Outdoor advertising has entered the EV charging points business or vice versa, as one may prefer. The mupi-charger or the charging station with digital screens or controlled by mobile apps have arrived to stay, opening the market to a wide range of business models. Charging points or apps also open the door to new operators coming from other sectors (technology, energy, mobility companies), but all of them runing on advertising as a direct or indirect source of income.
A business with a rosy future, that of recharging points for electric vehicles both with or without the added value of advertising, if one take for sure IEA (International Energy Agency) forecast, that estimates the number of electric vehicles around the world will reach the 125 million by 2030.
I have chosen just three business models running on advertising mupis with charging points for electric vehicles that in recent years have started deployment in shopping centers, parking lots and other places enjoying high people transit rates: that of Volta in the USA, the one of INV Grupo in Spain and the portable sun powered EV charging point with or without ad screens business of Envision Solar.
All of them offer users the chance to charge their electric vehicle batteries for free. All of them turn urban furniture into an incentive stron enough to attract consumers and increase their loyalty, no matter the content displayed on the digital screens of the EV charging mupi.
Volta Charging’s experience in the US
Volta, US company devoted to the design and deployment of EV charging points, has developed an advertising business model within the outdoor advertising segment, able to cleverly and massively push forward the penetration of electric vehicles thanks to the deployment of charging points netwoks providing EV battery charging for free.
The company has designed and patented mupi (urban furniture with digital screent for advertising display) providing an EV charging point compatible with all car models.
Volta assumes all costs, including that of the electric power supplied to users. It also carries out the complete installation of the stations, repairs and does the maintenace and provides the needed technical support. The company receives in return the advertising income generated by advertising displayed on the mupi screen.
Volta mupis feature 55 inch high resolution screens where the contents of the sponsoring partners are displayed, as well as messages of public interest for the community.
With a combination of data-driven forecasts and strategic partnerships, this technology company ensures top-level recharging points while offering a seamless, simple and free charging experience for drivers. Volta has managed to design a business model in the convergence of the needs of the owners of electric vehicles, property owners and brands.
The points of sale (shopping centers, restaurants, etc …) and other businesses with brick and mortar establishments need offering appealing services to attract high-level customers. Brands seek opportunities to differentiate themselves and stand out in a significant way in a saturated and increasingly competitive advertising market. Drivers want fuel at convenience and at the best price. By integrating a charging network intelligently built in the consumer journey, the business model developed by Volta is able to meet the needs of each one of the interested parties.
Volta selects where to install the charging stations using big data models to map current demand and predict its future growth. Up to date the company has been installing its mupis free charging stations mainly in malls and department stores.
The company has already deployed its charging points in nine of the twenty most important electric vehicle markets in the USA. It also carefully expands Volta networks with the aim of leading the local development of the electric vehicle charging market. Similarly, Volta adjusts the charging speeds of the stations in advance so that the on-site customer experience is the best possible.
The business of Volta seems profitable to the point of launching a new mupi designed in collaboration with the renowned European studio Kiska.
Established by Scott Mercer in 2010, Volta successfully completed in 2018 a $ 35 million Series C financing round led by Future Fund and Activate Capital in which praticipated as well both new US and European investors (GE Ventures, Orsted Venture, Nautilus Venture Partners, Idinvest) and some investors that had already taken a share in the company, such as Virgo Investment Group and Autotech Ventures.
With the money sourced in the latest C investment round Volta accumulated a total of $ 60 million in external financing for the development and expansion of their business.
Volta anticipates that its mupi network will soon operate accross their domestic country or at least in the top 10 media markets in the USA, besides Hawaii (their first launch market). Headquartered in San Francisco, Volta has now offices in New York as well.
The Eco Mupi Charger by INV Grupo in Spain
INV Group in Spain has developed a business model equal or extremely similar to that of Volta. This company headquartered in Leon (Spain) has designed and patented its own Eco Mupi Charger.
INV Grupo was born with the main objective of positioning themselves as a top operator in the electric mobility, IT, construction, and advertising sectolrs, in both their domestic and international markets.
Like Volta, INV Grupo udertakes the responisbility and assumes the costs of identifying the most suitable location to place the eco mupi chargers, installing themdo maintaining and repairing. The company also looks for the brands interested to place their ads or contents on the screens and manage all this stuff. INV Group earnings come from the advertising revenue generated by the mupis. Each charge of EV battery is for free.
But while Volta is mainly focused on the ad business and the EV mupi chargers, This is just one of the revenue lines of INV Grupo.The Spanish company brings together INV Grupo Publicidad, specialising in LED displays for digital signage located inside and outside shopping malls, chain stores, gaming and leisure rooms, airports, stations, hospital and health establishments, museums, educational centers, control centers and pharmacies.
Leaving aside INV Grupo Publicidad, the Spanish comapany has an electric mobility, IT, and a construction/real estate business. There are evident synergies between all of them that may well provide a strong suppor for the development of the eco mupi chargers revenue line.
A solar EV charging point with advertising digital screen that “does not need to be installed”
Also in the USA, the company Envision Solar “invented the wheel again” at the same time or almost at the same time as Volta did. But Envision Solar, added a clean energy and portable turn to the EV mupi charger. The carging point includes solar panels and storage for the electrical power generated by the sun. The charge of the EV battery may be for free or at a price.
Envision Solar explains that the EV ARC ™, this is the charging point commercial name, is able to generate in one day the electric power needed for an EV to travel up to 225 miles. In addition this solar recharging station is equipped with the EnvisionTrak ™ that allows the solar pannels follow the sun, like sunflowers do. This feature allows generating up to a 25% more electric power than solar panel with a fixed matrix.
The energy is stored in the EV ARC ™ device allowing EV recharge day and night, as well as provide emergency power in case of grid or electric network failure.
The EV ARC ™ offers a digital advertising connected platform open to brands for showing their advertising and contents on the large digital screens attached to the charging points.
The EV charging point is portable, so that it doesn’t need any installation works or permissions or licenses. This feature provides advantages over other mupis and EV charging points . No installation costs or bureaucracy are generated.Given that the charging points are portable they are especially suitable for ports.
A company called Charge Forward used Envision Solar’s EV ARC ™ in a pilot experience in the summer of 2017 at the Park City Center Mall under a business model identical to that of Volta and INV Grupo.
Envision Solar started trading on the NASDAQ this same year 2019. The company nevertheless has to date experienced just a little expansion outside their regional domestic market, California. They have numerous clients in San Diego and a nurtured stock of deliveries still in the pipeline for New York. The EV ARC is not the only product of this sustainable technology innovation company headquartered in San Diego and devoted to invent, patent, design, engineer and manufacture advanced renewably energized electric vehicle (EV) charging, outdoor media and energy security systems. Besides their patented EV ARC™, they commercialise the Solar Tree® product line.
Image over the headline.- The Volta EV charging mupi designed by Kiska. Image by courtesy of Volta.