Having a variety of EV charging options is crucial to EV adoption and driver convenience. After charging an EV at home and work, hotels are the next most frequently used locations to charge up. Hotel car charging locations are typically private in nature because access is restricted to employees or visitors. Having these kinds of private charging alternatives to charging outside the home is another way to help improve an EVs range and keep a PHEV on electricity longer.
For a while, it seemed, public charging was the focus of the EV industry. The theory was that if we make enough public charging available then future EV drivers will take comfort in charging availability and buy an EV. Public charging certainly has its place and will continue to be a major force in the market, especially as DC fast charging costs come down and standards emerge.
The reality, however, is that people also need a consistent and predictable place to charge their vehicles – a location where they know they can charge when they arrive. When private charging networks are available at work, multi-unit dwellings, or at a hotel, they perfectly fit that need. Interestingly, there are three times as many private charging locations outside a single family home than there are public charging locations.
The US Department of Energy through its Alternative Fuels Data Center reports there are currently 5,983 publicly available charging stations throughout the United States. These are stations that are generally available to any EV driver, either for a fee or free. Navigant Research’s recently released Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment Tracker 1Q13 report identifies almost 20,000 total commercial charge station deployments including both public and private charging. The almost 15,000 charge station difference is largely commercial, private charging outside a single family home such as at a workplace, apartment, hotel, fleet and other restricted-access location.
When private charging is provided through smart, networked stations, site owners can configure their networks for a myriad of different features. These network features can include restricting access to certain employees, residents, or guests; enabling payment processing through credit cards, micropayments, or existing customer payment systems; integrating with existing systems such as a loyalty or existing access control programs; and enabling charge station reservations for a period of time.
Public charging has limitations in certain situations because site owners can lose control of their drivers. In other words, site owners often can’t set pricing, restrict who and when drivers can charge, and lose the additional EV-driving customer or guest touch point. The benefits of private charging networks will only expand with time as more site owners adopt these systems and drivers recognize the value of knowing they have charging available outside their single family residence that they can count on.
At EV Connect, we are continually working on expanding public and private charging network features for the diverse needs of our commercial and governmental customer base. Call us and tell us about your organization’s unique EV charging needs.