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Wen / Muzi
Source: understand notes (ID: Dongdong_ note）
There was no wind. Under the scorching sun, three charging piles stand alone in a corner of the square. Only one private car is charging. The silver white body and the scorching sun set off each other, steaming the irritating heat.
There was no shade around, but Mr. Zhao, the owner of the car, endured the heat wave and asked the administrator carefully with his mask. He could hear a few words, such as 20% discount, 60% discount, 1.5% discount, pre charge, etc
Mr. Zhao has just moved to a residential area near the SEG square in Huizhou, where charging is only three or four times. What he consulted today is mainly about the details of charging pile handling member recharge. He is most concerned about saving money and trying to save some charging fees.
In fact, with the same anxiety, there are many private charging station operators like SEG Plaza. They are facing not only the decreasing number of new energy vehicle owners charging, but also the declining sales of new energy vehicles and the increasing operating costs. In Huizhou, Guangzhou and more cities, many charging station operators are trying their best to survive the hot “cold winter”.
Cash flow is tight, pre recharge rescue
“For private companies like us, cash flow is the lifeblood.”
Zeng Jian is a small shareholder of a new energy equipment investment enterprise in Guangzhou. He told him to understand notes, in the real industry of heavy asset operation, private companies need to have sufficient cash flow to support the normal operation of charging pile station.
Under the influence of the recent epidemic situation, the travel demand of car owners has been greatly reduced, and the charging frequency of new energy vehicles has also been significantly reduced. This has greatly affected the daily operation and maintenance of private charging enterprises with limited scale and strength.
“You know that when the owners charge less times, the electricity cost of the site is reduced. But the expenditure of manpower and rent will still cause greater pressure on enterprises. ” In order to obtain sufficient cash flow, the charging stations invested by Zeng Jian’s enterprises all launched the pre charging membership system in May.
The so-called pre charged membership system, that is, users become site members by pre charging electricity charges and enjoy preferential charging charges. At present, the content of the activity is that members can enjoy 50% discount if their pre charge amount is more than 300 yuan.
“Take the DC fast charging as an example. Originally, the service charge per kilowatt hour was 1.2 yuan, and the pre charging and membership discount was 80.4 yuan. If you charge more, you can get 50% off, which is 60 cents.” The same is spent 300 yuan, pre charged members can be more than ordinary users charge nearly Baidu power.
Therefore, as soon as the member recharge activity was launched, it attracted many car owners to recharge and become members. Zeng Jian told understand notes that under the epidemic situation, consumers’ travel demand is low, but as long as they charge once, most of them are attracted by high discounts and pre charged member discounts.
“Recently, we have also eased the operating difficulties, especially the cash flow problem, by prepaid recharge.” Zhang Yuyang, the boss of a private enterprise that has built six charging stations in Huizhou, also launched similar activities. He told him to understand the notes that the company has launched charging discount activities for recharging in the past. In fact, there have been many charging stations in the past, and he just made the best of the discount.
In the past, some charging pile stations had a small discount, which led to the user’s desire to recharge was not very great. At most, it was how much to use and how much to recharge. “But at present, many private charging stations generally offer larger recharge discounts, which are basically maintained at more than 30% discount, which is very attractive.”
When asked whether the charging station will suffer losses with such a low charging discount, Zhang Yuyang said with a smile: the loss must be a loss. His team has calculated an account. If the recharged members come to charge, the company will pay 0.12 yuan per kilowatt hour on average.
“Don’t think that the cost of charging station is only electricity charge. Personnel cost, equipment depreciation and maintenance cost sharing are all operating costs.” And his company is now doing a loss making business for cash flow. “With the user’s pre recharge, the company can continue to pay staff salaries and site rent.”
As for the deficit of operating losses, he said that in the future, he could only earn back by continuing to attract members to recharge and find ways to earn back in the follow-up operation. “After all, the current difficulty of private charging stations is due to the impact of the epidemic, and the number of car owners who come to charge is reduced. In the future, the market demand for (charging pile) will explode.”
