One type of company that is set to reap the rewards of the country’s transition from internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles to electric vehicles (EVs) is parking management companies. While ICE vehicles require a visit to a gas station, which stores gasoline in a tank before transferring to the vehicle, EVs only need to plug into the electrical grid. It’s easy for a business to install 48-80amp Level 2 charging stations without extensive infrastructure upgrades. Today’s EV drivers charge where they are parked, including workplace, multifamily, and public parking lots. Now parking operators have the option to install EV charging stations in a garage or surface lot to attract new customers and collect charging fees. But when your company already uses digital options for parking management, is it better to build your own EV charging network or join an established network like Blink? Here are a few considerations for parking operators.
What is an EV charging network?
We will look at both the advantages and disadvantages of building your own EV charging network versus joining an existing one, but first we need to establish what an EV network actually is.
To borrow from another industry, an EV charging network is a little bit like a cellular network. When you buy a cell phone from a particular cellular service provider, you are using that company’s cellular towers to run your phone service, and you’re using that company’s billing services to keep your service running. If you need help or need international service, your cellular provider’s customer service department can provide service updates, upgrades, and support.
In the electric vehicle charging industry, there are hardware providers and network software providers. Blink Charging is the only fully integrated EV charging company, from product design to manufacturing to sales to station management and customer support. Where some EV charging companies only design hardware or network, Blink provides both.
“Once charging stations are installed and activated, the network can help a site owner or tenant set up the charging station policies, including pricing, access control, administration rights, and advertisements,” says the US Department of Transportation. “In addition, a charging network can provide advice to the EV infrastructure site planner on best practices for running the charging station based on experience with other sites, including those in similar contexts or geographic locations.”
Choosing not to partner with an EVSE provider, some parking companies have decided to build their own private EV charging networks.
Designing a private EV charging network
For the purposes of this discussion, we will refer to charging networks owned and designed by a parking company as a “private network.” Parking companies administering their own private networks would buy charging stations manufactured by a third-party company, then add their own network software to the station.
Advantages of building your own private network
If you choose to build your own EV charging network, your company maintains ownership of all decisions, chargers, and revenues.
The advantages include:
- You get to set up your network any way you like.
- You are in full control of every aspect of your network, including branding.
- You reap all the rewards from running your own network.
Disadvantages of building your own network
Building your own EV charging network comes with significant hurdles.
- Setting up a network is difficult and expensive.
- Once the network is built, it will require constant maintenance.
- It draws resources away from your core business of parking lot management.
- It will likely be a tiny network in a sea of larger networks.
- You may not be recognized on map services that show drivers where EV chargers are located.
Using an existing EV charging network like Blink Charging
While there are a number of EV charging companies, Blink has been around since the beginning of the industry. Our engineers are designing our hardware and software with the latest technology, and our sales and customer support teams are available to support you every step of the way.
Advantages of using an existing network
Using an existing EV charging network like Blink means that you don’t have to be an expert on EV charging.
- All the online infrastructure is set up already. Once your stations are registered and commissioned, you can set billing, manage payments, view usage reports, see real-time charging activity and more all “out of the box.”
- The costs associated with using a pre-existing network are much less than trying to design and manage your own.
- You don’t have to worry about network maintenance or updates.
- You will appear on map services like Google Maps and PlugShare that show drivers where EV chargers are located.
Disadvantages of using an existing network
There are only a couple of tiny disadvantages to using an existing network, and they are easily overcome.
- It may not be set up exactly as you would prefer.
- You may have to pay fees for using a third-party network. (But, the fees will be much lower than the cost of developing and maintaining your own network.)
Joining the Blink Network
Blink Charging is a leading charging station manufacturer and network provider that will put your parking lots on the map, literally. When you join the Blink Network, your chargers will appear when drivers search for EV chargers nearby with the Blink Mobile App or using popular EV charging locators.
In addition, the recently upgraded Blink Network provides you with:
- Real-time view of EV station locations, hours, pricing, and availability.
- Remote EV charging station monitoring for better customer support.
- Flexible and dynamic pricing configurations.
- 24/7 Customer Support Center with action-tracking system.
- Proactive network monitoring and management by the Blink Network Operations Center for 99% uptime.
- Smart grid implementation and support for commercial users and utilities.
The Blink Network provides you with maximum flexibility and control over all your charging stations, including:
- Customized charge rates based on user groups.
- Ability to view and track energy usage and charge fees per session.
- Facilitation of data flow and API integrations.
- Charge Event Monitoring.
- Downloadable charger and location reports.
When adding up all the advantages and disadvantages of building your own EV charging network versus using an existing network, there is a clear winner. Using an existing network like Blink’s saves you time and money and provides you with ongoing maintenance and expertise while putting your parking lots on the EV charging map.
Please contact Blink Charging today to talk about your parking management company’s needs and turn your parking spaces into EV charging spaces so they can generate even more revenue for you.