Like EV charging, EV billing is simple, right? The car charges a certain amount of electricity, and the owner gets the bill!
Well, it’s not that simple if you want to do it right, and by right, we mean smart.
Table of contents
What is EV Charging Billing?
EV Charging billing is any billing directly resulting from charging an electric vehicle.
Most common business models charge the user either by kWh consumed or time spent charging (minutes, hours) or as a combination.
Advanced EV charging business models also incorporate different tariffs for charging in off-peak and peak hours, roaming, different pricing models, subscriptions, bonus points, loyalty programs, and groups.
EV Charging billing is the basis for EV monetization, aka earning revenue from EV charging.
According to recent Electric car sales statistics, the number of electric vehicles and EV Charging stations is rising rapidly.
However, according to the newest European Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Masterplan in the EU alone, up to 6.8m public charging points will be required by 2030, and The Brattle Group projects that the US will need close to 2 million public chargers by 2030.
Read our blog on EV charging infrastructure challenges for more information on market development.
With the predicted more than 120 million electric vehicles on the roads of the US and Europe alone by the year 2035, a lot of demand for EV billing would occur.
Smart Charging and EV Billing
The billing is simple if you plug in an EV and charge at a fixed price. However, that is not what Smart EV charging is about.
Whenever smart EV charging software takes over and regulates when to charge, how fast, and at what price, EV billing becomes more complex.
The billing becomes even more complicated when you also want to include more marketing tools in the business models, but let’s get to that little later.
Smart EV Charging, together with different charging pricing models, is an essential EV Charging industry trend that will shape the future.
Smart Charging Software for Smart EV Billing Management
The software that controls the charging station is called Charge Point Management System (CPMS), and it usually has just a basic billing capability.
As we will see later with modern EV business models, for efficient EV billing, the CPMS must be combined with intelligent billing software and a customer management system to fully enable EV monetization.
Who is CPI, CPO, eMSP,..?
In EV Charging, many different roles exist, depending on what function or service they provide.
Here is a list of the most common terms, but remember that the roles can be combined.
For example, one company can be the owner of the land and charging stations, the operator and provider of EV Charging, while the second company can be only a charging provider but doesn’t own or operate the charging points.
For more information on roles in EV Charging, read our blog EV CPO vs. EMSP – What is the difference?
The owner of the land or a site like a parking space where the chargers are installed.
Charge Point Installer (CPI)
Charge point installers (CPI) sell, install and sometimes maintain the hardware from one or more manufacturers.
Smart EV Charging: Unlocking Its Full Potential
They employ EV charging station contractors and have a variety of customers, ranging from homeowners, CPOs, and EMSPs to businesses directly.
Charge Point Operator (EV CPO)
Charge point operators manage charging stations. They offer their services to Electro Mobility Service Providers, or they can also have two roles and be EV CPO and EMSP.
They offer diagnostics, maintenance, and other value-added services for smooth network operation.
Charge point operators may own the charging infrastructure and/or provide the connection to owners of EV charge points.
Electro mobility Service Provider (EMSP)
Electro-mobility Service Providers (EMSP) offer EV charging to end customers – EV users.
Generally, they run the charging software under their brand and manage customers and billing.
They can also join e-roaming hubs and open their EV charging network to EV drivers from other providers.
Vice versa the EMSPs clients can also charge in other EV charging networks as part of EV Charging Roaming concept.
Four Basic EV Charging Business Models
As described in our blog on selecting the appropriate EV Charging business model for investing in EV Charging, there are different motives behind the decision to build charging stations.
Therefore, depending on the business objective, four basic business models can be identified:
Model 1: Loss Leader Model
This model offers EV charging free to attract customers and improve customer experience and customer retention.
EV charging is only a tool to grow revenue on the main existing business and is not billed, so a simple CPMS is enough.
The best examples are shopping malls or hotels, where a longer stay is planned.
Model 2: Fully Founded Model
A business owner may let a CPO or EMSP install charging stations at their cost, maintain them, and set the pricing.
While having EV Chargers can benefit the business, with a fully-funded model, the business owner loses control over pricing, which can negatively impact customer satisfaction if the prices are too high.
Model 3: Cost Recovery Model
The cost recovery model will set a charging price to cover operational costs and the cost of electricity or, in the case of the total cost recovery model, also the cost of investment in charging stations.
This model covers the costs but makes no direct profit, so the idea is still to use EV charging to attract customers with cheaper charging but generate revenue on other services and products.
This model can be used by restaurants, hair salons, and other businesses where customers park their cars.
Because EV Charging is usually billed with other products, good EV billing management software is needed.
