The charging port-to-EV ratio: residential versus commercial

ClipperCreek ChargePoint EVSE (ChargedEVs)

You may have noticed that just about every electrical supply equipment manufacturer thrust into the home charging business as the EV market developed over the last few years. 

However, only a handful stuck their toes into the networked-public-charging pond – and some quickly decided that the water was too cold to swim in, and scaled back their efforts. That’s because the potential volume in the residential sphere (both single-family and multiple-unit) is much higher.

The residential market offers the possibility of selling one charger per vehicle, or maybe even two – some European brands offer a pair of chargers with each car, one for work and one for home. 

Currently, the total number of plug-in vehicles in the US is about 300,000, and, presumably, the number of installed residential, and other non-networked, Level 2 chargers is somewhere approaching that number, at a 1-to-1 ratio. On the other hand, there are about 28,500 commercial networked ports in the US, a ratio of around 10-to-1.

The percentage of BEV and PHEV buyers that install Level 2 charging at home varies a bit, but many believe the numbers will merge as they trend closer to one residential EVSE for every plug-in vehicle.

“With PHEVs, there’s a larger percentage of people that are only using the Level 1 travel cord, but it’s changing,” ChargePoint CEO Pasquale Romano told Charged. “I think eventually, almost everyone that can put a Level 2 in their home, will. Once you’ve tried one, you can’t live without it.”

So why did ChargePoint take what seems to be the opposite approach of most EVSE makers – focusing on public charging and only recently announcing a big push into the residential market?

“As a company, you have to pick where you spend your time and money,” said Romano. “We felt that the biggest impediment to people buying plug-in vehicles was a lack of public infrastructure. So we focused on that bigger problem. As we all know in this industry, if we can’t get more people driving EVs, the rest of it doesn’t really matter.”