What is a price made of and why are there big differences between prices?

In this first of a series of posts about price transparency, we will be

explaining what are charging prices made of.

Breaking down a typical price

  • CAPEX and fixed costs sales work, installation, material, station itself, authorisations, taxes
  • Energy cost fixed + consumption (drastically different between two countries).
  • OPEX roaming relation, billing
  • Marketing (website, newsletter)
  • CPO Margin
  • Hub margin
  • EMP Margin
  • Taxes

What does this list means, concretely? 

Some of these parameters are difficult to influence as a user: you cannot change the price of a charging station just before charging, for instance.

You need to focus on what you can influence, which is:

  • marketing:
  • CPO margins: you can choose a cheaper charging station around, but as we know, it is sometimes already difficult enough to find a charging station.
  • EMP margins: this is where you can be clever. Margins are often pretty low themselves, but this is what you can influence the most.

If you cannot make the EMP change their margins (if you can, please tell me how), you can choose an EMP which for a given CPO has a better price. You can call the EMP and ask them for instance with which CPOs they managed to negotiate the best prices, in which case they managed to close a deal without a middleman – effectively getting rid of the hub’s margin.

A hub or a platform is a service allowing CPO and EMPs to connect and allow roaming. If they tend to simplify relations between CPOs and EMPs at first, they are not free and the final price is more expensive as opposed to a direct CPO – EMP relationship.

It means that when you think that a price is too high, it is not because the CPO or the EMP wants to rip you off. It means that at some point in the value chain the price information or the EMP you used to charge at a given CPO is not the best one.

Indeed, there is no such thing as a universal best EMP  – at least not yet. Depending on your location, the car you are driving and sometimes even the time of day, a charging card can be the best or the worse choice.

Therefore, you are most probably right when you think that a price is too high, if you can find a much better price for the same level of service.

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