The electric vehicle charging business involves maximising value and minimising expenses. More than just the hardware, a crucial attribute to a charging station is its interoperability on a network that makes it visible and accessible to drivers. When executed with adequate system support, these smart stations are able to generable operational data to help manage power consumption and optimise revenue structures.
Here are the costs of an EV charging business
The cost of setting up an electric vehicle (EV) charging station can vary largely from location to location. Where the building’s electrical power source is located determines the layout of the EV chargers, extend of trenching required and amount of electrical cabling materials. Because the charging station draws electricity from the building’s power source, such as the utility grid, these electrical conduits may require an upgrade.
Based on the quantity of chargers, system integrators will ascertain if the building’s current power load would be able to support maximum occupancy of vehicle charging without compromising on its tenants’ utilisation requirements.
Hardware primarily consists of chargers, distribution feeders, transformers, and meters. The cost of hardware systems and maintenance, even with its design and labour expenses, is a small part of the cost and do not present a significant cost reduction opportunity. In fact, non-networked charging station hardware are getting cheaper as manufacturers learn how to refine their production process as the demand for chargers increases.
Hidden costs of an EV charging station
Then there are soft costs that are hard to quantify due to its unpredictability, and variation among projects. These include delays in permits, late fees, rewiring cost to adhere to changing electrical compliance, site lease, degree of weather proofing, and grid-hosting capacities where a communication between utilities and charge point is necessary.
When a charging network suffers a poor communication with utilities, plans have to be reworked and delays can easily translate to variable expenditures.
Building owners have explored mitigating these costs by future proofing their car park facilities, with larger conduits and other elements that allows a potential larger pull of power load to the charging station from the grid.
There are predominately 5 types of costs to operate a charging station that EV charging service providers usually procure.
1. Payment systems to enable drivers to pay for the amount of charge they consume or even penalties for hogging
2. Cellular data contracts such as wi-fi or ethernet connection to facilitate communication within the charging station network
3. Network contracts to ensure equipment interoperability and adhere to open standards for roaming services
4. Hardware management software systems. Although there are SAAS companies in the market that allow procurement of the hardware and software to be separated, there is an additional integration cost to ensure the compatibility. As an alternative, operators should consider solutions that combines both hardware and software systems complying with open standards and are agnostic to specific hardware or software providers.
5. Maintenance contracts to ensure the charger meets national charging standards such as compliance with TR25 or the relevant International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standards. An annual inspection by a licensed electrical worker and equipment specialist must be conducted periodically to obtain the necessary certification to maintain the charging stations.
While the costs of an EV charging infrastructure can seem daunting, the long-term benefits of it outweigh the barriers to entry. Much like the solar industry, transport electrification needs to undergo a process of streamlining complex utility interconnection processes and a cooperation of efforts amongst a wide variety of actors such as regulatory bodies, utility providers, private charging network operators, hardware and vehicle manufacturers.
Eigen Energy’s turnkey services provides a smart hardware system integration with maintenance services along with a management software that is designed to be flexible and agnostic.
Working with partners and technology providers to create a holistic EV charging network, onboarding with Eigen is fast and easy for any potential or existing charge point operator to control and optimise their assets, unlocking access to roaming services, and delivering a meaningful experience to operation insights.