Organisations are increasingly being told they will recoup the cost of purchasing and installing electric charging stations within a few years. This advice is often based on guesswork. If and at what time the investment will pay off depends on many factors.
Let us start at the beginning. To make a simple calculation, you must first define the goal.
- Why do you want charging stations?
- What do you want to achieve?
- How many charge points do you need?
- Where will they be placed?
- How do you see the future of e-mobility?
Once you have answered these questions, you automatically come to the practical matters where money is involved.
The calculation we are about to do is complex and consists of stories. This is because there are many variables.
The purchase of charging stations
Charging stations and pillars come in many shapes and sizes. In addition, the quality varies. In the world of charging stations, it is safe to say that the more expensive ones are better quality and, therefore, less prone to failure.
A reasonable charge point with a double connection (for two chargers simultaneously) will cost you at least 3500 euros. If you want ten, you can quickly get to 35,000 euros. These are chargers with a maximum capacity of 22 kilowatts. The price of fast chargers is higher.
The installation of charging stations
Now it gets exciting. The installation can be a black box. Much depends on the expertise of the installer and the way he looks at things. If the car park is a hundred metres from the meter box, it will be expensive anyway. Cables are costly, as are excavation work, the fixing of cable ducts (in parking garages), and the meter box connection. Repaving is also a cost to consider.
It pays to ask for quotes from different parties and compare them with each other. It is impossible to calculate what the installation and construction of charging stations in your car park will cost. There is no fixed formula.
We usually calculate between 50,000 and 70,000 euros for ten charge points.
Maintenance of charging stations
A charging station is a relatively new product. How the units behave in the long term is hardly known. Manufacturers often give a 3-year warranty. We will have to wait and see what happens after that
Please note that not all faults are covered by the guarantee. Problems with payment software and the card reader, for example, are for your own account. Hiring a service engineer can easily cost 500 euros. If a charge point or column breaks down after five years, replacing the device is also an extra cost item. Problems with underground cabling often cost even more.
The yield of charging stations
Against all the costs, there are, of course, revenues. You may charge a surcharge per loaded kWh that you can determine yourself. You discount the purchase and installation costs in the surcharge plus the profit you want to make, for example.
There is a catch… How intensively will your charge points be used? Will cars be refuelling all day long, or will the charge points ‘only’ be used for a few hours a day? The fewer kilowatt-hours charged, the longer it will take for you to recover your investment.
It is not easy to do the maths. There are simply too many variables. The biggest gain is that you offer charging stations so that visitors have another reason to park their EV or hybrid at your location. Only the future will tell if and when you will earn back your investment.