Charging 101: Stand-Alone vs. Network – Which EV Charger is Right for Your Business?

ev charger

Charging 101: Stand-Alone vs. Network – Which EV Charger is Right for Your Business?

For convenience store owners considering equipping their sites with electric vehicle chargers, the learning curve can seem daunting.

Charger types, site power requirements, and project costs are just a few of the topics savvy business owners want to understand before they offer drivers charging options.

One of the most pertinent subjects though is “networked” versus “stand-alone chargers.”

Of course, there are pros and cons to both approaches. Gilbarco’s e-Mobility team examined each, so you can determine which makes the most sense for your c-store.

Stand-Alone Chargers

Electric vehicle chargers without network access are often called “stand-alone chargers.” These allow safe and secure charging, without the hassle and recurring fees of a charging network. Often, site hosts install credit card readers on stand-alone chargers to receive payment from the public. This approach mimics the “pay-at-the-pump” experience consumers love and are familiar with.

Some hardware providers, such as Tritium, couple their equipment with software platforms that help sites monitor the health of their chargers. These platforms allow C-store owners to remotely manage their chargers, view detailed diagnostics and operational data, and generate insightful reports.

Stand-alone chargers usually have lower installation and ongoing costs, as activation and other recurring networking fees are not applicable.

In summary, stand-alone chargers give site-hosts total control of their charger, power, data, and profits.

Networked Chargers

An electric charger that is a part of a charging network and is managed with network software is referred to as a “networked charger.” Networked chargers come with additional components, such as SIM cards, which enable the exchange of financial, driver, and other sensitive data.

With network access, electric vehicle charges are equipped with capabilities that can be beneficial to drivers and site hosts. For example, many networked chargers can be located and reserved via a driver-facing app and offer summary reports for charging sessions. For site hosts, network access facilitates services such as scheduling, remote management, advanced analytics, energy management features, and 24/7 customer support.

C-store owners who choose this route have access to additional capabilities; however, sacrifice control of their charger and data, and must fork over on-going fees.

So which option is right for you?

As highlighted above, there are many factors that site owners should consider before deciding to install stand-alone or networked chargers at their sites. If you are contemplating this decision or others as you start your EV charging plans, we are here to help.

For over 155 years, Gilbarco Veeder-Root has been a market-leading solution provider and reliable partner for c-store and gas station owners.