Auto Service World
News   December 17, 2020   by Christine Hogg

Bosch expert weighs in on why shop owners should invest in EV charging stations


EVs will hit 10 per cent of global passenger vehicle sales by 2025, rising to 28 per cent in 2030 and 58 per cent in 2040.

With electric vehicle adoption on the rise, experts at Bosch Aftermarket say that electric vehicle chargers are one of the top technologies shop owners should be investing in now to stay competitive.

In fact, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), EVs will hit 10 per cent of global passenger vehicle sales by 2025, rising to 28 per cent in 2030 and 58 per cent in 2040.

As auto shop owners prepare for the shifting landscape of the auto industry— what should they consider investing in today to better service their customers of tomorrow?

We caught up with Jeff Hudnut, product manager of EV Charging at Bosch Automotive Service Solutions, to discuss what shop owners should look for when selecting an EV charging station for their shop, to better help them prepare.


ASW: How can aftermarket professionals embrace EV technology and work together on a solution that benefits jobbers, shop owners, and the consumer?

Jeff Hudnut (JH): The largest solution stems simply from our ability and openness to embrace change. At the advent of electric vehicle (EV) technology, there was a lot of concern for consumers and shop owners about investing too heavily in the technology. As EV’s continue to become more popular however, those unknown variables that once surrounded the technology are fading.

Now, shop owners are beginning to realize that servicing EVs may not necessarily require a huge capital investment in tools and equipment, lengthy training programs, or a need to re-think of the way that the business is run. EV-supporting technology often fits seamlessly into the budget and day-to-day processes of jobbers, shop owners and consumers alike.

ASW: One of the main concerns for potential EV investors is the lack of charging stations close to their home. How can investing in the right charging station for your shop help with this?

JH: With 80 per cent of EV charging occurring at the home, most EV drivers are not deterred by the lack of local charging options. However, for those who do not have access to home charging stations, finding opportunistic charging locations is critical for the ability to drive.

As a shop owner, installing a charging station in your shop in an easy-to-use and access location will help you become a go-to stop for both your existing EV-driving customers, as well new potential EV-driving customers as well.

ASW: It sounds like investing in an EV charging station is mutually beneficial. For those who are still on the fence about the decision, what would you say to encourage them?

JH: With the growing number of EVs hitting the roads and older models that are now out of OEM warranty, installing an EV charger is a sizable opportunity to attract new customers. EV chargers can act as a beacon to this growing customer base through EV charging maps offered through user-generated sites like Plugshare.com and through in-vehicle infotainment systems.

It’s important to note that despite common belief, the maintenance and repair of electric vehicles is very similar to traditional ICE vehicles, meaning opening up your shop to EVs through the installation of EV chargers is not as cumbersome as it seems. Routine ICE work like tire and wheel service, chassis and suspension maintenance, AC service, brakes, and even 12V battery testing and replacement, are all common repair needs for EVs as well. Adding an EV charging station is a great way to attract EV drivers as they seek these repairs.

“With the growing number of EVs hitting the roads and older models that are now out of OEM warranty, installing an EV charger is a sizable opportunity to attract new customers,” Hudnut says.

ASW: 2020 has been a hard year for many, due to unexpected costs stemming from COVID-19. Are EV charging stations expensive to install, and are there different options available?

JH: There are a variety of different options available to shop owners looking to install EV charging stations. Bosch EV charging stations, for example, are designed with service centres in mind. They are built to be easy-to-install, require near-zero maintenance, do not need to be updated or network connected, and can handle years of service. This allows the stations to be operated with very minimal cost.

On average, the cost of EV chargers has a wide range— from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars— depending on the needs of the shop or dealership. Bosch charging stations, for example, start at $690 and go up to $4,500. These stations all include a three-year warranty and are simple and inexpensive to install. They require no maintenance or network subscriptions.

The only ongoing cost to shop owners is the electricity, which is extremely minimal. For example, it only costs $1.80 to charge an average EV for two hours.

ASW: How is Bosch working with the aftermarket to educate shop owners on the importance of providing EV solutions to customers?

JH: Bosch EV charging stations and many other EV tools are now being offered through our existing sales partners. To support shop owners’ EV charging station installations, we offer various training and marketing materials to help explain the changes in technology and offer best practices.

On a broader scale, Bosch has also worked with a number of industry groups, such as the Electric Drive Transportation Association (EDTA) and SAE International, to help educate shop owners and other industry personnel on the importance of supporting EV technology.

ASW: What should shop owners look for when selecting an EV charging station for the shop?

JH: All level 2 AC EV charging stations fundamentally charge the vehicles in the same way. A 7.2kW charging station that has many features and controls will charge the vehicle in the same amount of time as a basic 7.2kW charging station.

The biggest consideration shop owners should make when selection a station is where it is installed and who will be using it. If the station is meant to attract customers, it will be utilized more often if it is open access, such as near the front of the shop. If it is meant to be used in a service area, it should have an increased environmental rating to protect against harsh conditions and to ensure its cables will remain pliable in freezing temperatures.

ASW: Are there any government rebate programs in place for Canadian shop owners who make the investment in an EV charging station?

JH: There are many rebates available throughout North America. These rebates can be offered federally, regionally, or even privately through local utilities. Since there are so many variables, the best resource to locate these is to search the government sites. In Canada, you can find more details via the National Resources of Canada website.

For more details on Bosch’s current list of EV products, click here.

 


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