If you spot a Tesla on the road, you may be impressed by the sleek style of the car, but you may also find yourself wondering: How do you take an electric car like that on a road trip? How do you refuel conveniently? The answer is EV charging stations. As electric vehicles grow in popularity, so does the demand for these stations — making the sector an especially hot one for investors.
If you want expert advice on building an investment portfolio that serves your current and future needs, consider working with a financial advisor.
What Is an EV Charging Station?
An EV charging station is essentially a gas station for electric vehicles (EVs). According to the U.S. Department of Energy, while most EV owners have charging stations at their homes, there are tens of thousands of EV charging stations across the country. Whether these are public charging stations or workplace charging stations, they serve the same purpose of recharging the batteries of electric cars.
While the purpose of an EV charging station most resembles a gas station, the actual process is more like recharging your phone. As you might have a phone charger at home but also carry one with you to the office, if you have an EV, you might be best served by having a residential EV charger while still having access to public EV charging stations or an EV charging station at your work.
Are EV Charging Stations Good Investments?
EV charging stations can be good investments as the market for EVs and the accompanying infrastructure to power them grows. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is increased consumer demand for EVs and many reasons to believe that that interest will continue to grow.
In 2011, electric cars made up 0.2% of all car sales in the United States. By 2021, that number had swelled to 4.6%. Some research projections say that EV sales could make up as much as 52% of all car sales by 2023.
While environmental concerns have been a major concern for EV drivers historically, cost savings also figure prominently in the move to EVs. Studies find that EVs can save their drivers as much as $12,000 over the life of the vehicle, and that fuel savings alone can be $4,700 or more in the first seven years of owning the vehicle.
Further savings are available for EV buyers thanks to government policies. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act allotted a tax credit worth of up to $7,500 for EV buyers until 2032. That same bill committed $7.5 billion to build out national EV charging infrastructure.
Between personal reasons, cost savings and ongoing improvements to the affordability and battery life of EVs, it’s clear why investors would consider EV charging stations a wise investment.
How to Invest in EV Charging Stations
EV charging stations can be a wise investment for business owners. EV charging stations can be expensive to install, but the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act has set aside $1.5 billion to help states build and expand their EV charging networks. Look into your state’s EV charging station plan to see what assistance is available to you—for instance, in Illinois, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency will offer a rebate of up to 80% of eligible project costs.
Once you’ve set up your charging station, you can charge drivers for the electricity they use to recharge their cars, using a business model similar to a gas station. But EV charging can also generate income for your business in less straightforward ways.
Say you own a restaurant and decide to install a charging station. A driver on a road trip looking for a charging station sees your restaurant is nearby and decides to pull in and charge their car. Charging takes between 20 and 55 minutes—the perfect amount of time for that driver to grab a bite to eat as well. This strategy can apply to a variety of retail establishments, including shops, bars, convenience stores and more.
If you’re not a business owner or don’t want to create and maintain your own EV charging station, there are other ways to invest. You can invest in the companies that are creating and selling the charging equipment and technology, such as Tesla, Chargepoint or Tritium, by purchasing stock. You can also invest in EV-related mutual funds or exchange-traded fund (ETFs).
The Bottom Line
As EVs become more popular, the demand for charging stations will continue to rise. Business owners who invest in EV charging stations can enjoy an additional revenue stream as well as the potential for increased foot traffic and a new customer base. Individual investors who see the promise of the sector can buy in via stocks or ETFs.
Tips for Green Investing
- Consider talking to a financial advisor about the pros and cons of green investment strategies and how you might implement them in your portfolio. Finding a financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three vetted financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
- Want to take a look at what your portfolio will look like in a decade? SmartAsset’s investment calculator can help you do just that. Enter how much you have invested, how much you’re contributing and what rate of return you expect. We’ll then show you your investment growth five, 10 or even 30 years into the future.
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