While the popularity of electric vehicles is accelerating, the cars face obstacles to become as ubiquitous as petrol and diesel engines – namely the availability of charging stations, which ChargePoint aims to solve
There’s no reason why electric vehicles won’t one day entirely replace oil-based ones. Look at how London’s newest ultra-low emission zone penalises diesel drivers or how big names like Volvo have pledged to manufacture purely hybrid and electric cars beyond 2019.
Nonetheless, you can’t convince everyone of electric’s bright future. “Because people have anxiety when they’re taking on any new technology,” argues Iain Mosely, senior director at ChargePoint, the electric vehicle charging network. Indeed, a big worry for everyday drivers is being guaranteed to consistently come across stations that charge up electric cars, given it’s still relatively new consumer tech. That’s probably the last concern on the minds of petrol and diesel owners with no end of fuel stations around. However, ChargePoint has a few tricks up its sleeve to ease minds. “We want the whole experience to be as easy as possible,” Mosely adds.
ChargePoint starts by approaching its tech with one person in mind. “We try to make that whole ecosystem just work for the driver and make it almost [like] they don’t even know it’s chargeable or anything because it just works,” Mosely describes. This involves presenting chargers like everyday consumer electronics, such as washing machines or blenders, and not the incredibly intricate machines they really are. “It’s just something that’s very familiar and very easy for them to use,” Mosely shrugs.
While human-friendly, this doesn’t eliminate the availability problem. To do that, ChargePoint aims for quality over quantity. “The majority of [motorway services] aren’t on our network [because] most of the time they’re not working,” Mosely admits. Instead, the network only incorporates stations that can comply with its guaranteed uptime agreements, meaning if you cruise by a ChargePoint you know it’s working whatever the weather. “We make sure they’re always working or if there’s an issue they’re fixed very, very quickly,” he continues.
With global warming awareness in full-force across the world, solidifying eco-friendly tech as the only viable future, ChargePoint has found its muse in London above everywhere else. “London’s a unique combination of factors,” Mosely says. This includes the low-emission zone making electrification a prominent player, he believes, as well as the capital harbouring a bounty of resources for tech businesses akin to the Bay Area. “There’s a real international mix of talent here in London,” Mosely explains. “You’ve got the finance side of it [and] you’ve got the engineering technology side of it, all in a very small space. It's almost like you find in Silicon Valley.”
And the Big Smoke clearly loves ChargePoint too as it received the London Business Award for Social Impact – International Company. “We’re very excited to have won this award,” says Mosely. “To see the recognition of the technology we’re developing and the impact on not just London [but] the whole world.” With electric vehicles and by extension their chargers becoming more and more mainstream, Mosely and his crew are buzzing to be at the frontier. “Electrification is really taking off,” he concludes. “But in London in particular you can really benefit from this technology so it‘s really exciting to have that recognised.”This article comes courtesy of London & Partners’ Business Growth Programme. Tailored to your business growth ambitions, the programme offers free impartial business advice and support to SMEs looking to grow across London