Electric Vehicle Service Provider Networks and Market Distortions


The authors discuss the potential for market distortions in the market for plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) charg-
ing infrastructure. While existing market conditions give no indication that anti-competitive market distortions
will emerge, the authors explore a worst-case future scenario where the emergence of regionally dominant
firms pave the way for market distortions such as anti-competitive pricing, high switching costs, and access
barriers. The authors first analyzed market developments in two regulated, more mature industries: automated
teller machine (ATM) networks and mobile telephones. Anti-competitive pricing could take the form of high
foreign fees for non-member transactions on electric vehicle service provider (EVSP) networks, or monopoly
pricing to members. High EVSP network switching costs for PEV charging infrastructure owners and mem-
bers could reinforce the regionally dominant firm’s position. Access barriers, primarily a lack of information
about PEV charging infrastructure, could lead to suboptimal PEV infrastructure utilization, harming site hosts,
owners, and consumers. Inter-network transactions, a potential competitive response by non-dominant EVSP
networks, gives rise to a new set of considerations. The authors conclude with contract and policy recommen-
dations for local governments, site hosts, and PEV charging infrastructure owners to mitigate the risk of future
market distortions.

Keywords: electric vehicles, charging infrastructure, markets, policy