Green parking and EV solutions are both important concepts today, given that consumers are increasingly becoming concerned with preservation of our planet. Some companies, such as EVBox, are doing a little extra in order to combat the environmental issue. In a recent blog post, EVBox cover their latest green initiative, which involves the pledge to plant one tree for every charging station sold.
As the leading global manufacturer of electric vehicle charging stations and charging management software, we were keen to hear more from EVBox about the topic of EV Solutions. Bjørn Utgård, Director of New Markets at EVBox was on hand to answer our questions.
How Important Do You Feel EV Solutions Are to the Industry?
"The thing is that automakers are now investing three hundred billion dollars in electric vehicles. There's gonna be more than 300 new models coming out within the next couple of years to three years. The shift to electric capability is in full force. It's going very very fast. And this represents a paradigm shift because instead of going to the gas stations which are specific sites where you can get energy for your car, basically energy is gonna be delivered to your car in the exact same way that is delivered to your home and to everything else you do, it’s going to come over the wires.
That means that the car is going to be the gas station of the future if you will, or actually parking lots, and that means that you really have to think from the parking management side. Yes I think actually I'm no longer only renting out real estate for parking, I'm actually providing a charging service as well".
How Do You Think EV Solutions Are Going to Evolve?
"Well first of all it's going to be a transition. You're going to start to see more digital solutions. I think automated payments or integrated payments is going to be one way that you will see a change. Basically you pay for your parking maybe you pay for your charging in the same way. You're going to start to see parking lots actually needing quite a lot more power, maybe not as much power as you could imagine, if you just have basically a car parked for 10 hours and it just needs 10 kilowatt hours which is enough to drive let’s say 50 kilometers. Then you only need a one kilowatt per vehicle but you still have to think more when you're making parking lots that actually I need a lot of electricity here".
Can You Tell Us a Little About EVbox and What You Will Be Working On?
"We are the premier global supplier of EV charging solutions. We've been doing this since 2010,
so we've been going at this for 10 years, we’ve now delivered more than 75000 charging stations around the world, we're active in 55 countries. We're also part of the global energy and services company ENGIE, with a hundred and fifty thousand employees in 70 countries. So we have a unique positioning in the sense that we have a full solution of charging stations from the AC stations that you typically use in parking lots where people are parked for a longer duration of time and also the superfast chargers that are more for, let’s say, corridors or for grocery stores. We also have software that allows allows you to manage that, because if you're going to have massive growth of the EV charging you're going to need to have to make a business out of that.
That obviously comes from the data, it comes from the access control, that comes from how you can bundle this into a good service for end users. And that's what we are doing. Very much of this year we work with local service partners that basically deliver charging stations, manage through the aftersales help parking owners future proof their parking lots.
We're also bringing out lots of new products because what you're seeing is that the industry is changing it's going from these early adopters that are very tech savvy, and they almost like it when there are issues because they learn something, to very mass market type of consumers and then they have a totally different expectation in terms of ease of use and design".
What Sets Your EV Charging Stations Apart From Other Charging Stations?
"We've been fortunate to win several design awards in the last year. We've brought out a couple of new products that have the design that, really, we want parking lots owners and real estate owners to be very proud of having charging stations. For that to be the case then, they have to be and look like a real design addition to the whole location, and that's why we've invested a lot in design for the charging stations as well".
What Do You Think The Effect of Autonomous Vehicles Will Be on EV Charging?
"Well the thing about autonomous vehicles is that they are likely to operate a lot more than non-autonomous vehicles because with autonomous vehicles you're going to see, intrinsically, a larger shift to shared ownership. So basically mobility as a service. That means that this vehicle will run many many more kilometres per year. With electricity you save anywhere between 50 and 80 percent of your KM cost because electricity is much cheaper and energy energy use is also much more efficient. So you're likely to see that that the shift in autonomous will also push electric vehicles.
Now the question is also about do we think that this is going to be a total shift. It seems what's you're going to have is you're going to have zones, you're going to have geo fencing and you're going to have vehicles that will start by being able to run autonomously for example on the highway or really well mapped out areas. But you're still going to be able to drive it as a normal car. It's difficult to see autonomous shuttles becoming a global phenomenon in the near term. You will see limited areas and you'll see autonomous shuttles of low speed vehicles.
There's also opportunity in that because just like one big trend that we're seeing now is the shift to urban charging hubs where basically cars can be parked to shift to another banality to get around downtown for example you park your vehicle there it's being charged while you are doing something else. I think those locations are also going to be natural service locations for those autonomous vehicles. Even on autonomous vehicle has to be cleaned by human beings likely".
What Do You Think Future Geographic Uptake of Autonomous Vehicles Looks Like?
"As far as I'm aware, autonomous vehicles require pretty good marking on the roads and so you're likely to see this in areas where new roads have been built.
I think in many countries you have less walled communities, where you have a residence and you have schools and you have everything built basically from scratch and in such locations you're likely to see autonomous vehicles become attractive pretty fast because it's in a contained area. You've going to see them on campuses I believe. It's difficult, I mean if anybody were here in Amsterdam, and you're driving a car here you have to have eyes in the back of your head because there are bicycles everywhere. I'm not sure, of course you can say then, well an autonomous vehicle with all the sensors and everything might do that better, but that remains to be seen".
How is EV Charging Developing?
"One thing that that we see very clearly that EV charging is is rarely a standalone business. What you see it is it's a build on it's a bolt on for parking lots. It's a perfect example of parking management. If you're managing this real estate, you have all the technology on site. You're just going to add EVcharging to that and then increase the scope of your service.
And that goes for parking, it goes for energy, it goes for for a lot of different sectors that can actually benefit from adding EV charging to their portfolio. That's what I think is the big trend and also what what our listeners should be looking out for is how can I build EV charging into my portfolio so that I do more for my customers. I am a relevant service provider because I solved bigger chunks of their problems".
Would You like to Add Anything About EV Charging?
"We're working with a lot of parking operators, parking owners. We see real estate companies developing properties and they are they're like well we have to have EV charging for our parking lot, otherwise we will not win the tenders that we're participating in. And what we see is that we can be a good partner for those companies because we can provide them, and not only with modern and attractive hardware and the flexible integrated software, but also because we've been in this game for 10 years we are we have a uniquely global outlook so we're able to to do more than just sell the technology but we're also able to help with shaping how that business should look like and that's something that we're really keen to continue doing".
Check out the full Parking Talks discussion now:
EVBox is the leading global manufacturer of electric vehicle charging stations and charging management software. With an installed base of over 75,000 charging points across more than 55 countries worldwide, EVBox drives sustainable mobility, by bringing durable electric vehicle charging solutions to the world. EVBox has offices in Amsterdam, Antwerp, Copenhagen, Oslo, Milton Keynes, Madrid, Munich, Paris, Bordeaux, New York and Los Angeles. Since March 2017, EVBox is a part of ENGIE. In 2018, EVBox acquired ultra-fast charging station manufacturer EVTronic, adding 700 previously installed fast charging stations to its European network.