Installing EV chargers: Businesses can stay ahead of the curve
Electric vehicles are becoming increasingly common, as car manufacturers announce plans to roll out new models. To get ahead of the curve, businesses should consider installing EV chargers to help attract customers and employees.
Forbes said earlier this year that there are only 40,000 charging stations registered with the U.S. Department of Energy. That means there’s one for every 104 miles of highway, according to federal statistics. When’s the last time you went that far without seeing a gas station?
While they’re somewhat rare today, more electric vehicles are coming. After all, it’s not just Tesla building them anymore. General Motors plans to only offer electric cars by 2035.
While most electric vehicle charging takes place at home, drivers will occasionally need to charge their vehicles while they’re out and about. That’s why Congress is poised to approve billions of dollars for EV charging infrastructure.
The federal government already offers a tax credit of 30% of commercial EV charger installation costs, with a maximum of $30,000. But that’s scheduled to expire at the end of 2021.
This presents a potential opportunity for business owners, despite the initial upfront costs to install the chargers and small number of EVs currently on the road. By installing chargers now, businesses can ride a wave of new EVs hitting the road in the coming years.
The nature of electric vehicle charging makes it a great way to attract customers. And EVs’ reputation as a green mode of transportation can help recruit young workers and promote your company’s commitment to sustainability.
In this blog, we’ll address why business owners should consider installing electric vehicle charging stations for their employees, customers or both.
Attract customers and tenants
Like I mentioned before, most electric vehicle charging takes place at the owner’s home. That’s because it takes longer to charge an EV than fuel up a gas-powered car. Using a more powerful Level 2 system, it can take up to 11 hours to charge a Nissan Leaf, according to Kelley Blue Book.
And given the median range of EVs exceeded 250 miles in 2020, many drivers should be able to go about their day without needing to top off their batteries before they get home and charge their car overnight.
But there are plenty of situations where it would make sense to use a public charger, especially in Duluth and neighboring cities.
For instance, where is the tourist from the Twin Cities going to charge their EV when they come up north for a summer vacation? If they’re not charging in front of your business, they’ll just go somewhere else.
By installing charging stations in front of their store, businesses can entice new customers who are waiting for their car to charge up. Forbes cited a study that found potential EV customers wanted to see chargers at grocery stores and malls. It would also make sense for restaurants, where EV drivers can grab a bite while their car charges in the parking lot.
Hotels, meanwhile, can advertise to potential guests that they have EV chargers available, attracting a growing number of EV drivers. Managers of rental properties can also attract new tenants.
Installing charging stations now will help businesses address their customers’ changing needs. One analysis projected EV sales in the U.S. will grow by nearly 400% between 2020 and 2025. Minnesota recently enacted new clean car rules that are expected to increase the number of electric and hybrid vehicles on the road.
Attracting a workforce
Businesses spend a lot of time trying to recruit the right candidates for their positions. In a competitive job market, it can be hard to stand out.
Reserving some EV chargers for employees can help attract candidates cruising around in a Chevy Volt or Tesla.
Though they may be doing most of their charging at home, it’d be nice to know that you can keep your car charged while you work. After all, “range anxiety,” or the fear of running out of battery power on the road, is one of the biggest fears among potential EV buyers.
Moreover, offering EV charging signals to candidates that you’re environmentally conscious. That’s especially appealing to younger workers.
According to the polling firm Gallup, millennials “want to find meaning where they work and shop, and environmental sustainability is important to them.”
“So, if millennials or Gen Z are a significant part of a business’ employee or market base, a (corporate social responsibility) program of environmental sustainability might do more than combat climate change 一 it could ally your company with a very demanding generation as well,” Gallup says.
Many companies tout a commitment to sustainability and green practices. But by installing EV chargers, your business can put its money where its mouth is.
Transportation accounts for the largest share of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., according to federal statistics. That’s a big reason why state and federal governments have been encouraging EV adoption.
Consumers are also big on going green. One survey from IBM and the National Retail Federation said almost 70% of consumers in the U.S. and Canada “think it is important that a brand is sustainable or eco-friendly.”
Installing EV chargers can help your business establish some green cred among customers.
Businesses obviously care about their bottom line — dollars and cents. Installing an EV charger will cost a chunk of change, so where’s the return on that investment?
A big player in the industry, ChargePoint, sells stations to businesses, and those businesses can assess a fee for using their chargers, according to the law firm Norton Rose Fulbright.
Property owners have a few options when it comes to charging fees. ChargePoint says they can charge people per use, charge to rent out an individual space, shift installation costs to tenants as part of “common area maintenance” and offer them for free, or build the fee into rent payments.
Many EV charging station owners charge between $25 and $50 per month to rent a parking space, ChargePoint says.
But there’s an obvious chicken-and-egg concern here. Are there enough EVs on the road to justify the space and cost needed to install chargers? Indeed, one expert told CBS News that public charging systems are a “very challenging business model in the early days.”
While they are vastly outnumbered today, EV sales are expected to keep growing. The federal government’s funding of EV charger infrastructure should only help that proliferation. And the federal tax credit, known as the Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Tax Credit, can lower those initial installation costs.
If you’re interested in installing EV chargers at your business, learn about our services and give us a call today.
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