Breaking Through the NOIse: What property owners, managers, and decision-makers need to know about EV charging cash flows and profitability

Searching hard for that NOI.

Talk with any property owner long enough on nearly any decision and you’ll find yourself confronted with a single question: What’s the NOI?

Net Operating Income, or NOI, is a financial metric used to measure the profitability of an income-generating property or business. They’re asking us because it’s the same question investors will invariably ask them.

Unlike ROI, which considers the total investment amount, NOI reflects the property’s ability to generate revenue from its operations alone.

NOI does not account for financing costs, taxes, or the initial investment amount. (That’s all captured in a separate term called Return on Investment, or ROI. Check out this article for thinking about EV charging ROI.)

For many property managers or their fiduciaries, NOI is king.

Breaking Through the NOIse

For electric vehicle (EV) charging projects, NOI can be elusive. I’m here to change that. I want you to have insight into EV charging operations for informed decision making.

The key financial metrics affecting EV charging NOI:

  1. Revenue: The income generated from driver fees for charging their EVs.
  2. Operating costs: Expenses such as electricity bills, software and support services, ongoing maintenance, and repair costs.
  3. Utilization rate: How often drivers use the charging stations. Higher utilization rates generally correlate with better financial performance.

These variables are site-specific and property-sensitive. But there’s one universality. Owners and managers I speak with wish to optimize charging station counts that satisfy tenant demands without over-investing. Minimize stranded assets.

Are there other toggles other than what I listed that can affect NOI? Sure. For example, some property managers charge a “lease adder” for tenant access to parking stalls with EV charging.

We recently completed a five-year NOI forecast for a portfolio of high-end multi-family properties in California for a real estate customer. We discovered positive NOIs based on detailed OPEX, revenue, and local EV adoption rates. Here’s a quick snapshot of some initial inputs driving a regional analysis.

Inputs from a recent EV charging portfolio analysis.

Looking Ahead

Conducting a site-specific feasibility study and financial analysis is essential to understand financial performance from EV charging stations. I work with customers as a trusted advisor for their EV charging needs, helping them develop and execute a long-term strategy, from initial project due-diligence through construction, commissioning, and operation.

We often tell clients to consider a multi-phase approach to EV charging. Starting with an initial charger count today (“Day 1”) and scaling up over time as EV adoption escalates is a great strategy for most first-time customers.

An NOI analysis is an essential step for ensuring operators, owners, and managers understand the ongoing cash flows of the project. I want you to have the tools you need to make an informed decision.

That’s why I created this NOI calculator template for you to use on your next project. Just download and add your project inputs into the yellow cells.

Would you benefit from a more accurate NOI for a commercial EV charging project? Reach out to explore how we can help reach your goals and eliminate OPEX uncertainty for your next EV charging project.

About the Author

My name is Alex. I make it easy for organizations to add large-scale electric vehicle charging stations to their properties and portfolios.

I live in San Diego and enjoy hiking, bicycling, traveling, spending time with my wife and son, and pondering the clean energy transition. You can reach me directly at alex.kaufman@powerflex.com.

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