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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My last post about Coin operated public charging stations was met with some confusion.
http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?87314-Coin-operated-public-charging-station-market

Some thought a coin operated charging station setup would be very expensive.
Some thought it would create overhead to hire someone to empty the coin slot.
Some thought it would invite theft.

One person “trainorders” got the right picture.
“I think it is a cool idea for small businesses who want to put in a low cost charging station and not have it abused by the people who leave their car there for hours to charge up for free. You could put a simple quarter mechanical timer mechanism on a charging station that gives someone an hour at a time. It would not be a money maker, but it would prevent abuse. You drop a quarter into the slot, turn the handle and the timer turns it off after an hour.

This is a good option for small businesses and avoid joining a costly network. The problem with credit cards is the merchants gets charged a .30-.50 transaction charge, plus a percentage. This is not a good deal if you are only charging a couple of bucks to plug in.”

The ideal setup for a fast food or coffee shop would be coin operated L2 charging stations.
Turns out coin operated outlet timers exist and are relatively cheap. $150 on eBay.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Coin-operat...Control-electronicl-device-110V-/250954351133

All that’s needed is one that’s rated for level 2 charging stations like the $850 GE Indoor/Outdoor Level-2 Watt-Station.
http://www.homedepot.com/p/GE-EV-ch...i_kw=&ci_gpa=pla&ci_src=17588969#.Up_Of02A19A

For less than $1,500 you can own a revenue producing charging station with “NO MONTHLY SERVICE FEE”.
If this catches on companies like Chargepoint will die. Get rid of the middle man I always say.
Seems like an opportunity is waiting for an enterprising individual.:rolleyes:
 

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You are underestimating the cost of installing a 6KW outdoor electrical device in a publicly accessible place. In our state, this would require a building permit, which would require engineer stamped electrical and mechanical drawings. Maybe not in New Jersey?:confused:

The electrician alone to add an outdoor branch circuit and run the cable would cost over $500., The site work: digging and conduit,and the base and pole which you or I could do for $60. would probably cost nearly another $1000. more if the trench has to be cut into rock. Both contractors have to split their work across 2 days beacause the underground electritric work needs to be inspected after layin but before it is back filled, connectec, and topped off, so that adds more cost.

This could be reduced if the opportunity exists to put it on the side of a building, but that is not common and becoming even more rare, most commercial buildings have done away with "against building" parking for security and fire safety reasons.

I will grant that my estimate of $10,000 was probably high,

But I will repeat the question and challenge: would you take your own money and do this? Go ahead- take $4000, or $1500 if you are correct, out of your bank account and install one of these at a small business that you consider an ideal location, offer to split the revenue with the business owner and property owner, with no risk to them, insure the device yourself and bond the potential cost of its eventual removal so the business owner and property manager have no risk or liability, and manage it yourself. oh yea, you will need to add a meter so you can pay for the electricity. this can be done with a household power monitor system for few $100s

Thats all there is to it, and from your perspective it is a great way to increase business, so tell the business owner that you would like to have him/her pay you back 10% of the new revenue that the parking space generates in their business, after 3 months startup time.

So that's your model, you can be an entreprenuer for what you say is only $1500: "Nhern202's coin op electric charging station company" Just like a laundramat, its a evenings and weekends business, so you have no risk beyond your small capital startup and own time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Again you misunderstood me when I said, “Seems like an opportunity is waiting for an enterprising individual.”
I did not mean someone should start a Chargepoint like company installing coin operated charging stations. In fact I don’t want third party charging station networks to exist. They are the middle men I’d like to get rid of. The opportunity that I am referring to is the manufacture and sale of coin operated charging stations. Maybe not for an enterprising individual but a company like GE could manufacture one quite easily. Then again HP was started in a garage by two enterprising individuals. http://www8.hp.com/us/en/hp-information/about-hp/history/hp-garage/hp-garage.html

The goal is to empower small business owners with the ability to offer EV charging without the cost of partnering with a third party network. It would permit them to offer a service to their EV customers while also allowing them to recoup the operating costs of the charge.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Just like a laundramat, its a evenings and weekends business, so you have no risk beyond your small capital startup and own time.

I happen to know of a plumber who owns 5 Laundromats and is very wealthy. He also loves driving his Tesla Model S more than he does his Mercedes-Benz S-Class.
 

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The goal is to empower small business owners with the ability to offer EV charging without the cost of partnering with a third party network. It would permit them to offer a service to their EV customers while also allowing them to recoup the operating costs of the charge.
It does makes sense in complete isolation.

However, you're starting from the use of credit cards, which I think is the wrong way to think about it. A significant advantage of being networked is that you have status and history, useful for both operator and customer. Once you have added remote monitoring, the additional overhead is actually relatively low.

