A new electric vehicle charging business model is here.
Companies are starting to play with different business models for electric car charging networks. Volta is a start-up aiming to provide free charging subsidized by advertising. The company recently announced that it would be installing 150 fast-charging stations across the US over the next 12 months at busy retail locations alongside its Level 2 charging stations. The new model allows people to charge their vehicle for 30 minutes giving them around 175 miles of range, or as Volta puts it: "... The equivalent of receiving up to 175 miles worth of free fuel."
The stations are set to be 100-kW and 50-kW units and all the user needs to do is open Volta's app to unlock a station and start charging. According to Volta, it will use data modeling and customer behavior to determine the optimal ratio of Level 2 and DC fast-charging stations for each location. We're pretty sure the data will also be used for shaping the advertising model so buyers beware. It's also worth noting that if the driver needs more than 30 minutes of charging Volta is happy to charge a fee to carry on, but 30 minutes at a time every few days should be plenty to keep the average EV topped up.
How the advertising model will evolve is something to watch and, although this sounds like an excellent idea, it's still inexpensive to charge an EV right now without advertising. As the electric vehicle market grows its worth remembering that these are businesses and we're in the growth stage. It would be foolish to believe that electricity for charging a Chevy Bolt or Jaguar I-Pace will always be this cheap as profit starts to come into play. But running a vehicle on electricity should be cheaper than gasoline for the foreseeable future.