The future is electric, and EV Connect is driving the effort to get everyone there. The El Segundo, Calif., company provides software solutions for electric vehicle charging infrastructure and management and has once again been selected as an approved network provider in Southern California Edison’s Charge Ready program.
The $436-million program offsets most of the costs of installing electric car charging stations at businesses and properties. The program will also include putting chargers in state-designated disadvantaged communities, thus creating new economic opportunities and decreasing air pollution in those areas. As the nation’s largest light-duty electric vehicle charging program, Charge Ready is designed to deploy 38,000 EV chargers over the next four years to help California achieve its EV and climate goals.
As an approved network provider, EV Connect will help with the installation and management of those chargers in SCE’s 50,000-square-mile cove rage area in the next four years. EV Connect’s platform will also help the utility monitor and manage the grid through the Demand Response initiative, a crucial effort to control blackouts. The multi-faceted project may seem monumental, but the company is up for the challenge.
“Our relationship with SCE goes back many years, back to when EV Connect was one of the first companies approved for the original Charge Ready initiative,” says John Karambelas, EV Connect’s Chief Revenue Officer. “We deployed approximately 40 percent of the available charging ports during that first stage of the SCE program, and that effort demonstrated that large-scale EV charging requires large-scale thinking. We are delighted to be involved once more, and stand ready to help SCE customers realize their EV charging ambitions.”
Today, EV charging appears driven by seismic forces. California remains one of the leaders in EV adoption, and according to electric-car industry group Veloz, the state accounts for about 50 percent of electric vehicle sales nationally. Last September, Governor Gavin Newsom set a goal in an executive order for all new passenger cars and trucks sold in the state to be electric by 2035. Then there’s the Biden administration’s vision to build 500,000 public charging stations nationwide. When compared to the approximately 100,000 public chargers in the U.S. today (Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuel Data Center number), the increase in the number of EV charging stations in the near-term future is huge. So too will be the work required to install, commission, and manage said chargers.
“We are thrilled to see federal support growing after what has felt like an eternity of EV charging being driven (no pun intended) almost exclusively at the state and local levels,” Karambelas added. “With the groundwork now set by countless localities, the federal support and efforts like those of Governor Newsome have been catalysts for the industry as a whole. Just take a look at the announcements from automakers like Ford and GM; the industry is in motion as well.”
Even with all the advancements — better driving range, safety, style of the cars — and government support, the electric vehicle industry still faces challenges. Business Insider recently cited a study from University of California Davis researchers published in Nature Energy Journal, which acknowledged that about a fifth of electric car owners in California switched to gas-powered cars. The reason? The hassle of charging.
Karambelas says the number will go down as charging access grows although he admits that it might not always be a smooth ride.
“As people see more available, more convenient charging infrastructure, they’re going to feel increasingly more confident in making a choice for EV. Most consumers would prefer an EV,” continues Karambelas. “ It’s like the line in Field of Dreams: ‘If you build it, they will come.’
EV Connect is making the process easier for station hosts and operators. The company partners with more than 20 manufacturers to make sure their software is fully compatible, and any issues can be identified and resolved quickly. Meanwhile, car drivers can use the EV Connect App for anything from finding a place to charge to initiating the process and payment.
EV Connect operates in 41 states as well as Asia, Australia, Canada, and Europe. Like just any other business, the company had to shift gears in the last year. With the pandemic forcing shutdowns in some of EV’s biggest markets in New York and California, it was no longer possible to have workers on site installing stations. It also made no sense to equip office buildings– a traditionally strong suit for EV Connect — when the employees worked from home and nobody drove to the office.
Instead, the company focused on multi-unit developments such as apartments and condos as well as supporting the electrification of fleets since goods still have to move.
“Despite the fact that one of our core markets ended up being greatly diminished in the workplace, in the office, we found footing in these other markets and will emerge from it in a much healthier position. Our mission is to build a better planet by enabling the distribution of electricity as a fuel. Our goal is to help people make this jump to an electrified transportation future. Most people want to do it, but they don’t exactly know how to get started. We make it extremely easy for individuals, businesses and infrastructures to make this transition seamlessly.” — John Karambelas, EV Connect’s Chief Revenue Officer
EV Connect was also selected as the network provider for SCE’s $356 million Charge Ready Transport, which targets fleets of medium and heavy-duty cars, and School and Parks Program that will bring charging stations to state beaches, parks and schools.
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