How to make money from EV charging stations
U.S. electric vehicle (EV) sales are rapidly increasing year over year. With it comes an opportunity for organizations to help this trend along while lifting their bottom line by installing EV charging stations. Whether public or private, EV supply equipment (EVSE) can increase long-term profitability for organizations of all sorts, from multifamily dwellings to workplaces, event centers and hotels, to name a few.
How do EV charging stations make money?
One of the main benefits of EV charging for businesses is the revenue generated from charging sessions. Here’s how to make money from EV charging stations, both directly and indirectly, to help offset installation costs.
Charging for station use
The most common way EV charging stations generate revenue is through user fees for commercial or public charging. Organizations can charge per kWh or per minute and can expect to retain 15%-30% of the charging fee for profit. Some property owners keep these fees fixed throughout the day; others charge more at different times of day. Like gas prices, they vary by location and charge speed. Monthly or one-time membership fee options are also common for charging networks.
To develop the right pricing model for your chargers, consider what the chargers are costing you in electricity, as well as how many other public chargers are nearby and their pricing. Estimating user demand is also helpful if you have the resources to do so. For a deeper dive on pricing strategy, check out our comprehensive guide to public charging pricing strategies.
Attracting and retaining tenants and employees
EV drivers often prioritize charging options close to their homes and places of work, even when they aren’t the cheapest. If you manage an apartment or condo complex or operate a business with employees, offering paid EV charging can make you money while benefiting your tenants and employees. Property managers can charge fees at their stations in monthly membership subscriptions, pay-as-you-go plans, one time access fees, or just by baking the cost of charging plus a premium into the rent. These chargers improve overall tenant satisfaction and retention rates, and create a more inviting work environment for employees.
Increasing foot traffic and customer loyalty
For retail establishments, hotels and event centers, EV charging stations can significantly boost foot traffic and customer loyalty. In fact, 81% of EV drivers said access to Level 2 charging influenced their plans, whether or not that charging is free.
To maximize revenue, consider offering incentives to your customers while still charging a fee for EV usage. At a retail establishment, exclusive in-store discounts on products could be a great way to bring in repeat customers by providing an opportunity to kill time while charging. At a gym, reduced prices on classes or monthly rates may incentivize people to use the on-site EV charger. At an event center, free parking for EV drivers that use the charger could increase charging sales, especially in downtown event centers where free parking can be hard to find.
Premium charging services
To maximize revenue from EV charging stations, organizations can include Level 3 DC fast charging stations in the same location as Level 2 chargers. While DC fast chargers cost more to purchase and install, they can charge an EV from near empty to 80% in as little as 20 minutes. Accordingly, Level 3 charging typically costs drivers 25% to 40% more than Level 2 charging. Because these chargers aren’t as common as Level 2 chargers, EV owners in need of a quick recharge are more inclined to pay the premium.
Charging stations capture an audience for at least a few moments, if not for close to half an hour. This makes them an ideal platform for targeted advertising if the hardware can support screen customization. Partner with local businesses or national brands to place paid display advertisements on near your charging stations. These targeted ads can create an additional revenue stream while also providing valuable exposure for partners.
Earning more through utility demand management programs
Many utilities offer demand response (DR) and demand management (DM) programs that reward businesses for reducing or shifting electricity usage during peak times. Because they draw so much power, EV charging stations can easily be incorporated into these strategies, allowing businesses to earn incentives for contributing to grid stability.
Enel X Way’s JuiceNet® Enterprise platform—which gives station operators remote visibility into all aspects of their EV chargers—allows operators to set charging times and cap how much electricity the chargers use over a period of time or at any given moment. Using JuiceNet Enterprise to curtail use during a DR event or automatically shift use to lower demand periods of the day can lead to sizable utility payouts or lower power bills.
Optimize your EV charging offerings with better data
Beyond demand management, JuiceNet Enterprise can remotely set and change prices, restrict access to private charging, and collect payments. It also gathers and centralizes valuable data on charger usage and performance as well as user behavior. Analyzing this data can help optimize pricing strategies, schedule maintenance efficiently, and expand charging infrastructure where demand is highest.
For instance, a property owner could discover that their chargers near business districts are used significantly more during the evening rush hour. This information helps them identify the most profitable time slots and build pricing around those, charging more between 5:00 PM and 7:00 PM and reducing prices during the mid-afternoon when demand is lower.
Save with incentives and rebates
Although not a direct revenue driver, property owners can take advantage of incentives, rebates and other forms of funding to save money on EVSE. Currently, the federal government is offering a tax credit for commercial charging station installation up to $30,000. Utility companies also provide rebates on Level 2 chargers and up to $30,000 for Level 3 DC fast chargers. Additional incentives and rebates are available at the state level to make EV charging deployment an easy financial decision.
EV charging stations: A revenue driver for your bottom line
The U.S. EV charging market was valued at $3.15 B in 2022 with an expected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 29.1% until 2030. Compare that to the U.S. automotive industry’s CAGR of 2.2% through 2028 and the evidence is clear: public EV charging stations are not just a sustainable addition to your organization, they’re a potential revenue driver. By offering competitive, research-backed pricing, attracting and retaining higher quality tenants and employees, and leveraging incentives and Enel X Way’s value-added services like installation and financing, organizations can easily turn EV charging into earnings.