More than two decades ago, Bookmans Entertainment Exchange was among the first businesses in Tucson to embrace EV technology when it purchased an early model EV for its fleet and installed charging stations at two of its locations.

Bookmans President Sean Feeney said demonstrating the company’s commitment to clean energy and the environment reinforced their brand and was well worth the cost of the emerging technology at the time.

“Being green has always been core to our business – it’s what we do,” said Feeney. An added benefit was that customers charging vehicles spent more time shopping.

Tucson Electric Power’s new Smart EV Charging program now makes it far more affordable for commercial customers to install EV charging stations on their premises.

Businesses, multi-family housing complexes, educational institutions and nonprofit agencies can receive rebates of up to 85 percent of the project cost to purchase and install two to six Level 2 or DC fast charging ports. The highest incentives are given to customers located in lower-income areas.

Businesses also can qualify for a federal tax credit of 30 percent of the cost of installing EV chargers up to $30,000, if installed by December 31, 2020.

“These new incentives will greatly offset the cost of installing EV chargers for businesses and help set them apart as innovative and sustainable leaders in the community,” said Dallas Dukes, TEP Vice President of Energy Programs & Pricing. “Having EV charging ports at a place of business can also help attract new customers and possibly lead to increased business and sales.”

In addition to the financial incentives, TEP’s Smart EV Charging program offers technical support and guidance through every step of way – from identifying appropriate charging locations, vendors and products to bidding, installing and evaluating the project. EV experts perform an on-site evaluation, propose an EV solution and then provide a list of vetted installers along with EV chargers that qualify for incentives.

“The program provides turnkey services to support customers every step of the way,” said Jessica Vega, Senior Program Manager for commercial energy efficiency programs. “We help customers understand their options and navigate a multi-step project so that it meets their needs, expectations and goals.”

Like Bookmans, Baymont Inn & Suites near Tucson International Airport installed seven Tesla chargers and 3 universal Level 2 ports about a year ago to support cleaner transportation and meet their sustainability goals while providing an amenity that gives them a competitive edge.

“First and foremost, it’s pure customer service,” said General Manager Shah Zeeshan. “We provide EV parking free to our customer. It’s an amenity that we offer to differentiate us from other hotels in the area. EVs are the next generation of new technology and we want to support it.”

By the end of 2022, TEP anticipates a total of 360 EV charging ports will be installed by hundreds of businesses as a result of TEP’s incentive program.

For those considering adopting EVs in their fleets or installing charging stations, Bookmans’ Feeney offers this advice: “Know your business. We knew adopting EV technology was a value proposition for us. While there are not a large number of EVs on the market now, it’s growing rapidly. If you look at those customers who are buying EVs, they can really enhance your business.”

TEP’s program is similar to those offered by other utilities nationwide in an effort to develop a charging infrastructure to support EVs. In addition to the EV Smart Charging program, TEP also offers residential customers incentives for the installation of home EV chargers as well as special residential EV rates. Our company is also helping schools, local governments and the Sun Tran transit system introduce EVs to their fleets.

Commercial customers interested in learning more about TEP’s Smart EV Charging program are invited to visit or call 520-745-3592.

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