Running own EV charging network or reselling charging solutions: Pros and cons

4 min read
Oct 25, 2023 9:51:22 AM

As electric vehicles fill our roads, providing EV charging services becomes an attractive business opportunity. The question is, should you run your own charging network or act as a charging solution reseller? What are the differences, pros and cons of these two approaches?

The EU plans to cut GHG emissions by 55% by 2030. The UK has an even more ambitious goal of reducing GHG emissions by 68% by 2030 (compared to 1990) and becoming Net Zero by 2050. However ambitious this goal is, the objective is the same – to accelerate the pace of decarbonisation on the continent. That’s where electrification of the transport sector comes in as an essential accelerator.

Adoption of electric mobility by the general public is essential to proper electrification. The best way to promote e-mobility is to ease the general worry of not having a place to charge. That’s why a reliable public network of well-distributed EV charging stations is needed.

The opportunity to provide EV charging services, add to this network and thus further promote e-mobility is here to grab. But which way to go? Run your own EV charging network or rely on a service provider whose charging solution you’d resell?

Let’s dive deeper.

running an EV charging network: What expertise is a must?

Successfully launching and managing an EV charging network requires specific knowledge and skills:

  • Location analysis: Choosing the right location for your EV charging stations is vital in determining the future success of your business. You should consider factors such as the number of registered EVs and the availability of public charging stations in the area, the traffic volume and the road infrastructure nearby your location. After analysing your location, you’ll be able to decide if to move forward with the project and what type and how many charging stations to install.
👉 The Virta ROI calculator can help you determine how long it takes for your charging stations to become profitable based on the choice of your location 👈
  1. Hardware knowledge: You must have a solid understanding of EV charging technology, including the assets of different types of charging stations, their operation, power levels and charging plug standards.
  2. Energy management knowledge: You should also understand how electricity powers up your chargers, how it affects the grid and how to manage electricity distribution, monitor energy prices and optimise the use of your charging stations on daily basis.
  3. EV charging regulations and standards knowledge: You need to familiarise yourself with local, national and European regulations regarding installing and operating EV charging stations and running charging operations. E-mobility is an ever-evolving industry, which makes the legislation around it update all the time.

Once your charging infrastructure is in place, you must be ready to ensure the operational excellence of your chargers and a smooth service for your EV drivers.

EV driver services to ensure customer satisfaction

  1. 24/7 helpline: If there are any issues with your charging stations, EV drivers must be able to reach support anytime in multiple languages (for roaming EV drivers from abroad). The issues can vary from blocked charging cables to a charging session not starting when requested. Drivers appreciate immediate help.
  2. EV charging stations maintenance: You must ensure curative and preventative maintenance of your stations to guarantee your EV drivers are not surprised by out-of-order signs and can entirely rely on your charging network.
  3. Payments and invoicing management: EV drivers should be able to subscribe to a service that allows them to pay for their charging sessions on a monthly basis (after identification with a mobile app or an RFID tag) or to pay a roaming fee if needed. You must connect your charging infrastructure to a roaming platform to enable passing EV drivers to charge at your stations.

The responsibilities of the e-mobility players are vast. But they differ between Charging Point Operators (CPOs) and E-mobility Service Providers (EMSPs).

In simple terms, an EMSP is the one that offers the EV charging service to EV drivers, while a CPO is the one that operates the EV charging infrastructure.

Our comprehensive blog will give you more knowledge about these two players and their roles.

Managing your own network gives you complete control over your operations. It allows for better control of pricing models, user experience and feature customisation of your EV charging service. On the other hand, it also puts full responsibility for the network’s technical maintenance, reliability and performance on your shoulders and requires significant upfront investments.

EV charging solution reseller: The responsibilities

We just went through the skills and knowledge necessary to run your own EV charging network. But what if you decide to resell a charging solution of an already established charging network provider? What responsibilities are on your table, then?

First, a quick definition: A reseller buys services or products from a supplier or a service provider to resell them to their own customers. The reseller is an intermediary between the service provider and the end customer. In the case of EV charging, these customers can be businesses that offer EV charging to the public, such as shopping centres, hotels or airports or EV drivers directly.

Reselling a charging solution provides quicker market entry with lower upfront costs as resellers can rely on the expertise and established network of the service provider. At the same time, this approach means fewer responsibilities as the responsibility for installation and maintenance of the charging stations, development of new products, and EV driver services lies in the hands of the service provider. 

Note that a reseller can act as a CPO, i.e. if they own the EV charging stations, but wish to subcontract the part of providing the charging services to EV drivers.

What is the added value of a reseller?

As a reseller, you are a trusted partner offering a range of diversified services to their end-customers who have a single point of contact for all kinds of services.

The reseller brings value to their customers by offering:

  • additional services
  • personalised services
  • additional customer support

An EV charging solution reseller can play a vital role in developing of charging infrastructures and affect the quality of the provided services.

👉 If you wish to learn more about becoming a Virta reseller, check our dedicated page 👈