The Buzz About EV Charging Networks and Infrastructure


The Buzz About EV Charging Networks and Infrastructure

Discussions about EV vehicles and charging stations is the rage right now. No wonder, given the cost of fuel. California is at $6.345 for regular and $6.985 for diesel. Your home state is not far behind. 

Obviously, property owners are considering infrastructure improvements to address the public demand for these services. For instance, a resort hotel seeking to attract visitors for long weekends probably has no choice but to offer EV charging stations. A new facility will likely install the infrastructure to meet anticipated future demand because it makes economic sense to do so now. Installing after
the fact may double the cost of the infrastructure cost for the chargers.

The transient customer has a set of needs, but even more significant are the needs of fleet owners, such as large commercial vehicle operators and cities and municipal entities, due to the potential cost savings. Fuel costs for deliveries, public services, such as police and infrastructure maintenance, public transit and hail riding services, and fleet owners, have risen dramatically and may not return to prior pricing soon, if ever. These additional costs to governmental entities crowd out the ability to provide other services. For instance, the loss of fuel tax revenue to government entities will make maintaining roadways even more financially challenging. Finding cost savings now can help offset some of this economic pain from high fuel costs. 

Before selecting a vendor for charging stations, operational and financial analysis is wise. At ParkTrans Solutions, LLC, we have developed a tool to analyze the costs savings. The platform allows you to enter the vehicle type and either the monthly fuel bill or average mileage for each vehicle and compare gas and diesel fuel cost against electric charging costs including the station costs. If the vehicles have significant idling time, the cost savings are even more substantial than identified by the calculator.

 One question that arises relates to the cost of EV vehicles versus gas or diesel vehicles. The cost differential is not significant due to incentives and is even less when maintenance cost savings of EV are considered. Further, there are grants and incentives in each state to absorb some of the cost of infrastructure and the cost of an EV vehicle. We can provide that list to you upon request.

In a recent analysis of a small municipality, a savings of over $70,000 net savings is projected from converting patrol cars and two the maintenance vehicles to EV, without considering the savings from idling. In this municipality, conversion of additional large commercial vehicles to EV creates even more savings. 

Factors in Choosing your EV Partner

In addition to costs, there are many operational considerations to be considered in selecting a charging station provider. The size of the network is important for companies that will need to “top off” at times and need to locate available off-site charging sites using an app and reserving their availability. 

Quality of the product and the service network is a critical factor to consider.  The vendor should have a full line of products with experience in parking. Most entities will not want to take on the additional responsibility of monitoring of and repair of the units to ensure they are functioning. A platform that includes the ability to monitor and dispatch local repairmen is paramount. According to a recent article by the California Globe, over 25 percent of installed charging stations in the Bay Area are inoperable. The best in the business use cloud included services to ensure that stations are available and operating and to locate available charging stations.

Upgrades and how they are priced is another factor. Having upgrades and service included in the price is a good choice.

Flexibility is always valuable. Perhaps you want to be able to pay for electricity at offsite stations when needed by your fleet operators. Having access to a waitlist reduces down time for operators. Flexible pricing by time of day is a cost saver. Being able to restrict usage and to charge or not charge based upon credentials is another factor. Data and dashboard analytics is always helpful.

While there are many things to think about, the reality is that EV usage is here. We need to critically think about how we are going to meet the demand in a reasonable manner that meets customers’ expectations and is financially and operational responsible.

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Article contributed by:
Kevin Woznicki and Scott Petri
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