EVgo, the nation’s largest public EV fast charging network, recently added several more executives as it undergoes a new growth phase. Jonathan Levy, VP for Strategic Initiatives at EVgo, answered some questions about the new staff for CleanTechnica.
You recently added three members: Ivo Steklac is to become CTO, Jay Goldman the VP of Business Development, and Olga Shevorenkova the new VP of Corporate Development and Strategy. Why did the company add them? Can you provide some sense of what they will bring to the company?
As you know, EVgo owns and operates the nation’s largest public network of fast chargers for electric vehicles (EVs), with more than 1000 direct current fast chargers (DCFCs) in 60+ markets across 34 states. No one has built more public fast chargers than EVgo, and with the EV market rapidly growing,EVgo is poised to scale and build more chargers even faster than before. That also means growing the team, which is why we’ve added Ivo, Jay, and Olga as senior leaders at EVgo, along with many other dedicated EVgoers from diverse backgrounds with tons of excitement and expertise to bring to the company.
What do an engineer, an EV industry veteran, and a banker have in common? That’s not the start of a joke, but rather a nice reminder that talented leaders from a multitude of industries are drawn to EVgo and its mission to enable mass adoption of electric vehicles across the country. Ivo, in true Chief Technology Officer fashion, is leading EVgo’s technology efforts from software and U/X to the specifications for the chargers themselves. Jay is leading our business development efforts with automakers, deepening relationships with existing partners and building bridges to new stakeholders looking to lead in transportation electrification. Olga is leading up analytical efforts broadly within the organization in addition to corporate development strategy. All three bring complementary skillsets and enthusiasm for working with the already talented and rapidly expanding EVgo team.
What is the company roadmap over the next 3-5 years?
EVgo plans to build on its leading market position by continuing the grow our public network of fast chargers in addition to building dedicated networks for select customers. The company intends to grow in size of team, footprint of chargers — both in markets and number of chargers in a given market — as well as throughput, and continue to expand access to the benefits of electric vehicles for more drivers. EVgo’s partnership with Maven Gig has demonstrated the economic benefits of electrification to ride share drivers, and we expect similar interest from medium and heavy-duty fleets as the momentum tips even further to mass EV adoption. EVgo will grow to support the needs of these exploding market opportunities.
How do you decide or predict how many new chargers to install, and where to install them?
Since EVgo has been building public charging infrastructure for about 8 years, the company has not only a first mover’s advantage but also a first learner’s advantage. EVgo has long believed that integrating charging into drivers’ everyday lives is critical, which is why we have hundreds of chargers across the country at places like Whole Foods, WalMarts, Simon Malls, and more. As owners and operators of our charging stations, we like to work with people and companies who make great partners, both because of the amenities they can offer to EV drivers and their commitment to the overall EVgo customer experience. We also use previous performance data and other insights to plan the next wave of charging infrastructure. With more than $100B in automaker capital investments in EV manufacturing over the next few years, we know that drivers want more EV charging just about everywhere, and EVgo works directly with automakers, property owners, utilities, policymakers, and other stakeholders to build them where and when they’re needed.
Is the company looking into second-life applications of used EV batteries to use in EV chargers?
As a matter of fact, EVgo won an Energy Storage North America Innovation Award for deploying 2nd life batteries at a UC-SD EVgo site back in 2016. Since then, EVgo has deployed additional 2nd life BMW i3 batteries at a fast charging station in Union City and will deploy more new and second-life energy storage systems at other EVgo locations.
It may be premature, but do you have a sense yet how much less it might cost to deploy used EV batteries for EV chargers, instead of using new ones? The purpose of using batteries at EV chargers is demand charge reduction, correct?
If so, what potential is there to re-purpose these batteries, especially now that there are more and more EVs being manufactured?
Batteries can have a great deal of benefits at EV chargers, including reducing demand charges and avoiding strain on the grid at periods of peak demand. There is still work to be done to ascertain how much less it will cost to deploy 2nd life batteries compared to new batteries. This is due to a few factors, including current supply availability, rapidly declining costs of new batteries, and more.
EVgo is currently gathering operational data from deployed 2nd life batteries and so far see no operational issues with the systems — they electrically look like new batteries. There is a lot of potential in this area for improvement, and EVgo will continue to work with automakers, battery manufacturers, integrators, and others to maximize the impact on our systems.
Image Credit: evgonetwork, Wikipedia, CC BY 2.0
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