No matter how cleanly and quietly their engines operate, it's impossible not to notice the rapid growth of electric vehicle (EV) sales in the United States and worldwide.
Fueled by the goal of a sustainable, low-carbon future, EVs are becoming increasingly accessible to consumers with the support of financial incentives, hundreds of available makes and models, and even plans to phase out combustion engines in places like California.
As a result, in 2021, EV sales grew by 85% year over year. In 2022, EV registrations rose to 60% in the first quarter. With an expanding global market expected to reach $1 trillion by the decade's end, electric vehicle adoption is not slowing down.
Although most EV owners charge their vehicles at home, there is enormous demand for public charging stations to keep drivers fueled while commuting, vacationing, or going about their daily lives in an electric vehicle.
For a bit of perspective, the International Energy Agency has reported:
EV adoption is outpacing charging station development in the U.S.
In 2021, there were approximately 17 EVs on the road for every charging point
Over half of US public charging stations are Tesla Superchargers (DC fast chargers)
Meeting the demand for public EV charging stations
To support the growing number of electric vehicles on the road today, it's easy for businesses to install public charging stations—and reap multiple benefits from the rapidly increasing demand.
How do public EV charging stations work?
Most public EV charging stations consist of either Level 2 or Level 3 (DC fast) equipment and a safe place for users to park their vehicles. While Level 3 charging stations are the fastest way to refuel electric vehicles, Level 2 stations may be the best overall choice for property owners, offering sufficient charging speeds for short- or long-term use with significantly lower costs for parts and electrical upgrades.
When refilling their batteries, EV owners typically pay a small usage fee and variable pricing for the electricity, either by the kWh of power purchased or the time spent fueling their vehicles. On average, charging a battery from empty to full costs EV owners between $10 and $30 at a public charging point, based on the price of the electricity and the vehicle's storage capacity.
Free EV charging stations are also widely available, usually in retail or hospitality locations, with the property owners covering the electricity costs for their customers or tenants.
A valuable service for EV drivers
Whether or not you are an EV driver, the benefits of public EV charging stations are undeniable as a necessary service for those with hybrid and battery-powered vehicles.
While most EV drivers plug in at home, public charging stations can help keep batteries full out on the road to extend a vehicle's driving range and minimize money spent on utility electricity bills. Even further, public charging stations open the possibility of EV ownership to those without an efficient way to recharge at their residence.
Why businesses should invest in EV charging stations
From movie theatres to retail spaces and office parks, businesses of all kinds can benefit from installing EV charging stations. Environmentally, socially, and financially, here are a few key benefits of installing a public EV charging station:
Financial advantages: In addition to creating a new revenue stream for your business, adding charging points can also increase your property value. To minimize your up-front investment, explore the many national, state, and local tax incentives for EV charging stations, including a 30% federal income tax credit on all electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE).
Attracting and retaining users: Adding EV charging to your business can help attract drivers to patronize your property. Drivers are always searching for convenient locations, and whether you're a store owner or property manager, EV charging stations for businesses can help build short- and long-term loyalty among customers, tenants, and employees alike.
Environmental stewardship: To help support the rapid growth of EV adoption, many more new public charging stations need to be installed. Under the umbrella of environmental stewardship, business owners with solar energy systems can support sustainability even further by supplying charging station electricity with renewable electricity that comes from the sun.
At retail spaces
At shopping malls, gas stations, and wherever public parking is available, businesses can add EV charging stations and instantly create a new independent revenue stream. While establishing your business as environmentally conscious, EV charging stations add value to visiting customers, allowing them to top off their batteries while on your property.
Since consumers can always choose between multiple grocery stores or professional services, adding charging stations may encourage EV drivers to frequent your establishment instead of a non-charging alternative. For convenience stores and other retail spaces, customers hoping to charge their vehicles usually spend 30 minutes or more in one spot, translating to an increased likelihood of money spent on-site.
Best of all, a public EV charging station can help direct new traffic to your business when it's listed online for drivers seeking accessible chargers. Whether you join a charging station network or list your new service on PlugShare, travelers can find your property to charge their vehicles and patronize your business.
Including lodgings, restaurants, and attractions of all kinds, businesses in the hospitality industry are in one of the best positions to benefit from an investment in public EV charging stations. When EV drivers are away from their immediate routine, finding a station is critical to stay fueled on vacations, extended business trips, and travel of all varieties.
For highway-adjacent hotels and getaway cottages alike, travelers arriving in electric vehicles will be more likely to book a stay in a location where they know charging is available. Likewise, anyone passing through a new town in an electric vehicle looking for a bite to eat will likely seek out a restaurant that offers EV charging.
On commercial properties
As a property manager, keeping tenants happy and renewing their leases often requires valuable, updated amenities. For office buildings, healthcare facilities, warehouses, and other commercial properties, EV charging stations can help attract and retain lessees looking for spaces that support electric vehicle charging. Even further, businesses with electric vehicle fleets can benefit the most when renting a property with charging stations.
Depending on the location and property features, commercial EV charging stations can be available privately to tenants as an exclusive benefit, or open to the public to attract visitors and generate additional revenue. Property owners should consider a commercial solar system helping manage increased energy demand and costs associated with substantial EV charging.
How to get started and choose the right chargers
If you're ready to move forward and install an EV charging station for your business, the first step is to find the right chargers. With so many new electric vehicles on the market today, EV charging station compatibility is crucial to support a wide audience, and developers hoping to attract and retain users must invest in high-quality hardware suitable for every type of driver.
Available in a variety of power levels, Enphase HCS EV Chargers offer the versatility necessary to meet driver demand and the durability required to withstand indoor or outdoor public use. Our product specialists can help you choose the best chargers and mounting equipment or accessories for your business.
Once you choose the right charging setup, professional installation will be required for the safety, legality, and longevity of your system. We highly recommend you connect with a professional EV charger installer near you to install your charging stations before offering the service to the public.