The best model minimizes payment processor transactions and that means a pre-pay account model with a swipecard. In that model actual financial transactions only occur when:
- consumer loads money to their account
- (utility does not have an account with charger network) charger owner transfer balance out from their account
- (utility has account with charger network) utility transfers money from the account

If those transfer happen using the national clearing house, each transaction would cost 15c or less.

Basically, a "PayPal"-type system can be extremely efficient and secure at large scale.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
If those transfer happen using the national clearing house, each transaction would cost 15c or less.

Basically, a "PayPal"-type system can be extremely efficient and secure at large scale.
Introducing third party involvement and cost again.

OK let me try to put it this way. If you owned a Starbucks franchised store, which had 4 building facing parking spots that you wanted to setup with charging stations, which would you buy?
Installation cost being equal.
1. Four L2 Chargepoint charging stations (with monthly service fees)
2. GE Indoor/Outdoor Level-2 Watt-Stations (free for the customers) which you need to power off at night.
3. OR Coin operated GE Indoor/Outdoor Level-2 Watt-Stations that cost $300 more, per station, than non-coin op. model.

Of course option number 3 does not exist, but if it did and I was the owner of the Starbucks in question, that’s what I would choose. Say what you will but, I think there is a market for such a device.
 

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Again you misunderstood me when ... The opportunity that I am referring to is the manufacture and sale of coin operated charging stations. ... a company like GE could manufacture one quite easily. ...e by two enterprising individuals. ...The goal is to empower small business owners with the ability to offer EV charging without the cost of partnering with a third party network. ....
And somehow I have failed to make my point clear: designing and building and offering for sale/installation a Coin-op EVSE solution is only 25% of the process. Someone else needs to buy it and get it installed and deal with the operation. If it as good a ideal as you say it is, then you should be willing to try it. there is no technology development needed, as you pointed out, but an off the shelf evse, and and off the shelf coin-op box, and an off the shelf owner power meter, and an off the shelf power relay. thats no harder than buying the 4 devices already packaged as one. The hard part is installation and operation and if a throughtful person like you is not willing to try it, then you should not expect that the owner of "Joes' mac&cheeze sushi martini bar and chop house" is going to be willing to do so either. If there are no obvious customers, then there will be no product to sell to them.
 

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Just like a laundramat, its a evenings and weekends business, so you have no risk beyond your small capital startup and own time.

I happen to know of a plumber who owns 5 Laundromats and is very wealthy. He also loves driving his Tesla Model S more than he does his Mercedes-Benz S-Class.
It's ton of work, the people I have known who owned Laundromats also made a lot of money, but the business could never be far out of their minds.... It consumed a high percentage of their "away from their day job" time.
 

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Introducing third party involvement and cost again.

OK let me try to put it this way. If you owned a Starbucks franchised store, which had 4 building facing parking spots that you wanted to setup with charging stations, which would you buy?
Installation cost being equal.
1. Four L2 Chargepoint charging stations (with monthly service fees)
2. GE Indoor/Outdoor Level-2 Watt-Stations (free for the customers) which you need to power off at night.
3. OR Coin operated GE Indoor/Outdoor Level-2 Watt-Stations that cost $300 more, per station, than non-coin op. model.

Of course option number 3 does not exist, but if it did and I was the owner of the Starbucks in question, that’s what I would choose. Say what you will but, I think there is a market for such a device.
You're assuming that your mythical coin-operated charging station would be able to beat my mythical 3rd-party networked charging station. My mythical charging station wouldn't have to have large management fees. That's there because of a broken model. There are large companies already doing pre-paid account management in large volume. How much cost do you think it would add to have EZPass run a pre-pay charger network? Or Amazon? Or an electric utility? Or WalMart?

The charger communication required would be:
- Online
- Plugged In
- Validate account
- Charge Started
- Charge Stopped
- Unplugged
Simple messages, small amounts of data, charger status always up-to-date online. Doesn't need powerful hardware. Basically, it's a very imprecise smart meter with a card reader.

Sure, it would work to stick a coin meter somewhere on the same circuit. But:
- If it's during business hours, is it really worth the extra expense, given the cost of installation when free charging might attract customers?
- If it's outside business hours, are people going to check your parking lot speculatively in order to pay your fee, which will be more expensive than home charging?
- Do you want people in your parking lot outside business hours?
 

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It's ton of work, the people I have known who owned Laundromats also made a lot of money, but the business could never be far out of their minds.... It consumed a high percentage of their "away from their day job" time.
There are a lot of people in the US who think working 12+ hours a day 6 or 7 days a week, maybe till the day they die if they are not saving a bunch of it, in order to purchase a M-B S class or a Tesla is the definition of success.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Sure, it would work to stick a coin meter somewhere on the same circuit. But:
- If it's during business hours, is it really worth the extra expense, given the cost of installation when free charging might attract customers?
- If it's outside business hours, are people going to check your parking lot speculatively in order to pay your fee, which will be more expensive than home charging?
- Do you want people in your parking lot outside business hours?
So are you saying you would choose option 2?
 
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