ChargePoint CEO On Tesla Superchargers & The Future Of EV Charging

NOV 30 2018 BY EVANNEX 36

CHARGEPOINT CEO TALKS ABOUT TESLA SUPERCHARGERS AND THE FUTURE OF EV CHARGING [VIDEO]

ChargePoint is one of the world’s largest EV charging networks, with over 57,000 public chargers in several countries. The company’s CEO, Pasquale Romano, has been involved with public charging since the days when only a handful of people knew such a thing existed. Like Elon Musk, he’s ignored the doubters and naysayers, and built a successful and rapidly growing business.

*This article comes to us courtesy of EVANNEX (which also makes aftermarket Tesla accessories). Authored by Matt Pressman. The opinions expressed in these articles are not necessarily our own at InsideEVs.

Above: Tesla Model 3 and Model S using ChargePoint (Image: ChargePoint)

Romano sat down with EV writer Jim Motavalli at the recent Web Summit conference for a wide-ranging interview. The two start their discussion by marveling at the accelerating growth of the EV market – in California, plug-ins now make up 5% of new-car sales, and in Silicon Valley it’s fast becoming a social faux pas to show up at a party in a gas burner. Romano highlights the importance of workplace charging – across the US, drivers who enjoy the opportunity to charge at work are six times more likely to buy an EV.

ChargePoint is beginning to deploy chargers capable of charging at 800 volts, which means a vehicle could add 250 km of range in about 10 minutes. Motavalli notes that this sounds like a major tipping point – charging an EV can now be almost as fast as gassing up a fossil-powered ride. In addition, the company just raised $240 million Daimler, BMW, Chevron and others to help expedite the buildout of its EV charging infrastructure.

Above: ChargePoint has big plans for fast charging (Image: ChargePoint)

In Romano’s interview, some of his most interesting comments have to do with Tesla’s Supercharger network. Tesla created its own proprietary charging standard because it was unwilling to wait for the rest of the industry to catch up. Romano says that, while the ultimate goal is to have a uniform standard for all automakers, Tesla made the right decision at the time.

“If I were Tesla, I probably would have done the same thing in building out a charging network when they did, because they were highly dependent on that, and the rest of the world was just not getting off the blocks fast enough,” says Romano. “Now they’ve proven that, if you take away that buying objection [charging], you can have a very high-demand car.”

Above: ChargePoint CEO Pasquale Romano sits down with Jim Motavalli to discuss his views on the future of EV charging (Youtube: Web Summit)

Romano is optimistic about the future of vehicle autonomy, which he believes will reduce the cost of living in several ways. He also has some interesting comments about wireless charging, which he sees as just “a different cable.” He points out that ChargePoint is focused on software and the customer interface. “Our biggest value add is not…hardware. What we care about is, from a driver perspective, how we make it easy to find, access, pay for stations…all of the software problems associated with managing the charging ecosystem.”

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Written by: Charles Morris; Source: Web Summit

*Editor’s Note: EVANNEX, which also sells aftermarket gear for Teslas, has kindly allowed us to share some of its content with our readers, free of charge. Our thanks go out to EVANNEX. Check out the site here.

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36 Comments on "ChargePoint CEO On Tesla Superchargers & The Future Of EV Charging"

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CDAVIS

Seems ChargePoint’s CEO is on point about importance of overall positive customer experience when it comes to access to a fast charge network… getting it substantially built and going forward maintained will hopefully follow.

The average car consumer (non-early EV adopter) is not going to switch from ICE to EV without access to a robust convenient and reliable fast charge network for those occasional long distance trips.

That’s way to-date the only practical EV’s for average car consumers are the Chevy Volt (soon being discontinued by Chevy) and all Tesla models (premium price aside).

It’s good that alternatives to Tesla’s fast charge network are being installed but it will likely be another 3-4 years for those networks to be sufficiently robust and normalized (less fragmented) for the average car consumer.

marshall

I don’t think the lack dc chargers are that much of an issue. Many families have two or more vehicles.

The issues are cost, the vehicles haven’t gone the distance yet, and the lack of workplace charging with charging rates equivalent to or less then the cost of gas.

To improve the sales of EVs, the federal goverment should allow the tax credit to be carried over to subsequent years, and states should levy a two to five dollars tax a year to provide money for grants to install workplace chargers.

