How to Invest in EV Charging Stations | Start Your Business

How to Invest in EV Charging Stations: A Comprehensive Guide

Last Updated: 16/05/2024

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How to Invest in EV Charging Stations: A Comprehensive Guide

Electric vehicles (EVs) are more popular than ever. In 2023, there were roughly 13.6 million EVs sold worldwide. In the United States, EV sales hit a new milestone, reaching over a million sales for the first time.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) predicts that, by 2030, electric vehicles will account for over 60 percent of global vehicle sales. The existing charging infrastructure, however, is inadequate to meet the demands of this expanding market. In this case, investing in EV charging stations becomes a great business opportunity for us! In this blog, we’ll explore how to invest in EV charging stations, covering essential tips and insights you need to succeed in this growing business.

How to Start an EV Charging Station Business

Many of you may have a great interest in investing in EV charging stations but are not sure how to start it or even wondering whether you are allowed to do it. The good news is, as long as you adhere to local regulations, anyone can embark on this venture. In this guide on how to invest in EV charging stations, I’ll introduce the two most popular investment options for you.
The first is to become an owner-operator. Under this model, your business would cover all capital costs, including charging hardware, installation, operations, maintenance, etc. This route is a great choice for companies capable of investing because it offers full control over operations and EV public charging prices.

charging an electric vehicle with en-plus

The second option is to be a solution provider, also known as a third-party operator. In this scenario, your business would work with a charge point operator. You would provide space and cover the cost of hardware and installation. However, you benefit from third-party maintenance and operations, paying a fee to charge point operators for service. The benefit of being a third-party operator is lower upfront costs and the ability to tap into an existing network of customers.

Both options can be profitable. Furthermore, many businesses can provide EV charging solutions using existing space on their property. Good examples include grocery stores, car dealerships, office buildings, retail complexes, fuel stations and hotels.

What You Should Know Before Investing in EV Charging Stations

Starting an EV charging business has many rules, regulations and requirements, like any other business venture. Requirements can vary from municipality to municipality, so doing your due diligence is important. Some rules could impact your EV public charging stations cost. Here’s a quick breakdown of the basic requirements you must meet.

Understanding Different Types of EV Chargers

The first thing to consider is the type of EV chargers you install. Current estimates show that roughly 80 per cent of EV charging occurs at home. Drivers typically charge their vehicles using the slowest Level 1 charger through a 120-volt AC plug.

en-plus EV chargers for business or workplace

But you need higher-level chargers for EV public charging stations to maximise profitability.

Level 2 Charger
Level 2 chargers are the most commonly used worldwide and generally what you’d find in public EV charging stations. Level 2 equipment charges through 240 volts or 208 volts in commercial properties. These chargers have a 30-80 amps rating and can charge EVs significantly faster than residential Level 1 equipment.

Charging speeds can vary. In the United States, Level 2 chargers have a maximum rate of 19.2 kilowatts (kW). But in Europe, Level 2 charges can reach up to 22 kW. Charging rates can vary based on local codes. For example, in the United States, Level 2 chargers need a dedicated 40-amp circuit and must use at most 80 percent of the circuit’s capacity.

Level 3 Charger or Fast DC EV Charger

Level 3 chargers, or DC Fast Chargers“, are the most efficient option. These chargers can provide up to 250 miles of range per hour of charging! Because they’re so efficient, you typically see these chargers at EV public charging stations on long stretches of highway. They’re necessary for long road trips where slower Level 1 and Level 2 charging is unfeasible.

These chargers use direct current, running on 480 or 1,000 volts.
EV public charging stations with Level 3 equipment deliver rates starting at 40 kW, but DC charging can go significantly higher, up to 400 kW. However, newer megawatt charging stations aim for up to 1,000 kW!

Level 3 chargers only amount to a little more than 20 percent of public EV charging points in the United States.

EV Charging Infrastructure

Another thing to consider is the infrastructure required to support public EV charging. Charging points use considerable energy, and many say the growing demand for public charging could challenge local power grids. For that reason, businesses looking to build or install public chargers must invest in the right infrastructure.

