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Ad-sponsored Free Charging from Volta - up to 930 stations

I had been keeping an eye on this company, and happy to see that they seem to be growing well in their space. The owners are huge advocates for EVs and their model may help build out a lot more charging stations across the US. Being able to charge for free is a great bonus. I haven't actually had an opportunity to use one of their stations, but they look nice. I'll have to plan for a trip to the Oakbrook Mall near Chicago where they seem to have them spread out around the parking lot.

Volta: Staking A Different Path Among EV Charging Networks | CleanTechnica
 

mociaf9

Active Member
Oct 18, 2018
3,216
6,714
CA
I expect their model to crash and burn, just like every other attempt to give away something for free. The dregs of society make sure it is so.
Including other such well known financial failures like Google, Facebook, the companies paying to put in benches at bus stops, and a host of others in the ad-delivery-company-masquerading-as-free-service space.

I too am dubious of Volta's model, but their business isn't "giving away something for free". The people getting the free service are the product, not the customers.
 

SageBrush

REJECT Fascism
May 7, 2015
13,271
18,035
New Mexico
Including other such well known financial failures like Google, Facebook, the companies paying to put in benches at bus stops, and a host of others in the ad-delivery-company-masquerading-as-free-service space.

I too am dubious of Volta's model, but their business isn't "giving away something for free". The people getting the free service are the product, not the customers.
Your analogy is poor because Google and Facebook retain control of the means. Look up Newsgroups for a better example, or read up on 'the tragedy of the commons."
 
Just used a Volta Charging station and it was a breeze. Didn't even need to check in on the app. Just plug in.

My view is for Volta's Business model is:

Property owners pay for instillation (biz gets captured business for at least 2 hours)
Volta gets ad revenue- might split ad revenue with property is property pays electric bill
2 hr charge cost at L2 speeds is what $1.50? It's not that hard to recoup a $1.50 an hour in ads.
If the station is empty it's pure profit at that point. (the ads can be seen across the parking lot. It's at least 10 ft tall billboard)
 

brkaus

Well-Known Member
Jul 8, 2014
8,507
7,141
Austin, TX
Just used a Volta Charging station and it was a breeze. Didn't even need to check in on the app. Just plug in.

My view is for Volta's Business model is:

Property owners pay for instillation (biz gets captured business for at least 2 hours)
Volta gets ad revenue- might split ad revenue with property is property pays electric bill
2 hr charge cost at L2 speeds is what $1.50? It's not that hard to recoup a $1.50 an hour in ads.
If the station is empty it's pure profit at that point. (the ads can be seen across the parking lot. It's at least 10 ft tall billboard)

Thanks for the insight. Didn't realize the things were so big. Yes, it sounds like it is a play to get space to sell ads.

Anyone look up how much those companies that sell "captive audience" poster ads for business restrooms pay the businesses?
 
Volta has at least 8 stations in the Alderwood Mall area in Lynnwood WA. They seem to be busy all the time, EVs are very popular there. However, two points, There is a 2 hour limit and the Signs are big enough to attract attention. While the cost of installation might be hard to recoup, operationally, if the maintenance actions are minimal ( new cords etc) then the business model might work. The ones in this mall are located near the entrances to major tenants
 
Volta's business model is all about the advertising revenue, but with a twist. Normally, a digital out of home advertiser would pay for all the equipment, install and maintenance costs, and then provide a significant percentage of the ad revenue to the city or transit authority for the right to put the display there. Clear Channel, JC Decaux, Outfront, and Intersection all do this.

In this case, Volta while also covering the cost of the charger, installation, maintenance and pays for the electricity, since they are working on behalf of and on the property of the actual advertising clients, there is more of a quid-pro-quo and Volta can actually keep more of the revenue. Maybe the mall owners will still get a piece, but they are also benefiting for their property and their tenants.

Volta has secured a lot of funding, so I am sure they have shown the investors a profitable business model. I hope they can succeed since I would love to see more EV only spaces and free charging, even if it only adding 20 miles per hour.

I only hope someone will police when an ICE vehicle takes up an EV only space.... that has become my #1 pet peeve.
 
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David99

Active Member
Supporting Member
Jan 31, 2014
4,912
7,367
Nomad (mostly US)
They have been around for a while and growing. I was very skeptical 5 years ago, too when I used them first. Now I see them a lot in California. So their business model must work somehow. I bet the local businesses are chipping in as well. Maybe by just providing the parking spot for free.
It is undeniable that EV owners will look out chargers and especially free chargers. Now they are 'stuck' at that place for a while and might go to one of the local shops/restaurants.
 
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