Charge2Go, opening up the Australian electric vehicle charging market
As EV enthusiasts, the founders of Charge2Go were tired of hearing stories of EV owners suffering from range anxiety due to lack of charging infrastructure. After all, electric vehicles are selling like hot cakes: driven by a lack of global supply and strong consumer demand and driven by a renewable energy future, high gas prices and government incentives. Unfortunately, like any maturing “chicken and egg” industry, finding the right balance between chargers and users will always be a challenge.
Charge2Go is a new entrant in the world of electric vehicles and charging services. Co-founders Peter Geers, CEO, and Hung Phan (me), COO/CTO, have both worked in the energy industry for over 20 years. To combat range anxiety, Charge2Go created the AirBnB of EV chargers, unlocking the value of private chargers and making them more accessible, thereby enticing more chargers into the system. Modeling showed that a well-used charger could repay its purchase and installation in 1-2 years.
The Charge2Go platform is a service that allows companies or individuals who own or have access to a charger to list their charger on the platform and specify when it is available and how much they wish to receive for the service. It also allows them to promote their location, products or other nearby services to create an ecosystem around the charging location to entice people to use it. An EV user simply searches for a slot or type of charger and can then reserve a slot on that charger for the agreed service fee. Charge2Go connects the EV Host and the EV User via a transaction, and payment is made directly between the Host and the User.
Reasons for range anxiety stem from a number of industry challenges, including: coverage (where chargers are located), density (number of chargers available), reliability (chargers faulty), 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 today is both complex and overwhelming.
As more consumers choose an electric vehicle, pressure on the electric vehicle charging network will intensify. Federal and state governments have recognized this and have begun rolling out grants and policies to encourage the development of a world-class charging network. However, the founders of Charge2Go think that still won’t be enough.
According to ABS statistics, there were 20.1 million combustion vehicles registered as of January 31, 2021. If we assume that Australia successfully transitions to 100% electric vehicles over the next 10 to 20 years and that we use the ratio of 12.23 electric vehicles per public electric vehicle charger (current ratio in California), Australia will have to install 1.64 million EV chargers! (~8% of 20M vehicles). To put this into perspective, Australia currently has around 3,000 public chargers (~2,500 AC fast chargers and ~500 DC). It seems both expensive and potentially unnecessary if we can embrace better use of the charging network.
Imagine taking the family on an Easter trip in your brand new electric vehicle, the kids are hungry and tired as you pull into a charging lot along the way, joining dozens of other electric vehicle owners waiting in a queue. You then wait between 15 minutes and an hour to recharge while you try to entertain the family. Oh the joy! At Charge2Go, we believe experience matters most. We can’t change the physics of how fast you can charge, but we can offer the alternative of a charging host located near major highways, cafes, parks, and other nearby amenities that give you allow you to recharge while you relax and focus on other things. The load should not be the focal point!
Electric vehicle ownership will become the default preference for many consumers as choice and availability increase and prices fall. With many manufacturers ceasing production of combustion vehicles, we risk reducing the range of vehicles available to Australian consumers if we do not create a more positive narrative for electric vehicles and charger availability. Most 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 aims to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicle ownership by enabling access to charging anywhere and anytime. We want to make everything as simple as possible for the consumer. According to our research, many consumers are still concerned about the range of EVs, and if they venture off major highways and freeways, how do they locate chargers that are in use and not yet used?
Charge2Go sees host-user facilitation as a key platform service to build an active community, but is also exploring partnerships with automakers, retailers and businesses that can use the platform to showcase their products and services. So an automaker, for example, could showcase its latest offerings in its EV lineup or even provide vehicle reviews.
To participate in Australia’s first EV charger sharing network, go to charge2go.com.au to register.
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