PHOTO CAPTION: Fiat 500e electric car at Volta free charging station

Volta Offers Free Electric Car Charging

California startups business model has major corporate sponsors pay for the installation of public chargers that display advertising.

Published: 17-Jun-2015

Figuring out how to make public electric car charging profitable -without government subsidies - has been a challenge for many entrepreneurs, especially since EV owners have pretty much come to expect it to be free. Of course, that can't go on indefinitely. Increasingly, non-EV owning taxpayers resent it. And there is a point at which EV owners simply won't pay for the service, unless they have absolutely no other choice. So, how do you finance the equipment, the installation, the maintenance, and maybe the cheapest part of the package, the electricity itself?

The latest enterprise to offer a way forward is Volta, which just secured $7.5USD million to build out another 300 charging stations to its existing 100 station network. The key to their business model is what broadcasters have been doing since the invention of the radio: advertising sponsors. Self-service gas pumps have been utilizing on-pump video displays for years now, so this isn't a particularly new concept.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the company has lined up Whole Foods, Sungevity and the Oakland Athletics baseball team as sponsors, the aim being to build name recognition and brand loyalty among electric car drivers who tend to be younger and more affluent than their ICE-age car counterparts.

The latest funding round will enable Volta to expand its Level 2 network across San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix, and Honolulu.

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