EVSE Grants - Public EV Charging Costs - Equipment vs. Service

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1. Grant Programs – Many Not Waiting

Who does not appreciate a helping hand? Government EV charger grant programs can be a fantastic resource if you can tap into them. HWisel frequently receives inquiries and assists with securing grants for MURBS, which include condominiums and rental buildings. 

In most cases, grant funds are accessible to alleviate a portion of the expenses linked to EV charger projects. However, keep in mind that these grants do not cover the entire cost. This implies that condominiums or landlords are usually responsible for covering half of the expenses, which often becomes a hurdle preventing charger installations. Typically, the condo's contribution amounts to 50% of the overall project cost, with a common cap at $5,000 per Level 2 charger.

Over the past year, we have helped many condo clients in obtaining funding approval. It is crucial to note that approval is just the first step; the subsequent one involves entering into a contract. Interestingly, while condos inquire about grant programs, they are less inclined to invest the money even after approval. This curiosity led us to explore the actual number of MURBS that not only received 'green light' but successfully secured funding, prompting our desire to delve deeper into this matter.

And before we go into the details, a word of caution should be extended: YOU CANNOT apply for a grant after the charging stations are already installed. We recently had a client share a proposal they received from a competitor, suggesting that they could secure a grant post-installation. To dispel any confusion, this is misleading and untrue! Let's now go back to our story.

We reached out to NRCan, the Canadian agency overseeing the Federal government's EV charger grant initiative, through a Freedom of Information request. Our goal was to obtain a comprehensive list of projects that received the funding confirmation in the past three years, specifically those administered by Delivery Organizations. We also sought information on the number of chargers supported and the average funding amount allocated per charger. To narrow down our request, we focused exclusively on projects within the province of Ontario.Delivery Organizations 1280 x 1024 pxl

What Are Delivery Organizations?

Let's lay the groundwork before we examine the numbers. Ontario has about 900,000 condo units, all concentrated in the big cities like Toronto and Ottawa. Additionally, CMHC reports 700,000+ rental units in various buildings, indicating a substantial volume of both units and buildings. Managing applications from this vast number of properties is beyond NRCan's scope. Hence, they collaborate with program delivery partners, often non-profit organizations specializing in energy efficiency, to streamline the process.

What Have We Learned?

According to the ATIP Secretariat response #A-2023-00352/AN to the HWisel request under the Access to Information Act, received on August 10,2023, NRCan has supported the installation of roughly 525 charging stations in the past three years, considering there are over 1,000,000+ parking units (assuming one parking spot for each MURB unit in Ontario). This is an extremely low number! On average, the grant provided was approximately $4,500. This implies that condo or rental building owners typically contributed approximately $4.500 for the installation of a charger.

How Does This Inform Us?

This indicates that a substantial number of condominium and rental building owners are not applying for grant funding. We have firsthand knowledge of this fact, as a significant portion of our clients opt to cover the entire cost themselves. Although grant money can be beneficial, it comes with various strings and challenges. These include precise timing, readiness, and willingness to pull the trigger, among others.

The process involves coordination between the condo, building owner, property manager, and the Board. They must navigate the application process, enter into funding agreements, and then patiently await for reimbursement.

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2. Public Charging Station Costs

Recently, several articles have emerged discussing the price hike at Tesla's public charging stations. Many of these reports have emphasized that this marks the second rate increase in just a few months and a shift in the billing approach from time-based to kilowatt-hour (kWh) based pricing.

In previous discussions, we have highlighted that electric vehicles become cost-effective when you charge them at home or your workplace. You can calculate it yourself, but utilizing a Tesla public charging station can be 3-4 times more expensive than powering at home. Plus, if you are enrolled in our Charger-as-a-Service program, you not only eliminate the expenses associated with the charging system, station, and electrical setup, but your savings are still twice as much as what you would incur with public options.

Why do EV drivers bear this extra cost? Perhaps, out of habit - we were used to gas stations. Some might drive more, lack home chargers, or prefer the familiarity. Feel free to provide your viewpoint if there is something we did not catch.

While superchargers are not the only ones targeting EV drivers, even Level 2 charging stations are part of this trend. Level 2 chargers usually bill by the hour. As an EV owner, you naturally seek the most affordable charger nearby. However, the charging station's size plays a role. Slower chargers mean longer wait times and fewer kWh delivered per hour. Most public L2 chargers, installed 2-5 years ago by companies like ChargePoint or Flo, offer only 7.6kW per hour. This is slower than newer L2 chargers like those by Hwisel and others, which provide 11.5kW or even 19.2kW. Smart EV drivers should calculate the costs when choosing between charging stations. For instance, a 7.6kW L2 charging station priced at $1.50 per hour effectively costs $2.40 per hour when compared to an 11.5kW charging station.

California took action due to the lack of clear pricing in the EV charging industry. They are at the forefront of standardizing price transparency. Similar to how packaged goods retailers display a per-unit price for easy comparison, California aims to implement a similar approach in the charging sector.

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 3. Equipment vs. Service

When you buy an EVSE (Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment), it raises a fundamental question: Are you buying equipment or a service? Unlike TVs or computers, EVSE is unique. For most home-charging EV drivers, it is primarily an equipment purchase. They are dependable, require minimal attention, and once installed, you plug in your car and you are ready to roll.

In scenarios like Condos or businesses with fleets, what is sought after is a 'refueling service' rather than managing a fueling station. The focus remains on running the business or building efficiently. In these contexts, EVSE should offer more services. Even individual consumers prefer service over mere equipment. This preference is akin to why many opt for Apple products: they desire seamless access to services like email and cloud storage backed by the customer support of the service provider, the Apple Store, whenever assistance with service or hardware is required.

Join the conversation: Do you view EVSE as a service or equipment? We would love to hear your thoughts! Share your perspective in the comments below and let's dive into this electrifying discussion together!


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