Portable EV Chargers: How to Add Services to Your Roadside Business
Get ahead of the competition by adding electric vehicle (EV) roadside assistance to your business’ service offerings.
In this guide, we are breaking down the most important steps of adding roadside EV charging to your services.
Following these steps can help increase your customer base and revenue as well as establish your roadside company as a leader in the industry.
Table of Contents:
Step 1: Assess The Market
Perform research in the area you are in to assess the needs of your target market. There are many different ways to do this.
Perform Market ResearchMarket research helps your business understand the potential of future services. This will include the amount of people in your area looking for EV roadside assistance, how much they are willing to pay, and the frequency of when they would use it.
Market research also helps you understand your competitors in the industry. Understanding your competition in the space can help you understand the consumer demand.
Survey Your Existing Customers
Surveying your existing audience helps your business understand current customer views on this topic and service. Electric vehicles are rising in popularity, so it would help to know if your current customers are purchasing or plan to purchase an EV.
Identify the Problems You Can Solve
This involves taking a look at the EV industry, specifically the EV charging industry. Understand the shortcomings or areas for improvement in this market. This will help you access where your business can step up and help.
One of the biggest challenges of EV adoption is charging infrastructure. EV drivers and potential buyers feel as though there are not enough charging stations. Examine the amount of charging stations and EVs in your area. If there are not enough charging stations per EVs, adding a roadside EV charging service is an opportunity to step up and solve a problem.
It is important when doing market research to examine the data and public records that are available to you. Look at trend reports, market statistics, industry content, government statistics, and sales data. These are typically free resources and can help you have a deeper understanding of this new potential audience.
Electric vehicles (EVs) come with a learning curve. It’s not just new technology for your business, consumers are also learning and adjusting to the new tech in EVs. It’s important for your business to understand how these vehicles operate in order to provide the best service for your customers.
EV charging is one of the most important areas to understand. This is the service you are considering adding, but there are a variety of ways to charge vehicles. Understanding your options and how they work will help you make the right decision that best benefits your business.
Electric Vehicle Batteries and State of Charge
Before you can jump into EV charging, it is important to understand how EV batteries work. This will determine how fast or how slow the vehicle can charge, as well as what types of charging it can accept.
Electric vehicles have rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. These batteries have a usable battery capacity which determines how many miles of range the vehicle has. The average EV has a usable battery capacity of about 68.8 kWh or about 256 miles of range.
The maximum amount of kW that a vehicle can accept will determine the speed of charging. Each charging level will have a different output of energy. These charging stations might offer the highest kW output for the fastest charging speed, but if your EV cannot accept that amount of energy it will charge only at its maximum capacity.
For example, a DC fast charger offers charging speeds of up to 300 kW. If you drive a 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV the maximum charge speed it can accept is 55 kW. This means the Bolt will not be able to charge at the maximum speed of the EV charger.
State of charge (S.O.C.) is also important for understanding charging speeds. The fuller the battery is, the slower it will charge. So, it is quicker to charge from 20% to 80% than it is to charge from 80% to 100%. This is because as the S.O.C. of the battery increases, the charge speeds slow down to what is known as a trickle charge. This happens to help maintain the EVs battery health and longevity.
Levels of EV Charging
Understanding the different levels of EV charging will help you choose the level that best suits your business and customer needs. There are three levels of EV charging stations available.
Level 1 EV Charging
Level 1 is the most basic form of charging station. This level uses a J1772 charger port and plugs directly into a standard wall outlet. This is the level that is the least expensive and comes with most EVs.
A Level 1 EV charger charges in a 120v AC outlet and takes about 40-50 hours to fully charge a battery electric vehicle (BEV). It outputs between 1.3-2.4 kW which is about 3 miles of range per hour.
Due to the slow speeds of Level 1 charging, this level is not a good option for roadside EV charging. This would take too much time to deliver enough range to get the vehicle moving again which is unsafe for your client and staff.
Level 2 EV Charging
Level 2 is an upgraded version of Level 1 charging. It uses the same J1772 port to deliver between 3-19.2 kW which is about 10-75 miles per hour. Depending on the EV charger, this level can still be a bit slow for roadside EV charging. You want to get your customers back on the road as quickly as possible to ensure safety and keep them happy.
Level 3 EV Charging
Level 3, or DC fast charging (DCFC), is the fastest level of EV charging. Speeds range from 20 kW - 300+ kW. DCFC can charge the EV from 20% to 80% in about 30 minutes to an hour depending on SOC and battery capacity. This is typically the option most roadside assistance companies choose as it gets vehicles back on the road the fastest.
Types of EV Chargers
After understanding the different levels of EV charging, you need to understand what type of charger is best for your roadside business.
Mobile EV Chargers
A mobile EV charger is an electric vehicle charger that is easily transported. These chargers are not fixed to the ground in one spot.
There are a few options for Level 2 and Level 3 portable EV chargers. However, many of the chargers available are using gas or diesel generators. SparkCharge has created the world’s first portable DC fast charger, the Roadie Portable, as a solution for businesses.
The Roadie Portable is a stackable, modular, and easy to transport EV charger. It was designed to be small enough to fit in any sized vehicle. Roadie Portable chargers at a rate of 1 mile per minute. It allows roadside providers to quickly give a boost of range so EV drivers can make it home or to the nearest EV charging station. This is a great option for roadside assistance and towing companies that are looking to avoid towing dead EVs.
Fixed infrastructure is a traditional charging station. It means the chargers are fixed to the ground and connected to the grid in order to charge. Fixed charging stations are offered for Level 1, 2, & 3 but are not a great option for roadside services for EV drivers.
After you have conducted all of the necessary research for your business, the next step is to purchase the electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE). The amount of chargers needed will depend on the anticipated demand in the area your business serves.
The Roadie Portable by SparkCharge has a variety of configurations to meet the exact needs of your business. You can customize the battery to charger ratios to create the perfect portable EV charging package. Your business can also customize the cable length and charger port to service a variety of different EVs in a variety of settings.
Step 4: Market Your Services
Let your customers know you can service electric vehicles. Send out email campaigns, social media campaigns, and add the new service to your website to get the word out. EV owners will feel more comfortable choosing a roadside provider that knows how to service electric cars.
This is also an opportunity to educate your audience about electric vehicles and the solutions your business provides for range anxiety. Range anxiety is the fear of running out of range while driving an electric car. It is one of the biggest barriers to EV adoption. By educating your audience about the benefits of driving electric and choosing your business as their emergency EV charging service, you can help ease their minds and aid EV adoption.
Step 5: Start Charging Cars
Once you’ve done the proper research, purchased your equipment, and informed your audience, your business is ready to start charging cars. It is important to track and record data and customer feedback in order to provide the best service. Stay up to date on the community and industry you are serving to ensure that EV charging best practices are being followed.