Turns Out Public Fast Charging Might Be Commercially Viable

DEC 28 2015 BY MARK KANE 32

Electrified Vehicle Sales Up In ireland

Electrified Vehicle Sales Up In ireland

Conclusions from the Trinity College Dublin study (Patrick Morrisseya, Peter Weldona, Margaret O’Mahonya) indicate that fast charging is commercial viability in the short to medium term.

Ireland already has a base nationwide fast charging network (at least for the CHAdeMO standard) so this is good news for ESB.

Important is where the chargers are placed, as poorly located ones will not be viable.

The research team confirmed the EV truth that owners prefer to charge at home – but evening peak demand is something that should be included in tariffs to soften peaks (by encouraging delayed charging).


  • Electric vehicle users prefer to charge at home in the evening at peak demand times.
  • Incentivisation will be necessary to encourage home charging at other times.
  • Fast charging most likely to become commercially viable in short to medium term.
  • Priority should be given to strategic network location of fast chargers.
  • Of public charge point locations, car park locations were favoured by EV users.


There has been a concentrated effort by European countries to increase the share of electric vehicles (EVs) and an important factor in the rollout of the associated infrastructure is an understanding of the charging behaviours of existing EV users in terms of location of charging, the quantity of energy they require, charge duration, and their preferred mode of charging. Data were available on the usage of charging infrastructure for the entire island of Ireland since the rollout of infrastructure began. This study provides an extensive analysis of this charge event data for public charging infrastructure, including data from fast charging infrastructure, and additionally a limited quantity of household data. For the household data available, it was found that EV users prefer to carry out the majority of their charging at home in the evening during the period of highest demand on the electrical grid indicating that incentivisation may be required to shift charging away from this peak grid demand period. Car park locations were the most popular location for public charging amongst EV users, and fast chargers recorded the highest usage frequencies, indicating that public fast charging infrastructure is most likely to become commercially viable in the short- to medium-term.”

Source: Future standard and fast charging infrastructure planning: An analysis of electric vehicle charging behaviour via Green Car Congress

Categories: Charging

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32 Comments on "Turns Out Public Fast Charging Might Be Commercially Viable"

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Turns out reports about EV charging might be commercially viable too. 😉

They want $19.95 to read the report.


I don’t know what the garage-to-EV-owner ratio is in Ireland, but, I’m pretty sure it’s north of 90% in the US.

I have never charged outside my garages. I don’t have fast charge capability in my EV, but, other than trips I see no advantage. Even L1 charging is sufficient for daily commute ranges in most cases.

New Yorkers may soon find out. The first quick charger (dual standard) is FINALLY operational on the Thruway. It is in a great location to get an future Bolt driver from NYC to Lake George. I hope it is successful and profitable and they have no choice but to expand as quickly as possible.

Hey, I can dream.

Brian, I saw that too. This is just the beginning of what’s needed for second generation EV travel. We need to see a lot more fast chargers at highway rest stops etc. And in order to be trusted they need to be reliable. Here is a piece I wrote recently to hopefully help us go in the right direction here. Reliable Fast Charge Networks I see a weakness in some of today’s fast charge networks that I’m hoping operators will address in future planning and rolling out of fast charge stations. A network of fast chargers needs to be completely reliable if it is to be trusted by EV drivers now and in the future. This is particularly important for those charge stations that enable longer distance EV travel between cities. In the same way that a gas car driver visits a gas station with his gauge on E and is quite certain that he will be able to fill up, so an EV driver needs to be certain that a fast charge location will provide the charge he most certainly needs. Future EV drivers who travel on a main route that has a well spaced network of fast chargers… Read more »

Brandon said:

“I see a weakness in some of today’s fast charge networks that I’m hoping operators will address in future planning and rolling out of fast charge stations.
A network of fast chargers needs to be completely reliable if it is to be trusted by EV drivers now and in the future.”

This is the problem with not-for-profit charging stations. There’s no incentive by the installer or manager to maintain them.

Public EV chargers will be well maintained when they’re supported by either a for-profit subscription service or profitable per-use fees. Otherwise, maintenance is going to be erratic and spotty.

It’s not clear to me that public charging can ever be considered “reliable” given the possibility of all available charging stations being in use, unless there was some scheduling ability that allowed you to reserve a timeslot.