CDAVIS

@marshall said: “I don’t think the lack dc chargers are that much of an issue. Many families have two or more vehicles…”
—————-

Early EV adopters that happen to have an ICE car backup and don’t mind the occasional inconvenience of range management vis-à-vis car swapping is not your average Joe. I’d argue that the average Joe wants to be able to make a long distance trip in their car anytime hassle free… period.

Martin Winlow

Allow me to contradict you, then (you know, as an EV owner-driver of some 8 years!). CDAVIS’ assessment is spot on. Not everyone has the luxury to be able to afford 2 cars and the price of good, used EVs makes buying one an affordable option, now, for any motorist. The problem for many is; where can I charge? If you can’t charge at home (or work) you are pretty much stuffed unless you are lucky enough to be able to work a weekly visit to a rapid charger into your lifestyle. That’s why a strategic rapid charging (50kW+) network is *absolutely essential* for mass EV adoption. Anything else simply will not work.

wavelet

2-vehicle households are rare outside the US, and not the usual case. They’re mostly unjustified in environmental and externalized-costs terms. The vast majority of families with two vehicles could manage very well with one that’s capable of transporting the family on long trips and serving as a commuter for one person, plus some combination of mass transit & 2-wheeled vehicles (bicycle, e-bicycle, electric scooter (not the stand up tiny-wheels kind, the Vespa kind).

Brian

Unfortunately, it will also likely be another 3-4 years before other manufacturers produce enough cars across enough segments to appeal to the average consumer. At least the timelines appear aligned.

Chad Kipper

New residential home construction will eventually need to be updated for multiple electric car homes. Including the ability to provide more than Level 2 charging in the home. Consumers are going to want a home supercharger.

TM3x2 Chris

I personally could care less about the home supercharger. Charging cars overnight is good enough for daily driving. Whether the car is charged in 1 or 5 hours doesn’t matter to me when I sleep.

Will

Chris, you may find this somewhat amusing and possibly enlightening!

https://youtu.be/om7O0MFkmpw?t=74

TM3x2 Chris

LOL, I couldn’t care less.

Do Not Read Between The Lines

No.
For so many reasons.

Apartment building construction will be more affected.

Brian

Doubtful. It’s much cheaper (and more grid-friendly) to simply install more L2.

ga2500ev
I think the divide becomes a bit more murky when medium speed DCFC in the 20-40 kW range comes along. There is pretty much a convergence of features that almost all future EV models will share. This include range at or above 200 miles, and the ability to fast charge via a DCFC port. Presumably there will be multi-car EV familes each with cars with those specs. A couple of nuggets shake out in that situation: each car will likely not need to charge overnight each and every night, and that if L2 is the limitation, that depending on the number of EVs, there may be a need for 2,3 or more EVSEs at home to charge them. The electrical capacity to service such a mini-fleet will likely be between 20-30 kW. Given the cost, electrical capacity, and usage patterns, medium speed DCFC could be a good alternative. A 24 kW DCFC at home would required only a single 125 A circuit @ 240 volts. That 24 kW DCFC can fill nearly half of the capacity of a 60-64 kWh battery in about an hour, recovering close to 100 miles of range in that timeframe. As such it would be… Read more »
Rasmus Christensen

Why would they ?. When its all rolled out, one can just drive around the block and juice up if in a hurry with low SOC.
That said if prices where lower on the chargers its a different story. Where I live 63a isn’t an issue but it will cost roughly 10.000 dollars in fee’s plus all materials and work needed.

REXtoCheckMate

Yes, that’s nowhere but California.
It’s far easier to drive home and plug in in your garage.

REXtoCheckMate

Well, SMART Contractors who want to sell homes will do this.
Smart contractors would also be building Solar Standard, and Zero Energy Homes as a standard feature.

But, look what’s actually getting built?
Dumb as F McMansions, McMansions “designed” by a builder using AutoCad, that turn the home into that “classy” mausoleum McMansion style.
Going cheap by not using an Architect, you wonder how these guys stay in business, seriously.

This is one industry RIPE for disruption.
If Google, Amazon or Tesla want an EASY KILLING this is the field.

dan

Level 3 charging at home is exactly the kind of thing a dumb as F McMansion owner would add to their house without any consideration of usage patterns, need, and practicality. Level 2 is the appropriate charging tech in a home. If the home is solr powered, that becomes even more of a factor, because solar won’t be providing huge jolts of energy at once.