The cost recovery model also needs good analytics to track charging costs and pricing to establish if the model works.
Model 4: Profit-making Model
The profit-making model will be the most common model for EV Charging, and it’s all about monetization – making a profit.
Overall, it’s a proper business model, with pricing, marketing, customer care, promotion, complex analytics, and keeping an eye on the costs.
How to Use EV Billing to Monetize EV Charging?
As said before, the profit-making model is the accurate business model for monetizing EV Charging.
Therefore, it’s a model that looks at EV Charging as any other business and tries to offer the clients different options and prices to suit their needs and maximize revenue.
A good example of such a complex and well-thought trough business model is telecommunications, with all the options, products, and pricing they offer.
Like in telecommunications, billing will be critical and complex in the modern EV Charging business.
Subsequently, it’s impossible without a modern, cloud-based EV billing system that is a part of the whole EV charging software package.
Customer Payment and EV Billing Options
|Pay – Now
|The user has an account balance that is consumed for charging sessions and can be topped up with a credit card, deposit, or voucher.
|The user receives an invoice for the usage, usually monthly, based on an agreed billing cycle.
|The user receives an invoice for the usage, usually monthly, based on an agreed billing cycle
Pricing Based on Time Frames and Charging Power
The principle of smart charging is to flatten the energy demand curve and optimize the cost-effectiveness of charging.
Equally, the pricing in modern EV Charging business follows these guidelines.
The providers of EV Charging will try to set the pricing so that the users are more motivated to charge when the prices are low and to charge slowly, when possible, to prevent grid overload.
With smart EV charging and EV billing software, the user can set the departure time and let the system manage the best time to charge and with what charging power.
Consequently, such pricing will move the charging to off-peak hours (6 PM to 8 AM and on weekends) and will try not to charge at high rates if it’s not urgent.
Subscriptions, Packages, and Pricing Plans
Today, everything is about subscriptions!
After all, subscriptions are an excellent tool for customer retention and loyalty.
As of lately, you can subscribe to an electric car, so why not subscribe to EV Charging?
A subscription can be a basis for a pricing plan combined with usage-based pricing and various strategies to increase sales revenue.
Example of Pricing Plans for EV Charging
|Plan or offer
|Regular service with charging rate plans and tariffs
|Customers that upgrade to VIP get better prices and priority charging
|Monthly fee, all charging sessions are discounted 50%
|When charging in roaming, no additional fees apply
|Monthly fee + 50 free kWh
|Monthly fee + 120 free kWh
|Monthly fee + 240 free kWh
|Family / Business Plan
|An owner of a group is payment responsible for other members
|Top Up Fee
|The immediate fee to add funds to a prepaid account
|Promo Top Up
|The immediate fee to add funds but adds 25% more funds
|40 kWh Down payment
|Onetime fee in return for 40 free kWh
General, Loyalty, and Tier Discounts
|Subscription Discount 1
|Discounts Monthly Fee for six months
|Subscription Discount 2
|Discounts Monthly Fee for two years
|Discounted charging usage for 20 %
|Operator A – Discount
|Discounted charging usage on chargers of operator A for 20%
|Discount for using partnered service – i.e., Restaurant, Hotel
|No RFID Card Fee
|Loyalty Discount – LVL 1
|Discounts for customers with subscriptions longer than one year
|Loyalty Discount – LVL 2
|Discounts rates for customers with subscriptions longer than two years
|Loyalty Discount – LVL 3
|Discounts rates for customers with subscriptions longer than three years
|Discounts flat amount from the total monthly bill – e.g., 20€
|Tiered Volume Discount
|Discounts percentage of the bill based on total bill amount (Tier 1, 2,3,…)
How to Create Complex Multi-parameter Tariffs
As we can see, many factors and parameters affect the pricing and final invoice a customer will receive according to his usage.
But no matter how complex, a modern EV Charging Billing system will handle all these scenarios and deliver the invoicing with a high level of automatization.
The table below shows how charging session price can be affected by any combination of the four categories.
|Owner / Operator
|Package or Plan
|Type (AC, DC)
|Rating per kWh
|Rating per time (min., hour)
|Peak, Off-Peak Hours
|Free Resources (kWh, min)
|Location & Category
|Combination of kWh and time
EV Billing with Smart EV Charging Software
All the shown examples of pricing and EV Charging billing (and more) are already implemented and running in Tridens EV Charge.
It’s a smart cloud-based Smart EV Charging management software that combines Charge Point Management System (CPMS) with intelligent billing & monetization system to offer a complete white-label solution for EV charging businesses everywhere.
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