What we really need in this country (the US) is a company like Fastned in the Netherlands. A for profit company that will rollout a nationwide network of fast charge stations at rest stops and other locations along main highways. This will really only become possible and necessary with longer range and therefore faster charging affordable EV’s. When Audi begins their 150 kW fast charging station rollout in 2018 I would hope to see a Fastned style rollout start here in the US. But somebody’s going to need to step up to the plate and have a real vision and passion to do a totally awesome nationwide rollout like Fastned is doing in the Netherlands and plans to do in most of Europe. Have a look at this great read if you haven’t already:


The Eletric Car fast chargers are facing what the railroads and canals where dealing with in the 1840’s. The trouble they faced in the 1840’s was not enough people in a given area to use them. When the human population went up in a lot of areas the railroads and canals did stop losing money. The Electric car quick chargers are suffering not from them not being needed but the reality is the electric car population hasn’t grown large enough yet.

And yet, in the late 1800s-1910s, there were many public charging stations for electric cars. Will we repeat our failures again?

Ocean Railroader said:

“The Electric car quick chargers are suffering not from them not being needed but the reality is the electric car population hasn’t grown large enough yet.”

Yes. And also from the lack of a universal charging standard.

The first purpose built gas station didn’t appear until 1905. Before then, motorcar drivers had to depend on buying tins or canisters of gasoline at drug stores and hardware stores.

Perhaps what we need is just some patience here. Eventually, the increasing number of PEVs on the road will create enough demand to support a nationwide network of for-profit super-fast charge stations. But several things will have to change before that happens.

I’ll admit. When my wife and I get home, the first thing we do is plug our cars in, despite being peak time. The main reason is we want our cars to be ready to drive again as soon as possible. We often go somewhere in the evening and we’re never sure which car we’re going to take so we just plug both of them in. In the Leaf it is kind of a requirement. In the Volt, I could technically wait but then I run the risk of having to burn gasoline.

However. I can honestly say that if the cars had more range, like 200 miles for the EV or 80 miles for the PHEV, I think we could comfortably set the charge timers to charge at night, knowing we have plenty of range in the event we need to go out in the evening.

The PowerWall. That 7kWh may not sound like much, but it should get most people through the peak “hump” without having to set times and debate cooking dinner or eating it cold.

And when you look at how much peak power costs some people, a PowerWall makes sense pretty quick. I’m just afraid people will try to think it’s a whole home UPS and be disappointed.

My situation is the lack of net metering through our electrical co-operative. Currently, I am finishing a five year aggregate contract that adds to the wholesale pricing. I will be looking to add some level of battery in the next few years when my contract ends. Looks like solar generators in Nevada will be looking to do the same thing.

Yep Mark. It’s all about your utility.

I had excess kwh’s in my Arizona APS account but at the end of the year we settle up and start again.

So they paid me for my banked kwh’s…..to the tune of 2.6 cents per kwh. Yes 2.6 cents per kwh.

I agree David. I think the 200 AER breaks the cycle on daily use. The fast chargers are still necessary along interstate corridors and as the article suggests, can be commercially viable.

200 plus miles electric range cars are already exist along with their superfast free DC charging. Please check out “Tesla”.

The need for local charging doesn’t go away 200 mile range cars:

1) slightly less than 50% of the U.S. lives in a single family detached home that they can freely add EV charging

2) only about 1/3 of US residents actually have a commute type job that has the possibility of workplace

3) people who live in condos, apartments, are retired, handicapped, students, military, non-traditional jobs, etc, still need transportation

Since I am likely one of the very few who doesn’t drive gasoline cars at all, I can offer that in my daily driving, I find that I use the most local DC chargers far more than I do ones that are any distance from my house.

Yes, I have the luxury of my cars starting with a full charge at my house every morning, including my 240 mile range Tesla model S-70D. No, I don’t have an employer to provide for my basic transportation energy needs.

@ David Murray, Agreed I too plug my car in EVERY time I get to the house no matter the time! Much like you I want to add range whenever possible for additional errands and I use Level II 240V exclusively at my house. The EVSE that came with the car is collecting dust (It’s just too slow) Driving a Volt the more I can keep it on a plug the cheaper it is to drive. I try to burn as little gas as possible.

