What Station Owners Need to Know
As electric vehicle usage continues to grow, the demand for electric power is growing with it. The anticipated shift in energy demand will affect everyone from EV drivers and EV charging station owners to utility companies and public policy makers. Electric vehicle charging programs and incentives are making owning EV charging stations more attractive
Utility companies will play a significant role in the operations, management, electric vehicle programs and overall expansion of the electric vehicle charging network. That means that, if you’re an electric vehicle station owner, there are a few things you should know about your relationship with the utility company.
Residential EV Charging Incentives
Most EV drivers will opt to install a basic Level 1 charging station in their home, making it easy to plug-in and recharge from the comfort of their garages. There may be tax credits available to homeowners who install EV charging stations (previous 30C tax credits covered 30 percent of the cost up to $1,000), but there could also be other electric vehicle incentives and savings from your utility company for charging during off-peak hours. Because electricity usage tends to drop overnight, some utility companies offer electric vehicle programs with off-peak rates that can save EV drivers in the long run.
This is newsworthy, given the fact that current fuel costs for electric vehicles are lower than traditional gasoline-powered vehicles. In fact, GM estimates that the Chevy Volt uses about 2,520 kWh per year, which is less than what is used by a standard residential water heater. Compare that to gas prices, which can run a typical household upwards of $1,500 per car each year. That’s good news for EV drivers looking to save both money and the environment.
Utility’s Role in EV Charging
By and large, traditional gasoline-supplying filling stations are owned and controlled by petroleum companies (Shell Oil owns Shell stations; Exxon Mobile owns Exxon stations; etc.). The fate of large scale EV charging stations, however, is somewhat unknown. Tesla has spearheaded the movement to install fast-charging stations throughout the United States, known as Superchargers, with over 1,600 stations in operation as of 2019.
Utility companies like California’s Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) are already underway with electric vehicle programs to build EV charging stations so that they can own and control a larger piece of the network. These companies have numerous advantages over other private industries, including an intimate knowledge and expertise of the existing electrical grids, the capital and resources necessary to expand EV charging at scale, and established consumer accounts and billing models.
Utility Companies Testing Plans
Utility companies have already begun testing electric vehicle programs with consumers. These plans include an annual or bi-annual fee that allows unlimited recharging to EV drivers for a predetermined price so long as the station is within their network, to pay-as-you-go plans that charge drivers for each recharge on a network station.
In order for utility companies to successfully build their own internal networks, they will need to maintain a steady supply of capital and infrastructure. In other words, they will likely need to cooperate with – and possibly acquire – existing EV charging stations. For EV charging station owners who are not currently part of a broader network, there could be an opportunity in the future to join a utility company’s network. This could help you, as the owner, take advantage of the economies of scale provided by the utility, from lower energy costs to being part of a more visible brand.
Save More with EV Connect
The role utility companies play in the EV charging station network will only expand over the next several years. If you own an EV charging station, you need to know about any and all electric incentives and electric vehicle programs available through your utility company to ensure your getting the highest possible return.
At EV Connect, our mission is to facilitate the expansion of the EV charging stations by providing a cloud-based solution that simplifies the management and operation of the network. We work with small businesses and large enterprises alike to find the best solution to your EV charging station needs.