Best Payment Models For EV Charging

OTHER PARTS OF THIS ARTICLEPt. 1: This PagePt. 2: Best Practices for Making EV Charging Fair For AllPt. 3: Assessing If (And If So, Where) Installing EV Chargers Is a Good IdeaPt. 4: EV-Related Innovations in Technology, Regulations, and Incentives

What are the best payment models available for EV charging and what should FMs be aware of when deciding between payment options?

While there are significant issues with installing charging stations, including scalable electrical infrastructure requirements, controlling access to the stations, payment mechanisms, transaction technologies and payment reconciliation administration, easily the most significant question brought to me by property owners and facility managers is "fee or free?"  Should I collect money for charging sessions or offer it as a building amenity?

There is no single, standard answer that is going to work in a majority of scenarios, as each property has completely different site-specific business considerations as well as individual state regulations. Facility managers should first check and see if his or her state and utility allows  charging a fee for electricity. If you can recoup the actual cost for electricity, then you might consider monitoring the energy used with a sub meter or a smart charging station that monitors usage. 

If you can charge a fee, there are multiple business models to consider that allow facility managers to recoup the capital cost of the investment, pay for maintenance and administration and/or reap an ROI over time.

  • Pay by kWh — set a nominal fee above your kWh.  Some companies are charging as much as .49 cents per kWh for energy in public environments.
  • Pay by an hourly fee — set an hourly fee of $2.00 or more.  Each vehicle will draw a different amount of energy per hour based on the capability of the in-car charging mechanism.  For example, a Chevy Volt draws 3.3 kWh per hour while a BMW i3 draw 6.6 kWh per hour.  In addition, many site hosts are increasing the hourly fees to punitive amounts (upwards of $10) after a two to four hour charging session to encourage drivers to move their charged vehicles.  After all, technically it’s not a parking spot but an alternative fueling station.
  • Pay by a reserved parking fee — many multi-tenant properties, both commercial and residential, don’t want the hassle of sub metering or the expense of smart chargers and are simply setting a reserved parking fee, allowing each vehicle unlimited charging along with a reserved parking spot.

Answers by John Kalb, founder, EV Charging Pros. EVChargingPros has been providing vendor independent consulting services nationwide to property owners and facility managers since 2012. He can be reached at johnk@evchargingpros.com.

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  posted on 1/5/2015   Article Use Policy

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