When At&T first launched the mobile phone in 1989, they hired Mckinsey & Co. to forecast cellphone adoption by the year 2000, in the United States. The consulting giant returned with the finding that only 900,000 US citizens would have a cellphone by the year 2000. In reality, the United States cell phone usership was at 109 Million, by the year 2000!
Drivetricity (charging station provider, and manager) CEO, Zahan Khursigara, believes
that a similar market disruption will affect the automobile industry, “at some point in the near future, we will hit a tipping point, and Electric Vehicle sales will drown out combustion engine sales.” he says, “the costs associated with maintaining, and running gasoline powered cars, can be upto 80% higher then its comparable EV counterpart. When you add that to the growing green revolution we are experiencing its only a matter of time, before people simply say I do not want a gas car, just as they did with home phone lines. In Ontario, every EV available already has a waiting list, it’s the auto manufacturers who can’t keep up with the demand”
There are however still barriers to mass EV adoption, the most prevalent being price, range anxiety and the charging infrastructure gaps.
The price of an EV can be quite a bit more than its gasoline counterpart, but as well all new technologies the gap is closing by the day. In addition to buying the car, a prospective purchaser also has to think about their home charging station. While the cars can charge off a standard house plug at 120v, it’s not usually suggested as charging times are extremely slow often more than 12 hours for a complete charge. Level II home
charging stations, are reasonably affordable, Drivetricity is launching its new home wall mount station at just $899. The installation of a garage based station could be as low as $300, if your panel box has a clear line to your garage, to run a 220v line. The drivers really who really feel the pinch are condo owners, as most buildings don’t have an EV plan, and sub metering and running electricity through huge parking garages, is costly, condosnow.com suggests it may cost between $8K – 20K.
Range anxiety, is the fear potential buyers have, that their EV, will run out of electricity, and leave them stranded somewhere. This according to Zahan is a myth, “the average persons daily commute is only 30km a day, and your low end EV’s are ranging 200km, and for people like myself who drive a lot, there are plenty of options for EVs that will hit 400+ km per charge.”
Zahan, however does agree that charging infrastructure gaps are a concern, just not yet. “85% of charging is done at the home, usually over night. The public stations are more of a novelty right now, people see them and use them, and enjoy the preferential parking, but they often don’t need them. The gaps I see, are future uses wireless stations equipped
for autonomous vehicles, and superchargers for the trucking industry.”
Where does Drivetricity fit in?
“Before launching Drivetricity, we spent a lot of time, researching the market needs and understanding the gaps slowing mass adoption.” Zahan remarked, “We saw one of the largest pain areas being the Condo/Apartment owner’s transition to electric vehicles.”
Condo owner’s not only have to pay more than their fair share to drive a green and economic vehicle, they see a lot of resistance from condo boards, and property management companies, who are not equipped for EV implementation. In addition many older buildings, worry about the power consumption charging cars will have on their system. Drivetricity has created an elegant solution to all of these problems, by creating a new business catagory, ‘parking station management.’
Drivetricity, is contracted as a property management company would be, but with the express intent of installing, managing, maintaining, and metering ev stations in building parking lots.
“By creating a tailored plan, and using specialized software, we are able to subsidize the installation prices, manage power consumption, meter and charge the drivers for their electricity. We do all of this with absolutely no charge to the building or its management, we are paid by only the EV drivers in the building. And the best part is the EV drivers see a large savings up front, so everyone is happy.”
With 44% of citizens on Southern Ontario living in multi-residential buildings, and EV sales doubling year over year, it looks like Drivetricity’s going to be very busy, in the years to come.
Zahan Left us with this. “We see our parking station management services, as one of the factors which will allow the EV market, to grow much faster, then analyst predict. This of all the potential drivers who have been to scared to buy an EV because they live in a building.“