Record Purchasing For Electric Vehicle Charging Stations In Municipal & City Governments

Record Purchasing For Electric Vehicle Charging Stations In Municipal & City Governments

Plug-in Electric Vehicles (EVs) are beginning to emerge as a standard alternative to gas and fuel powered automobiles on the market. For most drivers, the limitations of EVs are the distance these vehicles can travel on a single charge. According to the California Air Resources Board, most pure battery-powered EVs are able to travel distances of 60 to 120 miles on a full charge. This distance range is effective for the majority of drivers, who average less than 30 miles per day in commute distance.

While there have been improvements in battery technology and increasing adoption rates, distance limitations are the primarily stated reason drivers are afraid to switch from traditional gas-powered vehicles.  The difference though, is EV Plug-in stations can be plentiful in a small space, perfect for urban commuters.

For drivers of Electric Vehicles, running out of a battery charge is akin to an empty tank of gasoline with no nearby gas station. For example, a Georgia man was arrested for charging his electric car for twenty minutes at a school parking lot while playing tennis nearby. In that 20 minutes of charge time, the man used about 5 cents of electricity. This story highlights the lacking EV charging infrastructure in some areas.

Federal Government Tax Incentives.

In recent years the Federal government established tax incentives for both individuals and businesses to finance and install EV Supply Equipment (EVSE).  In 2013, deductions for the purchase and installation of EV charging stations were 30% for up to $30,000 in infrastructure purposes.

City and Municipal Leading the Charge.

In 2013, City governments became the leading purchasers of Plug-in Electric Vehicle fleets. During this same period, Cities became the leading public purchasers of EV charging infrastructure.  2013 data from BidPrime indicates more dollars were spent by City & Municipal governments than by the Federal government.  This was the first year the cities outspent the Feds.

Purchases for EV charging equipment hit an all time high in the 1st Quarter of 2014.

Bids for the purchase, construction or installation of EV charging stations have increased steadily since 2011 for State and Local governments. Similar bids decreased on the Federal government side during this same period. In addition, the dollar amount spent on each EV charging station bid has increased at least 50% year over year, as municipalities have increased the scale of each project to purchase more units.

BidPrime’s information suggests a strong trend in Municipal & City purchases of EV charging stations, reacting to an increased market demand in the need and use of Electric Cars and Vehicles by the government and consumers. “Municipalities are moving beyond the purchase of only few units at a courthouse facility; now EV charging stations are a fixture within the specifications for many new parking garage and parking lot construction plan specifications,” explained Chris Wilkenson, BidPrime’s Content Director. “In 2012 these purchases ranged from 20,000 to 40,000 dollars per awarded bid for a few units. Presently, dollars spent for each purchase order are rising as the quantity of government bids increase.”

As a result, municipalities’ infrastructure improvements are making the Electric Vehicle charging process more accessible to residents and potential EV owners. Last year eight states partnered to support and encourage EV adoption by building enhanced infrastructures to improve EV charging accessibility. Cities like Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco, Boulder, Austin and others have sought RFPs for feasibility studies dedicated to EV infrastructure planning, laying the groundwork for construction and further purchasing of EV charging equipment. The results of some studies have indicated that in the next few years, EV charging equipment will become a fixture on the streets of major cities, found in city street parking spots where parking meters or car-sharing spots are reserved. Market Demand and the rise in EV purchases by consumers and governments, are fueling this growth.

Top 5 States of EV Charging Station Purchases since 2011, per capita*
1) Rhode Island
2) Hawaii
3) Washington
4) Colorado
5) California
*This data reflects awarded bids/contract opportunities

Looking at the EV Charging Market Options.

A number of recent purchases for “Level II” charging stations, like ChargePoint’s paid charging meter, are being bid for contract or sole sourced by select cities. If purchased in a small scale that precedes this growing demand, governments can essentially break even or earn revenue from EV adoption. With ChargePoints, EV charging stations can be purchased and provided for a fee, like a vending machine.

Another emerging EV charging concept comes from Juice Bar EV, which offers an aesthetically appealing unit designed with BMW Group DesignworksUSA. Juice Bar’s unique design provides owners choice in customizing their Juice Bar to fit the needs of their facility. These units, by design, are able to adapt to their owners needs for the long term as market demand increases with continuing growth in PEV adoption.

By the choice of its owner, Juice Bars can become a revenue producing asset, where income can be earned through advertising on each EV charging unit. In addition, infrastructure costs can be easily offset through partnering with a sponsor, or just traditional Point-of-Sale methods like credit cards.

According to Juice Bar’s Business Development Manager, North America, Paul Young, “The customizable nature makes Juice Bar EV charging stations an attractive investment not only for private businesses who seek to drive business through prime parking stalls and advertising, but also cities, municipalities, and educational institutions who can use Juice Bars to offset costs to earn municipal revenue.”

Continued Growth Expected Long Term.

All data suggests that Plug-in Electric Vehicles (EVs) will become the standard for personal travel in the next decade. The number of purchases are increasing year over year, and this is only expected to continue. A recent report issued by Navigant Research forecasts that sales of EV charging stations will grow from $567 million in 2013 to $5.8 billion in 2022. Navigant attributes much of the EV charging station demand to residential purchases for new EV purchases. However, this report by Navigant recognizes the growing market demand for public charging locations.

Similar to Navigant’s report, BidPrime’s government purchasing data suggests a continued upward trend of growth in the amount of EV charging station government bids, along with continued larger scale purchases and awarded amounts for each bid.

Further advancements in Smart Grid technology are changing cityscapes and standard municipal functions of the past. Metropolitan areas at the State and Local level are set to lead by example where EV charging stations will become common fixtures in every city as EV adoption rates increase.

Stay tuned.

Sample Active Bids/RFPs

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

To see bids / RFPs related to Electric Vehicle Charging Stations, and to view the bid documentation, call us at 888.808.5356 or visit BidPrime.

About the Author.

Jim Ward is the VP of Business Development at BidPrime, the leading database service of government bids and purchasing data.

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