You can get in contact with a EV charger locator business and they can connect you with an EV charger company or you can list your property on Micro Real Estate to get offers from EV charger companies.
EV Chargers are Great for Business
While EV makers are the first businesses to profit from the growing demand for EVs, tons of industries and opportunities are sprouting up from their success.
Why is there a Demand for EV Charging?
While EV sales are great for the environment and the economy, their use poses a unique problem for EV owners. Unlike gas vehicles that can be fueled in 3-5 minutes, EVs can take up to 12 hours to fully charge depending on the model of the EV charger and the EV itself.
Most EV owners plug their cars in each night, which can especially become a nuisance for the average person who already loses their wallet three times a day. Further, when EV owners take extended trips away from home, EV owners must plan their trips around where they can find an EV charger.
Since the typical EV only has a range from 150-250 miles and needs anywhere from 30-180 minutes to charge there is a great demand in the market for more EV chargers to be installed. In parts of the country that are less populated, there can often be long lines of people waiting to use the only available charger for miles. But as any good entrepreneur knows, someone’s inconvenience can be turned into an opportunity if you play your cards right!
EV Chargers are Good for Business
EV chargers can make any business or property (including rental properties like AirBNBs, VASAs, and VRBOs) money in two different ways. First of all, EV chargers are going to attract business. EV owners are constantly searching for EV chargers on their trips or in their neighborhoods. If an apartment complex or shopping center has an EV charger where owners can fuel their vehicles while they shop, that becomes a huge incentive to visit that property.
The other way EV chargers make you money is by charging EV owners for the electricity they use. Like a gas station, EV charger owners can charge EV owners for the energy they use.
However, unlike a traditional gas station, EV chargers can be installed almost anywhere, and be used at any time of day. Further, gas stations require tons of additional safety equipment, proper zoning and permits, and thousands of regulations that must be met. On the contrary, EV chargers are simple to install (they’re also very lightweight) and even easier to maintain. Because of this, EV chargers can turn almost any commercial or residential property into a money-making machine.
Whether you’re a store owner competing with online sales or a property manager trying to draw in new tenants, any reason that gives your customers to come back and stay is a huge bonus. EV chargers are a great way to make your property stand out from others in the neighborhood.
For instance, if your commercial property has a few EV chargers, EV drivers are going to prioritize shopping at your property over others due to the convenience factor. For residential and office properties, the convenience factor is even more important. Since EV ownership is on the rise, offices and residential complexes that don’t have EV charging capabilities will become non-starters for many people. In the same way that every motel now offers HBO and A/C, EV chargers will become standard across the country, so don’t get left behind.
Improve Your Brand
No matter what industry you’re in, you have probably felt the push to become more environmentally friendly. For many businesses, it can be an easy change like switching to paper straws or finally learning how to recycle. But for many business owners, advertising and becoming more environmentally friendly can be more difficult.
Installing an EV charger on your property is a great way to signal to the outer community that you are taking the steps to invest in an eco-friendlier world. The best place to put an EV charger is on property you already own. This is an incredible way to improve your brand and prove to your millennial nephew that you actually do care about the environment.
How to Get Started
Since the EV industry is so popular right now, there are plenty of options when thinking about how to get an EV charger onto your property. For starters, there are essentially two different business models that you can choose from that will determine how you manage and make money from the EV charger.
The Owner-Operator model is when you will own the EV charger, making you in charge of the costs associated with installation, insurance, and maintenance, but also means you’re the sole beneficiary from revenue earned from the charger. This is a fantastic option for businesses that have the financial means ready to invest along with the knowledge and time to keep up with all the maintenance associated with EV chargers.
While there isn’t much maintenance expected on these EV chargers, being the sole caretaker comes with its own hardships. If any technical problems arise with the machine or getting electricity to the charger, that will fall on you and not a third-party company. However, since you are the owner of the EV charger, you will make more money from the charging revenue and you can control the price, which is not possible when a third-party company is in charge.
The Third-Party model is the more popular choice since it acts more like passive income rather than adding responsibilities and costs to your already busy life. When you work with a company that installs and maintains the EV chargers, there is never a worry about finding a technician to fix it or figuring out how to optimize prices to maximize profits; it’s all taken care of for you.