According to relevant public data, there will be about 4 million charging piles in China by 2020 due to the uneven distribution of charging pile stations. Therefore, Zhang Yuyang is still full of confidence in the future of the industry.
“It will certainly be difficult for a while, but if we can carry this ridge, the demand will certainly come up.”. Zhang Yuyang said this “ridge” refers to the plight of the continued decline in new energy vehicle sales.
According to the latest data released by China Automobile Industry Association, in May 2020, domestic sales of new energy vehicles were 82000, a year-on-year decrease of 23.5%; from January to may, 289000 vehicles were sold, a year-on-year decrease of 38.7%.
Affected by the low sales of new energy vehicles, the market layout of charging pile stations has also slowed down. According to the data released by China charging alliance, the number of public charging pile infrastructure in February this year was 531000 units, with an increase of almost zero compared with January this year.
For many operators of private charging pile stations, the premise of achieving high-speed development in the future is to survive under the influence of the current epidemic situation and travel demand downturn.
To B is more profitable than to C
“People can lower the price if they have a discount for recharging. I want to increase the price of charging. We won’t do it for members to recharge.”
On the topic of self-help and survival of enterprises, Jiang Chao, who has just invested in two charging stations in Dongguan, said that some private charging stations now attract customers to pre charge through discount in order to increase cash flow. However, they didn’t plan to reduce the fees and attract money. Instead, they raised the service charge for charging, from 0.5 yuan per kilowatt hour to 0.8 yuan.
The reason is that the company’s business focus has shifted to B end. Jiang Chao said that due to the epidemic situation, the charging frequency of ordinary users has decreased. After discussion, the company decided to simply give up the “business” of ordinary users. In his view, charging business for ordinary users will not be easy to do in the future.
“The market competition is fierce, and the management of users is also very difficult. Our charging station used to offer two hours of free parking for charging. However, many car owners can fully charge their cars in less than an hour, but they occupy parking spaces and do not move their cars for half a day. ” Jiang Chao revealed: similar to the catering industry, charging stations also pay attention to walking volume and “platform turnover rate”. In a specific period of time, the more vehicles are charged, the lower the shared cost of charging pile.
However, too many car owners in the charging station do not move the car after charging, and the problem of overtime space occupation is very common. Once the timeout takes place, it will affect the admission of other users. “If each car has been parked for two hours, a single charging point port can only charge 12 vehicles at full capacity every day, but some cars stop for several hours.” Jiang Chao said frankly that even if the company has introduced the system of making up for overtime and occupying space, it will be very difficult to implement it.
Not to mention whether the station has the right to punish, once the user is offended by the demand for supplementary payment, it will also affect the reputation of the charging station. As a result, they simply raised the charge for charging service, and turned ordinary car owners out of the door with a “price increase.” as soon as a frugal car owner sees the increase in fees, he will naturally not come to charge
Before that, the company began to actively explore the business of institutional customers. Since the beginning of March, the company’s marketing personnel have been closely contacting institutional customers around the charging station, such as group rental cars and environmental sanitation outsourcing enterprises, hoping to provide low-cost charging services for commercial new energy vehicles.
At present, he and his team are actively negotiating with some bus companies and car rental companies for charging cooperation. “Commercial pure electric vehicles demand much more electricity than cars, and they don’t occupy much space. After all, they are all operating vehicles, and they will drive away when they are fully charged or 80% of the electricity is supplied. ”
Even though the charging charge is low, the operating profit is still considerable depending on the walking volume and fixed cooperation mode. Jiang Chao told understand notes that the company will not expand new stations this year, but will still invest money to replace some charging equipment to meet the higher charging voltage demand of commercial vehicles.
“Under the epidemic situation, ordinary car owners will reduce their outdoor activities, but commercial vehicles will still have to operate.” Next, he also plans to reach a cooperation with online car Hailing intermodal transport agencies to attract online car Hailing drivers to come for charging. “Some online car hails are charged twice a day, and they have to do business, so they won’t take up seats over time.”
