As a new Volt owner the first thing I did is check where are all the chargers in the Central Florida (Orlando) area. I was surprised to discover these are (for the most part) in all the WRONG PLACES. One is at a Domino's Pizza store (do you plan to be for more than 5 minutes when you pick up your pizza) and others at pharmacies (who spends more than 10-15 minutes at Walgreens)?
What I was surprised is the really obvious places are all missed. I found only three practical locations and all three have pricing issues: Florida Mall, Pointe Orlando, and Orlando City Hall. The mall is obvious, but at $3/hour for a charge, that's more like $12/gallon of gas for a Volt, I don't see anyone using it other than desperate Leaf/Ford EV owners. The same applies to Pointe Orlando, except there, adding insult-to-injury, they charge $3/hour to charge plus FULL garage parking fees. Finally City Hall, near restaurants and clubs. Fee isn't very generous (especially considering this location is like 50 feet from a power company building), but it beats night time parking rates downtown.
I did find a Buffalo Wings with a charger about 40 miles out of town, they got it right - encourage you to drain your battery to get there and then hang for 2-3 hours while charging to get back, love it. That's ONE done right.
What I am really surprised by how many people simply don't get it. Other than work or home, where would an EV owner spend hours a time? Simple, try places like:
3. Eating Out
4. Theme Park / Entertainment
The classic "dinner & movie" is typically a 3-4 hour affair that is perfect for 240v charging, as is 2-3 hour mall shopping spree or a 1-2 hour major groceries shopping. An 8 hour theme park visit would even handle 110v charging nicely.
Looking around Central, with our 100+ charging stations, this is what is MISSING:
1. Every Disney Theme Park (Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios)
2. Every Disney Water Park (Typhoon Lagoon, Blizzard Beach)
3. Every Disney Shopping Area (Downtown Disney - both sides and Pleasure Island)
4. Every Universal Theme Park / Shopping Area / Movie Theaters (Island of Adventure, Universal Studios, CityWalk)
5. Fashion Square Mall & its Movie Theaters
6. Altamonte Mall and related Shopping Area
7. East Orlando/Alafaya Shopping Area
8. Mall of Millenia (inc. IKEA, Millenia Plaza - BJs, Home Depot, Best Buy, etc.)
9. Lake Eola Downtown
10. Orlando International Airport (two off-sites have chargers though)
11. Every Major Restaurant (Dr. Phillips restaurant row comes to mind)
12. etc. etc. you can add Gyms, Bars, Supermarkets, etc. to this list. I think you get the idea.
My advise to business owners who wish to generate business, ESPECIALLY if you run a business that keeps people at it for over an hour (restaurant, mall, movie theater, bar):
1. Don't fall for those third-party companies wanting to charge thousands for chargers and making it such a costly investment that you will not recover anything for 10 years or more.
2. Buy a weatherproof consumer charger ($500-1000) or two
3. Pay an electrician to install it ($500-1000)
4. Mark the spots as EV only (remember motorcycle parking? same idea)
5. Don't charge, just as you don't charge parking (even if you pay rent for that space).
6. If you charge parking, that should cover it, DEFINITELY don't charge.
That's it! For a $1k per spot initial investment and a couple dollars a day in electricity (that's if multiple cars charge that day) you have some of the best advertising and new guest encouragement possible. Trust me, just like a motorcycle rider will ride 60 miles to some cheap restaurant in the middle of nowhere "because they have dedicated motorcycle spots man!" you will find that EV owners will frequent those places that make them feel welcome and give them a charge. That has to beat most current local advertising rates/return.
Well, this is just my personal observation. I could be wrong... there could be an entire segment of EV drivers who "live at Walgreens" and who thinks $12/charger are perfectly reasonable. But I haven't met them yet.
P.S. Worth noting that EPCOT had an EV1 on display for years and has always had displays highlighting future EV vehicles. You'd think they would have chargers, no?