Proper infrastructure ensures that charging points provide the right power output and voltage. Components could include feeder poles, dedicated high-amp circuits, power protection systems, and more. Depending on local code, infrastructure could significantly increase your EV public charging station cost.

EV Charging Software

EV charging management software is necessary for both operators and consumers. EV drivers often expect a seamless and efficient mobile app experience, including features like an interactive EV charger map for easy location of charging stations. But that’s not all. As an operator, you must also invest in software to manage payments and subscriptions, metering, monitoring, data analysis, etc.

Fortunately, annual software costs typically don’t increase EV public charging stations cost too much. After initial setup, ongoing maintenance, cloud resources and other related expenses are relatively low.

 

EV charging management software

Space Requirements of EV Charging Stations

Finally, there are space requirements to meet. Depending on local regulations, you may need to meet strict zoning laws that dictate the amount of space required per charger. Typically, chargers can fit into existing parking spaces. However, some jurisdictions also have requirements for accessibility and mobility.

How Much Does EV Charging Station Installation Cost?

Many factors will impact your total upfront EV public charging stations cost. Details like location, the type of chargers used, how many charging stations you build, required infrastructure and more will greatly affect upfront costs. In the United States, you can expect to pay anywhere from $$43,000 to $$250,000 to open a new public EV charge point.

Fortunately, there are many ways to reduce costs. Many nations are investing heavily in improving the public EV infrastructure, forging relationships with utility providers and offering funding, subsidies and tax breaks to private companies looking to invest. Some are even providing tools to help businesses evaluate charging stations’ financial performance.

EV Charging Station Installation

That support is crucial. Several case studies and established business models show that actions from both private and public sectors are vital to the success of EV charging networks and play an integral role in reducing the total EV public charging stations cost.

Legal and Regulatory Requirements for Public EV Charging Stations

Several regulations exist for public EV charging businesses. This market is still relatively new, and its reliance on regional electrical infrastructure forces governments to get involved. Fortunately, most are eager to help companies enter the market to expand options for consumers.

Before you install a public station, do your due diligence and comply with all regulatory requirements. That includes zoning laws, pulling permits when necessary and more. Regulatory considerations vary widely from one region to the next.

Legal and Regulatory Requirements for Public EV Charging Stations

Compliance isn’t optional. Failing to meet all requirements could lead to steep fines and potential legal action. It’s also important to comply with all safety and accessibility regulations to avoid liability issues.

Potential Profitability of EV Public Charging Stations

Despite the many factors that can increase the upfront EV public charging stations cost, it’s still a lucrative endeavour. Businesses looking to install stations for EV charging benefit from increased exposure, more on-site sales due to dwell time and more. But charging stations can also be a valuable source of revenue on their own.

There are many ways to capitalise on EV charging. The most basic is to charge a usage fee. Businesses can adopt various pricing models, including offering monthly subscriptions or charging hourly rates. In the United States, charge point operators typically charge $0.20 to $0.25 per kWh on Level 2 equipment or $0.40 to $0.60 per kWh on Level 3 equipment. What you charge can change with local energy costs.

Another way to generate revenue is through advertising. You could advertise nearby businesses or use digital screens in the charging area to promote products and services. Those are just a few examples of revenue models.

While upfront costs can be daunting, the right business model could help you achieve a profit margin of 30 percent or more, allowing you to recoup your investment in only five years.

Conclusion

As you’ve explored how to invest in EV charging stations, you may have realized that starting this business is a substantial investment. However, it’s more manageable than it might initially appear. Whether you’re looking to build a standalone charging point outfitted with Level 3 chargers or install a handful of Level 2 stations at your existing business, it can be a great source of revenue. Businesses have much to gain in entering this emerging market, and there are many ways to join the field while maximizing revenue.

Let EN Plus be your partner in your new EV venture. EN Plus is a trusted manufacturer of EV charging equipment, serving as your go-to provider for EV charging business solutions. From high-output dual chargers in the Cubo Series to lightning-fast DC chargers in the Turbo Series, EN+ has the solutions you’re after.

Contact EN Plus today to learn more and discover high-quality chargers that benefit your business.

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