Electric vehicle ownership is rising in the U.S., with a 60% increase in the first few months of 2022. EV quality is increasing, too, and as battery range and charger availability decrease “range anxiety,” those numbers will keep climbing. As such, all businesses should be assessing the benefits of installing EV chargers on their property.
While most any business can benefit, this article focuses on the reasons why restaurants should consider installing EV chargers. Restaurants occupy a unique space: they’re a good fit for installing EV chargers, but post-COVID economic woes have left many restaurants worried about their future and anxious about “unnecessary” financial risks.
Explore the many ways that EV Chargers could help restaurants and similar businesses, as well as the ways they can reduce costs. Between the two, it becomes apparent that installing EV chargers at any restaurant could be a great way to attract customers and shore up a business.
3 reasons why EV charging is great for restaurants
Restaurants have a unique mix of incentives and extant properties that make them a good fit for EV charging. Likewise, they often already have ample parking spaces for guests, which overcomes one of the first hurdles. Here are a few ways that restaurants and franchises can benefit from public charging stations.
1. Attract customers
As mentioned prior, EV ownership is going up, and studies show that installing EV chargers can help your restaurant draw in customers.
Not everyone has the money to install an EV charger at home, but they’ll still need to get their vehicle charged, and they will still need to eat. That combination of factors means that easily accessible EV chargers could influence where people choose to dine. If they know they can relax and enjoy a meal while their car battery fills, they are more likely to pick the restaurant that gives them that opportunity. Many will even use it as an excuse to eat out.
2. Create a source of additional revenue
Some businesses may opt to make their EV chargers free to use. For others, they choose to charge a rate by kWh, creating an additional revenue stream. This sort of passive revenue stream can help take the edge off bills and shore up a business’s pocketbook.
3. Meet sustainability goals and improve EV infrastructure
In many states, businesses have sustainability requirements to nudge this along, or incentives that could benefit compliant organizations.
Regardless of the incentives available, adding chargers is still a financially wise decision. Sustainability requirements will likely become law in the future, and it’s better to become compliant now. Similarly, adding chargers helps to build up EV infrastructure, which will encourage people to transition. This combination allows restaurants to help the planet while protecting themselves for the future.
Adding EV chargers to your restaurant: How to get started
Getting an EV charger installed on your property isn’t as difficult as some think, nor half as expensive. This five-step process can help business owners bring EV charging to their restaurant.
1. Assess demand
Interested businesses must understand how many people may want to use an EV charger, and what kinds of vehicles they drive. First, pay close attention to the cars coming into the parking lot. Note the number of EVs, and how frequently they appear. Second, turn data gathering into a promotion. Offering customers a discount or a free drink if they fill out a small questionnaire about whether they have an EV or would consider getting one is a great way to gather data. Finally, it’s important to research statistics available for your area that indicate how popular EVs are. Finally, don’t discount anecdotal evidence. If an owner sees EV cars driving around town often, that is an indicator that there’s decent demand.
Use this data to make a three-part list: the first are EV owners that are already customers; the second are customers that may become EV owners; and the third are EV owners that could become customers. This data will help determine how many chargers to buy. Working with a trusted partner like Enel X Way can also assist in determining demand and the number of chargers needed.
2. Determine charger level
Deciding which EV chargers to invest in will partly be up to how long people spend at the restaurant in question. If people are there under an hour, the business will need Level 3 fast charging stations. If people tend to sit and relax, it’s safe to invest in Level 2 chargers like the JuiceStand Pro or JuicePedestal. If customers stay for varying periods of time, you can do a mix of Level 2 and Level 3 chargers.
3. Evaluate infrastructure
With timing and demand determined, businesses should have an idea of how many chargers they need, and what level they should be. The next step is to compare that to the infrastructure already present. Is there enough parking (or enough EV-owning customers) to cordon off the number of parking stalls needed for EV charging? If the business needs higher level chargers, does the area have the requisite electrical infrastructure? If not, there will be additional costs for necessary improvements.
4. Look into Incentives
The Inflation Reduction Act offers myriad incentives and discounts for those who hope to install EV chargers on their property, and it is not the only bill of its kind. Most states, cities, and even utility providers are offering incentives to small business owners who want to install EV chargers. In some cases, the available incentives could pay for up to 90% of the entire project, including any infrastructure upgrades.
5. Choose a provider
Once a business owner knows what chargers they need (and how many), what infrastructure upgrades might be necessary, and the available incentives that can help shave off the cost, the next step is figuring out who you’re going to buy from. The most important things to consider when selecting and electric vehicle charging station provider are:
Track record of success such as past projects and clients
Credibility in the industry
Product and service offerings
Eligibility for Incentives
Partner with Enel X Way
Enel X Way’s product and service offerings are innovative, forward-thinking and flexible, guaranteeing that we can provide your restaurant with the solution you need. The Enel X Way App also allow potential customers to see what public charging stations are nearby, and what their availability is. Once plugged in, customers can even monitor their charge remotely while eating and get real-time updates about charge status.
Enel X Way’s DC fast chargers are designed specifically to hold up to changes in the industry, further future-proofing businesses. Likewise, they come in a wide variety of power levels, from 50 – 350 kW, which makes them useful for a broad range of business needs.
Ready to partner with us and bring in more customers and revenue? Shop commercial charging stations to get started.