Mdstj

Why?

JJG

You’re right on one point but wrong on another. Home supercharging no, but newish residential plans have made it easy to get L2 charging at home. Most construction is coming with 200amp service and panels in easily accessible areas like the garage. An electrician or someone with more than basic experience can run a 240 plug in no time.

Joe

There’s no reason to have your own supercharger at home and the cost of hardware and installation to have one would be way, way too high for the average consumer. Your car sits most of the time, and at home there’s ample time for a 6-12 kw AC connection to charge you up, even if you have a 150+ kwh battery. Even with a level 2 charger, you’re looking at anywhere from 500-2000 bucks for the electrician and 300-800 for the charge connector itself (if you get one instead of a NEMA plug). Most homes now would barely have the capacity in their electrical box for two level 2 chargers, using 30-50A circuits, I can scarcely imagine the cost of putting in an industrial DC-DC supercharger that produces even a modest 30 kw.

What new residential construction is likely to do instead is provide at minimum a NEMA 14-30 or 14-50 plug or two in the garage. Which is great, that’s all you need at home.

pipestem

Right. You only charge what you drive, not your battery size. think.

TheWay

Not needed at all. An average commute is 37 miles. Even if you have 4 cars to charge, that is only a total of 148 miles. Something that can easily be charged overnight on an L2 charger. You would only need chargers that communicate with each other which isn’t a big deal.

Will

Good article from Tesla central

TM3x2 Chris

Poor comment from Tesla disbeliever.

Will

Not a disbeliever. Waiting for model3 SR to make decision

Do Not Read Between The Lines

Note that he didn’t mention price.
If they don’t focus on price, they’re going to have a problem.
For now, there’s some scarcity, but that’ll be resolved as volume grows.

REXtoCheckMate

Yes, of course as a business he needs the lowest possible electric cost.
To be competitive.

Loboc

Tesla has already started (in Europe) adding standard ports to their cars. So, Tesla cars can use standard DCFC as well as their proprietary plug. Some countries, like China, already require EV makers to use their national standard connector (I have no idea which one that is though.)

M Hovis

Europe is closer to a standard so having a two-option port makes sense. For now, as long as Tesla has an adapter that works for me. During the transition years, I was good with the Volt option. With the Tesla network, I don’t have a scenario that I can’t use Tesla superchargers to get me where I am going. Of course, as many more Model 3’s and EVs in general hit the road, Chargepoint is definitely going to be postered properly even for Tesla drivers. There are currently a million EVs on US roads. It won’t be too many more years before there are a million Teslas on US roads and several million EVs combined.

TheWay

I hope US Tesla doesn’t go with the Frankenplug and just releases an adapter. The Frankenplug ain’t good at all.

Martin Winlow

EU Teslas have had a standard Type 2 port from the start. Tesla engineers managed to very cleverly adapt it invisibly to work both with their SuCs as well as standard EU 3 phase AC rapid chargers (which put out 43kW max) and, via a Tesla adaptor, the CHAdeMO 50kW DC charging standard.

Edward

I want free charging

MacDNaif

Well, sure. And I want a free Tesla.

But I don’t deserve the latter and you don’t deserve the former.

Counterpoint

I want free rent. Neither of us is getting what we want without some major sacrifices.

Martin Winlow

Well, write a nice letter to Santa then! (I *do* hope you have been good…?!)

Ed Hightower
Chargepoint is definitely one of the better independent charger suppliers. I find that their AC and DCFCs are very reliable. However, I take issue with their marketing strategies: 1. If you look at the distribution of Chargepoint DCFCs, there are roughly 300 in the US, with almost all of them in CA, MD – MA and Atlanta with a few scattered around GA and FL. Virtually none are between cities where EV drivers need them. A DCFC in a city near most people’s home where they can charge overnight would seem to severely limit the customer base. 2. Every single Chargepoint DCFC I have charged my Tesla on was limited to no more than 30KW. This seems to be a choice by Chargepoint to provide only the bare min. DCFC current that can still be called “Fast Charging” to increase billable minutes and keep the transformer costs down. Tesla Superchargers can go up to 135KW, however on my 75KWH Tesla, the effective max. is about 100KW and after about 40% charge the output begins to taper off. 50KW would be close to as fast as the Tesla Superchargers for any charging above 50%. Between the weak charge level and high… Read more »