Electric vehicles are one of the fastest-growing industries in the world, and the demand is steadily rising. Sales of electric cars nearly tripled between 2020 and 2022, and electric vehicles are projected to make up 60% of new car sales by 2030. Now is an ideal time not just to get in on the vehicles themselves but also the infrastructure needed to support them.
EV charging is an exciting new frontier that can help change the world for the better, as well as a lucrative business opportunity. But even if you’re a relative newcomer to the space, you don’t have to pursue your ambitions all on your own. Here’s what you need to know to begin charging the vehicles of today and tomorrow.
First, outline your target customers
One of the most critical bars to clear for any new business is deciding who you want to reach. An EV charging business can fit into several different models. For instance, are you most interested in partnering with residential providers, such as apartment buildings or condos, to offer added value for residents? Are you focused on the commercial side, looking to put charging stations in parking lots where drivers will charge for a short time as they run errands? Or do you want to create or augment your own classic gas-station-style locations?
It’s best to pick a lane and stick with it, especially as you're starting out. With a well-defined target audience, you'll have a clear focus to guide the rest of your decisions.
Then pick your software platform
Charging station management software, or CSMS, is the brain of an EV charger deployment. Not only does a CSMS help you to monitor all your charging stations, but it can also help make them more efficient and resilient to potential issues. The first consideration in selecting your CSMS provider is ensuring broad compatibility with hardware. Even if you only have one type of charging station to start, building in flexibility from the beginning is much easier than trying to catch up after your business grows.
Other useful features in a CSMS include power management tools, support for drivers and site hosts, white-label branding, and reports for monitoring the health of your deployment.
ChargeLab provides software for operating and optimizing EV charging deployments. It offers all the above features, as well as compatibility with any hardware that uses the Open Charge Point Protocol. You can learn more about the whole suite of ChargeLab services on our software page.
Next, find a reliable hardware partner
Just because electric vehicles are a newer market doesn't mean you need to take a risk on an unknown. Companies such as ABB and Eaton have each made their own contributions to charging hardware and have decades of experience to back them up. If you opt for a newer brand, be sure they have excellent testimonials, plenty of detailed documentation, and lots of client support; Grizzl-E and EVBox are two such recent arrivals with strong track records.
Finally, put together your plan for installation
To start building out a deployment, you’ll need locations that can connect to the electric grid and internet while meeting building codes and any other regulations. If you're monetizing the chargers as an independent network, be sure to do your research in choosing sites that will see reasonably high traffic. It's a lot to juggle, but thorough site assessments should help make all your options easier to choose between.
Finding a trustworthy contractor to handle permitting, compliance, and installation itself will also be a significant boon. Be sure to loop in your hardware partner of choice by following their guidance on requirements for a successful installation and reach out to their customer support if necessary.
For more information, consult the U.S. Department of Transportation's preliminary checklist for EV infrastructure project planning. On top of that, a searchable database provided by the U.S. Department of Energy makes it easy to check both state and federal laws and incentives for electric vehicles, which can help determine where you may wish to set up shop. We’ve also shared detailed guides to rebates and grants throughout North America that can help kickstart your business.
Launch your business with a solid partner
As we said before, choosing the right CSMS early in the process of launching your new charging network is crucial. Thanks to our powerful software and open hardware support, ChargeLab has quickly established itself as a leader in EV charging network management. Our client list includes major enterprise operations such as Hilton, Mobile, and Ford, but your charging network doesn’t have to be nationwide to benefit from our broad compatibility, 24/7 monitoring tools, and more.
If you're ready to get started with your own EV charging business, contact ChargeLab today.