Jiang Chao said frankly: compared with the “national team” in the charging station, the private charging station has limited funds and can’t invest endlessly and burn money to subsidize the station’s losses. Once there are operating losses, we should try our best to maintain cash flow. At present, all business changes and adjustments are for profit.
It may be the best choice for some private charging stations to provide charging services for commercial vehicles. But once they face the competition from the national team, how long can they hold on?
Small charging station anxious to find “New Dad”
“Our company recently launched a promotional campaign through the official account, which means that the owners can enjoy preferential treatment if they can improve their information.”
Zhou Li is the marketing manager of a new energy charging operation company in Shenzhen. She told understand notes, because the company’s charging pile stations are mostly located near scenic spots and large venues, users charging frequency is low. Since the end of last year, the company’s operating conditions began to decline. In addition, due to the sudden drop in the flow of scenic spots affected by the epidemic, the charging station soon fell into difficulties.
Fight to win or die, then, was announced in early April, giving notice to users who are concerned about the official account that “perfect information can be offered and offered”.
“As long as users improve their mobile phones, vehicles and other information, they can get 100 yuan charging coupons.” There is no threshold for the use of this coupon, whether it is pre charged or ordinary charging users can enjoy the deduction. Zhou Li said that in the face of business difficulties, the company still makes such a large margin of preferential activities, which is incredible in the eyes of many people.
“The reason why we do this promotion is to find” Dad “for the charging station.” Zhou Li disclosed that through the collection and improvement of user information, it can be used as the capital for seeking new institutional investment or merger and acquisition of its charging station. “In fact, the information of many car owners is very valuable to the charging pile station.”
For example, the vehicle brand and model can be used to infer the purchase and service life of the vehicle owner; while the charging frequency can be used to infer the purpose of the vehicle, such as daily work commuting, or the second car at home; by checking the purchase date of the owner, you can also know the relevant situation of vehicle insurance renewal.
“Therefore, in looking for the direction of investment and M & A, the company mainly wants to contact big dealers of new energy vehicles or insurance institutions with certain financial strength.” Zhou Li frankly said that for car dealers, they can increase the service premium by investing in charging stations. For insurance institutions, they can obtain a large number of important information of new energy owners and provide corresponding financial services in a timely manner.
“To put it bluntly, after all, the company is small in scale, with low valuation and low pricing. At the beginning, it tried to find a repair chain, but the maintenance of new energy vehicles is usually in 4S stores. It took me many times to figure out the rules. ”
As for the size of her organization, Zhou Li frankly said that she could not afford to spend a few million yuan in this business. “After all, charging stations are asset heavy operations, and ordinary private enterprises and entrepreneurs are hard to control.” This is also the main reason why her company in the early days of its establishment mainly concentrated in scenic spots and suburban venues for charging stations. “Many small and medium-sized charging pile stations are located in remote places because the site rent is low.”
Low cost, but also restricts the development of small and medium-sized charging stations. For small-scale private charging enterprises, after the sudden attack of “black swan”, it may be the best choice to find powerful large-scale enterprises to invest and merge.
Three years ago, many private enterprises and entrepreneurs rushed to join the construction and operation of charging pile station when the new energy industry rose. For these enterprises, the early policy support and financial subsidies have indeed accelerated their development process. However, the charging pile and new energy infrastructure are assets operation after all. Many private enterprises and entrepreneurs find that these “supports” can only satisfy their hunger and thirst after they actually operate the charging station. Only by finding a way to make profits as soon as possible can they realize long-term business development.
For many small-scale, general strength of private charging station, this sudden epidemic really makes them who are exploring profit model worse. At present, whether it is to grasp the cash flow or to find the market gap, it is necessary to put the charging pile station into practice quickly so as to “keep the green hills” before the economic recovery.
(statement: This article only represents the author’s point of view, not Sina’s position.)