Electric vehicle charging station business model

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At present, there are three main business models for the construction and operation of electric vehicle charging stations at home and abroad: public charging station mode, parking lot (or roadside) charging pile mode, and battery replacement station mode.

1. Public charging station mode
The direct charging of the charging station is similar to that of the gas station, which directly charges the electric vehicle without replacing the battery. Because direct charging needs to occupy a lot of space and requires special power supply facilities, the investment is large and it is difficult to recover the cost, so it is difficult to be commercialized except for the government’s model behavior. In addition, direct charging takes a long time, fast charging takes 2 to 3 hours, and the battery damage is relatively large.
(1) Main features. Public charging stations are similar to gas stations and are usually built along city roads or highways. The charging station is composed of multiple charging facilities, which can provide electric energy for various electric vehicles in various ways such as fast charging, slow charging and battery replacement. Smaller charging stations can generally charge 10 electric vehicles at the same time, while larger charging stations can charge 40 electric vehicles at the same time.
(2) Advantages. The charging station can provide a variety of services for social electric vehicles, either fast charging or slow charging, and some charging stations can also provide battery replacement services; the charging speed is fast, and the fast charging method can generally be used within tens of minutes. Fully charged; due to the public nature of the charging station, the equipment utilization rate is higher than that of the charging pile in the parking lot. The biggest advantage of public charging stations is fast charging, but the current fast charging technology needs to be improved, in order to further shorten the charging time and reduce the damage to the battery life.
(3) Disadvantages. The charging station occupies a large area, and the larger charging station occupies more than the general gas station, and can even be compared with the parking lot. Due to the large area and the increasing shortage of urban land, the number of charging stations in large cities is limited, and the network density is low. Due to the need to be equipped with a variety of charging equipment, the construction is difficult and the one-time investment is large. The average investment of a new charging station of the State Grid Corporation of China is about 400,000 US dollars.
2. Parking lot (or roadside) charging pile mode
The charging pile is a device that supplements electric energy for electric vehicles, and its shape is like a parking meter. One charging pile can charge two electric vehicles at the same time, and the time to fully charge is 6 to 8 hours. The charging pile can realize charging by time, electricity and amount.
(1) Main features. Charging piles are usually built in public parking lots, residential parking lots, shopping mall parking lots, or along roads, or in private garages. The charging pile has the characteristics of low power and flexible distribution, mainly in the slow charging mode, with man-machine operation interface and self-service function.
(2) Advantages. The charging piles are built in the parking lot or roadside, occupying a small area, and the charging piles built in the garage and residential quarters do not occupy public land at all; the construction difficulty is small, the one-time investment is small, and the construction cost of a single charging pile is 2000-4000 Dollar.
(3) Disadvantages. The charging speed is slow, the charging pile adopts the slow charging method, and the charging time takes 5 to 10 hours; due to the long charging time and the special nature of some charging piles, the equipment utilization rate of the charging pile is lower than that of the charging station; it cannot meet the emergency, long-distance The charging needs of driving. Although it is easy to build a single charging pile, a network of charging piles must be formed to meet the needs of the popularization of electric vehicles, and it will take a long time to perfect the entire charging network.
3. Swap station (battery rental) mode
Battery leasing refers to the separation of electric vehicles and battery sales. Some manufacturers sell bare electric vehicles, and some manufacturers operate battery leasing business. The central government provides subsidies to battery leasing enterprises, which rent batteries for electric vehicles to private users at the price after deducting subsidies, and provide battery maintenance, maintenance, replacement and other services. The battery is only rented but not sold. The electric vehicle is directly replaced with a fully charged battery at the charging station to achieve charging, and the actual electricity usage fee of the previous group of batteries is settled.
(1) Main features. Users rent batteries from battery leasing companies, and the replacement station provides users with services such as battery replacement and battery maintenance, and the batteries are charged centrally in the charging center. Due to the heavy weight of the battery pack, the professional requirements for replacing the battery are strong, and professionals need to be equipped to quickly complete the replacement, charging and maintenance of the battery with the help of professional machinery.
(2) Advantages. The requirements for the battery replacement store are very low, only 2 to 3 parking spaces are required, and the floor area is smaller than that of the charging station; the main equipment of the battery replacement station is the battery removal and installation equipment, with few electrical equipment, less construction difficulty, and less one-time investment. It is less than the charging station; the battery replacement speed is fast, and the time to replace the battery is generally 5-10 minutes. With the advancement of technology in the future, the time required to replace the battery will be less than the fast charging time; the battery replacement mode has low requirements on the store, It is easy to distribute points in a large area of ​​the city.
From the point of view of commercial operation, the replacement of battery mode belongs to the new logistics mode of energy. Replacing the battery model is conducive to the large-scale and standardized production of battery production enterprises, and is conducive to the large-scale procurement and intensive management of energy supply enterprises, which will significantly reduce the total operating cost. As a relatively independent intermediate operator, the energy supply enterprise is conducive to the government’s implementation of more targeted support and preferential policies, such as electricity price policy, subsidy policy for the purchase of batteries, etc., and it is easy to establish a clear financial profit model, which is more efficient than simply providing charging services. Get a higher return on investment and have a broader space for development. In addition, this mode is also very beneficial to the safety and economic operation of the power grid. Centralized charging facilitates unified scheduling, management and monitoring, which can maximize the role of peak shaving and valley filling, increase the load rate of the power system, and minimize harmonic pollution. It is beneficial to the safe and stable operation of the power grid and the optimal utilization of power resources.
