As EV enthusiasts, the founders of Charge2Go got tired of hearing stories of EV owners suffering range anxiety due to the lack of charging infrastructure. After all, electric vehicles are selling like hot cakes: driven by a lack of global supply and high consumer demand and motivated by a renewable energy future, high petrol prices, and government incentives. Unfortunately, like any maturing “chicken and egg” industry, getting the right balance between chargers and users will always be a challenge.
Charge2Go is a new entrant into the world of electric vehicle and charging services. Co-founders Peter Geers, CEO, and Hung Phan (me), COO/CTO, have both been in the energy industry for over 20 years. To combat range anxiety, Charge2Go has created the AirBnB of EV chargers, unlocking the value of private chargers and making them more accessible, thereby incentivising more chargers to the system. Modelling has shown that a well utilised charger could pay back its purchase & installation within 1–2 years.
The Charge2Go platform is a service that allows businesses or individuals who own or have access to a charger to list their charger on the platform, and specify when it’s available and how much they want to receive for the service. It also allows them to promote their location, products, or other services in the vicinity so they can create an ecosystem around the charging location to attract people to use it. An EV user simply searches for a location or charger type and can then book a slot on that charger for the agreed service fee. Charge2Go matches the EV Host and EV User via a transaction, and payment occurs directly between the Host and User.
The reasons for range anxiety stem from a number of industry challenges, including: coverage (where chargers are located), density (the number of chargers available), reliability (faulty chargers), compatibility (many plug types, charging speeds, and vehicles), and fragmentation (many players with their own proprietary software and payment systems). As you can imagine, the customer experience currently is both complex and overwhelming.
As more consumers choose an EV, the strain on the EV charging network will intensify. Federal and state governments have recognised this and started rolling out grants and policies to encourage development of a world-class charging network. However, the founders of Charge2Go believe this will still not be enough.
According to the ABS statistics, there were 20.1 million registered combustion vehicles as of 31 Jan 2021. If we assume that Australia successfully transitions to 100% EVs over the next 10–20 years and use the ratio of 12.23 EVs per public EV charger (current ratio in California), Australia will need to install 1.64 million EV chargers! (~8% of 20M vehicles). To put things into perspective, Australia currently has approximately 3,000 public chargers (~2,500 AC and ~500 DC fast chargers). This seems both costly and potentially unnecessary if we can adopt better utilisation of the charging network.
Imagine taking the family on an Easter road trip in your shiny new EV, the kids are hungry and tired as you pull into an en-route charging parking lot joining scores of other EV owners waiting in a queue. You then wait anywhere from 15 mins to an hour to charge while you try to entertain the family. Oh the joy! At Charge2Go, we believe the experience matters the most. We can’t change the physics of how fast you can charge, but we can offer the alternative of a charger host located off the main highways, nearby cafes, parks, and other amenities that allow you to charge while you relax and focus on other things. Charging shouldn’t be the focal point!
EV ownership will become the default preference for many consumers as choice and availability increase and prices come down. With many manufacturers ceasing production of combustion vehicles, we risk reducing the range of vehicles available to Australian consumers if we don’t create a more positive narrative for electric vehicles and the availability of chargers. More importantly, we don’t want to confuse consumers with complex charging arrangements, proprietary systems and regulations that will delay the adoption and transition to electric vehicles. Consumers and businesses don’t need uncertainty in this space.
Charge2Go is focused on accelerating the adoption of electrical vehicle ownership by enabling access to anywhere, anytime charging. We want to make everything as easy as possible for the consumer. From our research, many consumers are still concerned about the range of EVs, and if they venture off the main freeways and highways, how do they locate chargers that are in service and not already in use?
Charge2Go sees the facilitation between Host and User as a key platform service to build an active community, but is also investigating partnerships with vehicle manufacturers, retailers, and businesses who can use the platform to showcase their products and services. So, a vehicle manufacturer for example could showcase their latest offerings in their EV range or even provide vehicle reviews.
To participate in Australia’s first EV charger sharing network, please visit charge2go.com.au to sign up.
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