The downside is the lack of control. EV charger owners can change the price of electricity as they please. During the summer months or on weekends where EV chargers will be in higher demand, EV charger owners can jack up the price of electricity. While EV charger companies are likely to optimize their prices to maximize profits, that might not always be in your best interest. If your customers rely on consistent prices or if you think you can price the market more efficiently, letting a third-party company run your EV charger might not be right for your business.
How the Money is Made
Regardless of what business model you choose to move forward with, the simple fact remains, you will make money from this investment. The largest money-making factor of any EV charger is still that it draws customers to your business. Similar to gas stations, the profitability isn’t in the gas they sell, but the snacks and candy customers buy while fueling up.
While the main incentive for EV chargers is to bring in more business to your already existing revenue streams, there is still money to be made from owning an EV charger. Typically, EV chargers are charging people per minute of electricity they use. While each make and model of car will vary, along with the driver’s needs, every time an EV owner plugs in, you’re going to make some cash.
As mentioned before, EV chargers give owners the capability of optimizing electricity prices to maximize profits, so there is a lot of room for creativity. Further, while the profitability of EV chargers is low, the more you have, the more profitable you become. For properties like shopping malls, apartment buildings, and universities, installing dozens of EV chargers can become a serious revenue stream over time. Plus, when you have more EV chargers in one spot, your destination can become a hotspot for economic activity and grow in popularity amongst EV owners.
Finally, because EV chargers are becoming more popular, there are still plenty of corresponding revenue streams and cost incentives that are being created for EV chargers. As of 2022, there are Federal and State tax incentives and rebate programs for every EV charger that is installed, lowering the cost of installation and annual maintenance. Additionally, advertisers are working on solutions to bring targeted ads to EV owners while charging via the screen on the EV charger or by connecting to the screen within the vehicle. Options like this only increase the potential profitability for EV chargers in the future.
Installing your EV Charger
The cost of installing an EV charger is going to depend on several factors such as the number of chargers, the manufacturer, labor, permits, taxes, location, and more like the quality of materials used and charger power rating. However, depending on the business model you have chosen, there will also be different ways to finance the installation.
The simple way of paying for an EV charger is tried and true method of just paying it upfront. The charger goes into the ground, money is given to the installation team, everyone walks away happy. If you have the cash on hand to do this, great, if not, there are plenty of other options.
One way to limit the upfront cost is to engage in a subscription model. This means that you pay a set fee each month to the EV charging company, but you keep all the profits. Depending on the company, you will have varying amounts of control over the price, but you have the benefit of knowing your costs each month.
The other way of limiting your startup costs for an EV charger is by participating in a shared revenue agreement with the EV charging company. Like the subscription model, you save money on installing and maintaining the EV charger. However, your profit potential is always limited. While the subscription model means you only make money once you break even on the subscription costs, the revenue sharing model means that you always must give a portion of your profits away. While this is a great option for areas where demand can ebb and flow, if you’re in an area with high demand for EV chargers, you could be leaving money on the table by profit sharing.
There are differences to consider when you install a EV charger in your home, but some of the quality controls are the same.
The Bottom Line
The need for EV chargers is growing with each year. Millions of EVs are being added to the market, and with it, the demand for EV chargers on the road is skyrocketing.
Therefore, no matter what business you’re in, installing an EV charger is a smart investment. EV chargers are a great way to attract new customers, build brand loyalty for your property, improve the value of your property, and create additional revenue streams for your business.
And installing an EV charger couldn’t be simpler. There are dozens of companies out there that depend on businesses opening their lots for EV chargers. While you can take on the responsibility yourself, many of these companies will optimize their pricing schemes and payment plans to make sure that everyone makes money.
Whether you’re looking to improve your property, attract new clients, or help the environment, installing an EV charger is the right move. While the opportunity still exists, demand is high, and cost incentives are more generous than ever, you should not miss out on this opportunity.
- https://www.iea.org/reports/global-ev-outlook-2021/trends-and-developments-in-electric-vehicle-markets (chart)