(3) Disadvantages. The battery swapping station (battery leasing) model requires the country to establish a unified battery standard, and the power battery installed in an electric vehicle must be detachable and replaceable, which requires a very high standardization system for the automobile industry. At present, my country’s electric vehicle standard system is still very imperfect. Each automobile manufacturer and battery manufacturer basically fight against each other, and the battery specifications are very different; the battery replacement mode involves many links such as battery leasing, charging, distribution, metering, and replacement. The work is complicated by the division of labor by multiple companies.
The battery replacement station model is theoretically an ideal business model. Some cities in China have carried out pilot operations, but there are some difficulties in promoting this model on a large scale in the short term, mainly reflected in the following three aspects.
(1) In terms of management, my country is in the early stage of the development of the electric vehicle industry, and the battery technology is not yet mature. The performance and quality of various batteries vary greatly. It is very difficult to unify the battery standards. This is not only a standardization problem of batteries, but also involves electric vehicles. Standardization is a huge systematic project involving the interests of automobile factories, battery manufacturers, and replacement station operators.
(2) In terms of technology, in order to ensure that the batteries can be replaced, all batteries must have good consistency. It is not only necessary to unify the battery interface standards, but also the size, specification, capacity, performance, etc. of the battery. Under the current situation of domestic battery manufacturers fighting against each other, it is difficult to unify the consistency of battery production by all battery manufacturers in the short term. accomplish.
(3) Battery circulation. In the process of battery replacement, there will be differences in the degree of newness and residual energy of the battery, which will bring about the problem of how to measure and bill when the battery is replaced.
In short, there is still a long way to go before the battery replacement station model becomes a mature business model. Only when my country’s electric vehicle industry develops to a relatively mature stage can it become the mainstream business model of the charging industry.
4. Development Trend of Electric Vehicle Charging Station Business Model
The above three modes are not an either-or, mutually exclusive relationship, but a relationship that both competes and complements each other. In the future, charging stations, charging piles and replacement stations should form a complete charging network system to provide convenient and efficient services for electric vehicle users.
There is no technical problem in the construction of public charging stations, and the investment cost of equipment is not high, but it occupies too much land resources, and the cost of land acquisition cannot be underestimated. In the short term, in the initial stage of electric vehicle development, when the construction of charging facilities has just started and a complete charging network has not yet been formed, it is necessary to quickly build a number of public charging stations, which can produce a good demonstration effect and advertising effect. Promote the popularization of electric vehicles as soon as possible. But in the long run, public charging stations are unlikely to be the ultimate solution for EV charging, nor should they be the primary charging method. Public charging stations should be positioned to mainly meet the emergency charging needs of various social vehicles, and mainly provide fast charging services, which can effectively reduce the area of ​​charging stations and improve equipment utilization.
From the perspective of ease of use and resource saving, ordinary electric vehicles are parked most of the time, and the charging piles built in the parking lot and roadside can basically meet the needs of regular charging of ordinary electric vehicles; and with a large number of charging piles Replacing charging stations can also save valuable land resources. Therefore, in the long run, the dominant conventional charging method in my country should be slow charging, and the charging piles on the parking lot and roadside will become the dominant charging facilities. Build charging piles in all places where parking is possible, and build a new charging pile for each additional electric vehicle, and the number of charging piles will be equal to the number of electric vehicles.
In foreign countries, home charging is the most frequently used electric vehicle charging method, and public charging facilities are required outside the home. At present, from the experience in Tel Aviv, Israel and Tokyo, Japan, the charging piles in parking lots and communities are most frequently used, and charging stations have not become the first choice for most electric vehicle users.
With the rapid increase in the number of electric vehicles, a charging network should be formed with “charging piles as the mainstay and charging stations as supplements”. The charging piles are used for conventional slow charging, and the charging stations meet the needs of emergency fast charging. Therefore, my country should strengthen the research on the planning, construction, operation and other related issues of charging piles, and speed up the layout and construction of charging piles.
In theory, the battery replacement model is an ideal business model. However, this model currently has management, technical and commercial difficulties, and it is difficult to promote it on a large scale in the short term. When my country’s electric vehicle industry develops to a relatively mature stage, the battery replacement station model will likely become a more mature and efficient business model. In the near future, the battery replacement station model can only be piloted in individual qualified cities.
After the above analysis, in the future there will be home AC charging (to solve the needs of users with fixed parking spaces), commercial DC fast charging (to solve the needs of users without fixed parking spaces and emergency charging users), supplemented by DC fast charging for group users (to solve the needs of users with fixed parking spaces) Such as the needs of group users such as buses and taxis) as a supplementary power supply pattern. Therefore, investing in the construction and operation of charging stations that provide paid charging services is in line with the trend of electric vehicle power supply in the future.

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