Software Helps EV Station Owners Become Entrepreneurs

Owning and operating a public EV charging station just got a little easier thanks to new management software that can turn a charger into a business opportunity.

WattStation Connect is a cloud-based EV charging station management system that’s compatible with internet-connected GE WattStation chargers. While drivers already have a myriad of services they can use to search for public plugs and see what prices they’ve put on electricity, WattStation Connect makes it easy for owners of charging stations to set hours and rates using a computer or smartphone.

It’s an easy way for EV owners to make some cash off their home charging setup, or for businesses to install public charging stations in their parking lots. Apps like PlugShare and Recargo already let anyone with a free electrical outlet publicize their charging station, and software like WattStation Connect can turn it into a business. Like a convenience store owner who puts an ATM next to the coffee maker and collects the transaction fees, a charging station may soon become yet another source of revenue for anyone with a parking space and an electrical connection.

Using the WattStation Connect software, owners can decide whether the station is public or private, then choose when it’s open and how much a charge should cost. Owners can charge for electricity by the hour, by the kilowatt hour or require a flat rate upfront. It’s also possible to set up dynamic pricing by time, or allow separate users to pay different rates. For instance, a business owner could let his or her own employees charge for free but ask the general public to chip in for electricity.

GE’s partnered with PayPal to collect payments, and EV entrepreneurs can download reports showing exactly how much money their stations have made. The system features a dashboard to show which stations are in use or need service. Additionally, owners can send realtime status updates to frequent users who have given their e-mail addresses.

With its simple interface and ability to control and monitor charging stations remotely, the setup should make it easier for charging station owners to join the growing private, ad-hoc EV infrastructure.

Photo: GE Reports