EV Charging Progress, Holes, & Opportunities — ChargePoint Interview, Part 2

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In part 2 of this CleanTech Talk interview with Bill Loewenthal, Senior VP of Product at ChargePoint, we talk about EV charging progress, holes, & opportunities in the United States. What does the EV charging landscape look like at 50% EV market share? Listen in to get Bill’s expert opinion and a whole frunk full of facts.

I start off by asking Bill about his opinion on the current state of the “charging pyramid” (see graphic below), and how he sees that story changing as the EV market grows in the USA. As a quick intro or refresher, the charging pyramid basically makes the point that the majority of charging is done at home or work (where people’s cars are parked the most), a second tier of rather frequent charging is done at common destinations or “hot spots” (like Target, restaurants, parks, malls, and grocery stores), and the most infrequent charging is fast charging done on road trips.

Bill points out that one interesting and challenging thing about the EV charging market is that most people have no idea how many EV charging stations are nearby. EV drivers get on the PlugShare app or even just the ChargePoint app and find charging stations in the vicinity of their home, work, and common travel routes, but people who don’t yet have an EV don’t typically do that, probably don’t even know about PlugShare or ChargePoint, and don’t notice many (if any) of the stations they pass or live near. Increasing awareness of charging station infrastructure could go a long way in encouraging people to go electric.

Bill also points out that there is one particular challenge — providing charging for people who live in multi-unit residential properties. “That’s a hard challenge. In the sense of: you have rental and leased buildings where only a few percentage of a hundred or two hundred different apartments might have an EV right now, so it’s not on the priority list of the facility manager to bring EV charging there. And so, we work very actively with local, state, federal both policy building codes and other aspects to influence that; and then I think, increasingly, the commercial real estate entities realize they need to have this. And so, making sure people can charge at home — whatever type of home they live in — is incredibly important for this transition. What facility managers of workplaces, and parking operators, don’t realize is how fast their parking lots will change and be occupied with EVs. So, the rate of growth in those two environments is critically important.”

I also asked about what ChargePoint’s challenges are as the EV market gets more “mass market,” as more people buy EVs who haven’t looked at the charging infrastructure in detail — or at all — and need to be helped in a different way from the earliest of adopters. Bill highlighted the the fact that people have to wrap their mind around a totally different fueling system or habit of fueling than they are used to.

Bill also talked a bit about ChargePoint integration with new electric vehicles. For example, ChargePoint just got added to Android Auto, making it easier for an EV driver with Android Auto to navigate to a ChargePoint charging station.

“If you live or work at a place that has charging, your consideration to get an EV goes way up, 6x. That’s a US government actually research stat. … That’s why the workplace and multi=family platforms are so important to convert people to EV. … I think there’s a lot of great public–private partnerships coming together that recognize this.”

We also talked about the Plug&Charge charging model and how it is developing, as well as wireless EV charging and fast charging. We closed with a discussion of what makes ChargePoint special.

There’s much more discussed in the interview than what I summarized here, so check out the full recording via SoundCloud (embedded at the top of this article) or your favorite podcast network among these options: Anchor, Apple Podcasts/iTunes, Breaker, Google Podcasts, Overcast, Pocket, Podbean, Radio Public, SoundCloud, Spotify, or Stitcher. Also, be sure to not miss part 1 of this interview: “ChargePoint’s Role In Advancing The US EV Charging Market — Podcast.”

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