Similar to gas stations charging stations are commercially viable when they have the capacity to charge hundreds of electric cars per day and consequently are located at high traffic locations. Fastned in the Netherlands therefore has already opened 50 stations along the Dutch highways

But Fastned is still far far away from profitability i.e. commercial viability.

All I know is bigger is better. More kw please. 800 Volts sounds good. Zap er up in 15 minutes.

A DC Fast Charger costs $35,000 to $50,000 for 50 kW CHAdeMO / CCS Dual Units, or there about’s, however – a Gas Pump costs about a similar amount. They Both Take up the same amount of service space, but the Gas Pump pushes more customers through per hour! So – DC QC’s need a bit of there own space, and a Station that can capitalize on the charging cycle wait times of 15 – 35 minutes for most BEV’s that use these at present. For Example: Coffee Services, Quick Food Services (Hot & Ready Hot Dogs, Burgers, Sandwiched, cold drinks like Mile & Juice besides pop, and of course – clean restrooms! Adding a TV with a space to view it outside could be an interesting addition, as well as WiFi services to help keep people engaged while on site. Offer Free or Discounted Charging with a specific dollar value spent in store on Food or Snacks! For Example – DC Quick Charge – $5/30 Minutes; Spend $10 in Store – get a $2.50 Discount on the Charging/Purchases; Spend $20 in Store, get a $5 Discount on the Charging / Store Purchases! (If the discount on in-store purchases is… Read more »

Robert Weekley said:

“A DC Fast Charger costs $35,000 to $50,000 for 50 kW CHAdeMO / CCS Dual Units, or there about’s, however – a Gas Pump costs about a similar amount. They Both Take up the same amount of service space, but the Gas Pump pushes more customers through per hour!”

Yup. And that’s just one of several reasons why competition will inevitably drive faster and faster charging rates, until we get super-fast for-profit roadside charging. This will benefit both customer and vendor. The customer gets his car charged in 10 minutes or less; the vendor can service more customers per hour.

What? Where underground storage tank, all the piping, human workers, gas dispenser and I heir servicing cost just as little as Fast Charging station?

I dunno what the actual costs are, but remember that the average gas station has about 8 pumps, so divide the cost of installing the underground storage tank and the plumbing by 8. I suspect the price of installing an individual public charger is a lot higher than the cost of a single gas pump, not including the other parts of the gas station infrastructure.

Also remember that the relatively high production rate of gas pumps will help keep prices relatively low. Public EV chargers… probably not so much, due to low numbers.

For Workplace charging – a nice high speed level 2 works fine. For travel parking – level 1 is perfect. See SeaTac.

For long distance travel Level 3 is a necessity. People will pay for the speed.

The good news is bigger batteries and faster charging. OEM’s are aiming at a 100 kWh battery and and charging at 300 kW by 2020. Charging your electric will be as filling up your gasoline car. That’s why Fastned in the Netherlands builds charging stations similar to gas stations with 15 years concession periods similar to the 15 years concession periods of gas stations.
Fastned stations have small operational costs and will run break even at 15 charges per day. The first Fastned stations will be at break even in 2016.

They need to be reliable AND available.
One plug per site won’t do it soon.
There’s already queue at some of those SC.
Same happen here sometimes in DFCC, (they are call BRCC in Québec)
Peak time charging is easy to address with TOU
And any fast charging site will never need decontamination after dismissal.

I agree. 99,99% uptime and availability are a must. This is only possible if you cluster more multi standard chargers under a roof and all managed by a Network Operations Center. In other words: only a network of serious fastcharging stations can do the job

No, I don’t think so. A better path to better reliability is an attached donut shop. Then you have another profit centre that doesn’t necessarily rely on the chargers being profitable, plus on-site staff that will be there to ensure that copper thieves don’t make off with the cables, someone is there to reset the thing when it needs it, and to clear the snow away in the winter.

As an added bonus, drivers have a place to spend 10 or 15 minutes. That makes money for the owner of the DCFC.

This, coincidentally, is also the business model of most gas stations these days. The stations don’t make much money on selling gas, but they sure do in snacks and tabloids.