Measuring ROI: Why EV Charging Returns Require a Rethink

Studying the missed opportunities by thinking about EV charging only in terms of ROI.

I have some big news: My family recently purchased a new refrigerator. I know, you’re already on the edge of your seat!

For a few days, we marveled in the mysterious world of cubic feet, french doors, and ice-making. Who knew there were so many options?

Of all the spec sheets and fancy finishes, you know what I didn’t find? A single stat on a return on investment (ROI). ROI is the income generated over a product’s lifetime divided by the upfront cost.

Despite this fact, Americans (including me!) still buy over 8 million refrigerators each year. How can this be?

A Chilling Development

Yet property owners or managers I speak with shopping for electric vehicle chargers often obsess over ROI.

“Alex, how much do EV charging stations cost to operate? What’s the ROI?” Yes, important questions for any financial decision to be sure.

These questions are driven by uncertainty. An understandable desire for control over future costs. To allay those concerns, check out my breakdown of EV charging operating costs here. Can we implement strategies to offset the cost of EV charging, perhaps even bake in a small margin? Absolutely.

As for ROI? I challenge you to approach with a different mindset – like my refrigerator.

We don’t associate ROI with my new refrigerator. How about internet access, a coffee machine, or that fancy toilet?

A different calculation drives these decisions.

On Brand

Amenities are part of your property’s brand, the feeling you give your customers. An experience and standard customers come to expect. Or don’t.

The better question: “What’s the cost of not offering EV charging at your property?” Does it mean missing out on millions in future investment, like my conversation with this property manager? Do your customers a place to charge their vehicle?

What’s the value of first-class EV charging experience at your residential or commercial property? What feeling do you want to give your customers and residents?

What would you pay to attract and keep tenants and residents while maintaining a competitive advantage in the real estate market? Consider the value of securing a new lease with an anchor tenant or valued resident.

Reconsider the Return

With EV sales reaching 20% of new vehicle sales in California last quarter (and climbing), EV charging is becoming a necessity for most aspiring luxury and high-end properties. Note: Tesla’s Model 3 and Model Y top the list.

If you’re interested in attracting more Tesla drivers to your property while delivering a first-class experience, consider the value of offering more reasons to stay. The only return you’ll notice is your residents, tenants, and visitors to your property.

And if you can calculate the ROI for my new refrigerator, please share. I’d love to know!

About the Author

My name is Alex. I’m working alongside a talented team to provide organizations with intelligent onsite solutions that support carbon-free electrification and transportation.

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

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