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How Orange Helps Buildings Turn EV Charging Profitable While Still Being Fair to Drivers

How Orange Helps Buildings Turn EV Charging Profitable While Still Being Fair to Drivers

Orange like many other companies allows property owners to mark up the cost of electricity. Unlike other companies, Orange works directly with property owners to ensure that pricing is still fair and that they can get a return on their investment.

Orange Charger was created to bring equitable charging to apartment communities, which includes both property owners and drivers. While it may seem unfair to allow property owners the ability to markup pricing, adding electric vehicle chargers, even with an affordable solution like Orange, is not cheap. We wanted to give property owners a way to return their investment on those stations while still ensuring that charging remains affordable and convenient for EV drivers.

Setting the right price

Every building is different and as such the needs of each change depend on the property. Oftentimes building owners have no desire to make money off their stations, they simply want a reasonable way to recoup some of their expenses on those stations.

Meanwhile, EV drivers need the ability to charge at home affordability and conveniently. After all, half the reason many drivers switch to electric is because EVs often save quite a lot on fueling costs. 

The way Orange does this is first by taking a look at all publicly available chargers in the area and seeing what the average kWh pricing (or in some cases time-of-use pricing) is. Once we know what all chargers average out at, we then break these down between DC fast stations and Level 2 and see the pricing differences as charge times play a significant role in how convenient a charging station is. We then present an average kWh pricing for the area and will mark it down so that stations are more convenient and less expensive.

For example, let's look at the area around Orange HQ and how we would go about pricing a station in our building. As you can see our general area has a decent number of public EV charging stations, some of which are DC-fast. In terms of convenience, these are the best chargers to focus on, as the Level 2 chargers would require overnight or at least a few hours of wait time to replace that day's energy.

Looking at the publicly available fast chargers, especially the ones close by, we find that pricing is quite high and rather confusing as EVgo also has pricing plans if you pay a monthly fee. However, if we are just looking at a realistic comparison, we’d average out the peak and off-peak times. This is because most people don’t get home until after 4PM and as such you’d likely pay the higher rate. Waiting until 10PM will offset some of this but it does come at a high opportunity cost forcing you to leave your house to park at the local grocery store for about an hour once a week, something many will find cumbersome.

It's important that we factor in these opportunity costs as even if you had a Supercharger across the street, if the price was the same, you’d probably prefer to charge overnight at home and not have to worry about moving the vehicle or waiting around for an hour so the vehicle can complete the charge and that's exactly what’s happening here.

If Orange HQ were a customer, we would recommend pricing the times $0.02/kWh lower than the prices listed here. The property would still make a small amount back on the charging stations and drivers will still pay less than they would have otherwise. In addition, drivers can plug in and schedule their charge start time to 10PM giving them access to the lower rate without the added inconvenience. We believe this to not only be fair to EV drivers but preferable as well since they’d save $0.08/kWh versus the public station.

Why We Feel This is Fair

While we do understand that your home kWh pricing might be lower, the power that is being used in the garage is not the same as what is in your individual unit, as it is being pulled from the main property meter. This means that your home pricing and the building's pricing are often much different.

While this might seem unimportant it could add quite a bit to the property's electrical bill at the end of the month. EVs require a lot of energy even when you’re not driving that far and as such over an entire community these vehicles can add 360 kWh/vehicle/month to a property and this has a real effect on the monthly bill, especially if your building falls into tiered pricing. While residents won’t notice a tier change on their home bill, the property certainly will, and these charges can add thousands to the monthly bill.

That's why it's imperative that property owners bring in a system like Orange so they can monitor their usage accurately and work with local utility providers to adjust their electricity rate plans accordingly. For EV drivers we wanted to ensure that they still have an affordable and convenient place to charge. While it may be more expensive than what you pay for in your apartment it will still be less than what you would pay for at a nearby public station, with the added benefit that you’ll be able to charge overnight conveniently.

In the example from before an EV driver who uses an average of 360kWh/month can expect to pay $165.60 for electricity, had they leveraged the public network they’re likely to spend $194.40. Over an entire year, drivers would save nearly $400 on fuel costs.

Drivers will also have peace of mind knowing that they won't have to wait for a station to open or wait around in the parking lot while the vehicle charges. Orange always recommends properties over-install for EV charging as our data has shown that once residents realize they can change at home affordably and conveniently they start looking to purchase an EV. On average, we see properties double the number of EV drivers on-site every year.

EV Charging at Apartment is Hard

Orange knows that while it may seem simple, EV charging at apartments is incredibly hard. It's a delicate balancing act between property owners, EV-driving residents, and the apartment community at large.

The apartment community wants every resident to have equal access to charging, while property owners need to be able to install enough EV chargers to satisfy that need affordably and, in some cases, earn a return on that investment, and EV drivers need a consistent place to charge their vehicles at a fair price.

If any one of these needs is not met, the system slowly fails, especially as more EV drivers are added to the property. Installing too few chargers, pricing at unreasonable costs, and high ongoing maintenance and/or operation costs can sour everyone on the idea of owning an EV. Leaving the joys of EV ownership only to those who live in single-family homes.

Orange set out to solve these inherent problems with vehicle charging at apartments while keeping things equitable and affordable for everyone in the community, both EV drivers and property owners alike. By adding in these simple measures, we ensure that everyone feels they are treated fairly.

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