StarCharge is an established clean tech hardware supplier in global markets, building and selling products in the EV charging, energy storage, and inverter markets. They have a full line of EV chargers ranging from 40-80 amp AC home chargers and a host of DC fast charging offerings.
We sat down with their leadership team at RE+ in Las Vegas to understand where they’re coming from and more importantly, where they’re planning to go in the future. Right out of the gate, we learned that StarCharge has been deploying its hardware in the Chinese market for years, with 170,000 chargers deployed that push out 5 million kWh per day, supported by a team of 1,000 engineers in China.
StarCharge is unique in that it builds products for the entire clean technology ecosystem, from home AC EV chargers up to massive utility-scale energy storage systems and everything in between.
StarCharge has been working in the clean tech space for years and has built up its lineup of products for the global market. This year at RE+ almost felt like a massive coming-out party, with the StarCharge booth filled to the brim with its products for the home, utility-scale storage, and for charge point operators (CPO). In truth, Starcharge has been operating in the US for years, even joining CharIN back in 2017.
Energy Storage: LFP-based energy storage systems for the home, all the way up to containerized utility-scale systems.
DC Fast Chargers: The efficiency of StarCharge’s DC fast chargers under full load is 97%+ as required to qualify for NEMI funds.
Inverters: The hardware necessary to transform power from AC to DC and back.
OEM: StarCharge is already providing hardware to automotive OEMs to help them meet their commitments and goals without them having to design or build the hardware themselves. StarCharge currently boasts strategic partnerships with almost 60 OEMs around the world, including Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, BYD, BAIC, VinBus, and Volkswagen.
StarCharge has been ramping up its product line and production capacity for years now, with Schneider Electric jumping in as an investor in StarCharge’s Series A funding round back in 2020. Schneider Electric is not only a great backer for the company, but the partnership also opens up new channels and business partnerships for StarCharge as it makes its push into the US market.
Oil & gas: One of the key new markets StarCharge is targeting is gas stations. Hundreds of thousands of gas stations across the country are trying to figure out how to get their piece of the EV charging market, and StarCharge is moving in to fill the gap. Selling diesel and gas for service stations has largely been a loss leader to get customers into their convenience stores and restaurants. With EV charging taking more time than filling a tank of gas, the opportunity to rake in revenue from food, snacks, and drinks is that much larger.
Fleets: Deploying banks of EV chargers to recharge large numbers of fleet vehicles based on their specific needs requires finesse. Fleets of transit buses can easily sit overnight to recharge, while long haul trucks operators might want to get their vehicles back on the road after a short 15- or 30-minute government mandated driver break.
StarCharge’s wide range of products and team of more than 1,000 engineers puts it in a solid position to craft the perfect solution for each provider. It’s more than just hardware, as the full integration of a solution at a depot requires comprehensive energy management, including an understand of the financial implications of plugging 100 buses into DC fast chargers at the end of a shift.
Charge Point Operator Sales: StarCharge’s key value proposition is that it can deliver hardware that performs the same as competing solutions at a lower total cost. This makes it well suited for high volume applications, including direct sales to charge point operators (CPOs).
StarCharge’s team said they have no plans to operate their own charging network in the foreseeable future, but they’re more than willing to facilitate the implementation of new chargers for hotel chains, hospitality, commercial real estate, workplace, hospitals, and multi-unit dwellings by providing StarCharge hardware to existing CPOs.
For CPOs with existing hardware supplier relationships, StarCharge is pitching itself as a second supplier to mitigate any unforeseen supply chain issues in the supply of DC fast charging hardware and energy storage systems. After the supply chain madness caused by COVID over the last 3 years, the need for alternate suppliers has emerged as a critical backstop for many global companies.
To make the transition to StarCharge hardware as easy as possible, its hardware is all built to be software-agnostic, making it easy to white label its hardware to be sold or managed under other charge point operators. Its chargers can also be controlled and managed by smaller or new charge point operators because of their open charge point protocol (OCPP) compliant design.
Using this open standard makes it easy to integrate StarCharge’s EV chargers into any charging network without having to worry about being locked into proprietary software or protocols.
Local Supply Chain
Rolling in on the heels of the unprecedented localization incentives bundled in the US Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), StarCharge is aggressively moving into the US market, with its sights set on the rapidly expanding EV market in California. The company is in the process of finalizing a location for a local factory in the US, along with local sales & training teams in Southern California.
The US, while lagging in overall EV manufacturing and adoption rates compared to China and Europe, continues to be a lucrative market thanks to the hefty EV charging incentives bundled in the IRA. StarCharge is eager to get its piece of the pie and to help establish a functional, reliable public charging network for US drivers.
Offering an array of end-to-end solutions makes it a possible partner for OEMs looking for products they can bundle with vehicle sales to customers, for solar installers looking for hardware partners, for larger scale EPCs rolling out solar at the megawatt scale, charge point operators looking to ramp up faster than their production facilities are able to, and more.
For more information about StarCharge, head over to their website.
Disclaimer: StarCharge paid for a portion of the author’s travel expenses to attend RE+.
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