Creating a greener planet means more than embracing solar panels and building eco-friendly cars. It also means creating an infrastructure to support the green technology.
That’s what ChargePoint is striving to achieve. The company designs and builds charging stations across the country and unveiled a new system in September to make it easier for electric vehicle drivers to charge their cars.
Called Waitlist, the free system allows drivers to make an appointment via smart phones to charge their cars at a public station. Alternatively, drivers can tap a card on the station to reserve spot. While it seems silly to think of the drivers milling around parking lots for a specific space to open up, the infrastructure for electrical vehicles just isn’t there yet.
The company puts estimates 75% of cars will be connected to the Internet by 2020 and 35% of vehicles sold will be electric by 2040. While the latter number is daunting, it shows that the company is playing the long game by creating an infrastructure for the electric car market. The company boasts more than 31,000 places to charge around the globe and counts 70% of new electric vehicle drivers among its customers.
Areas set up to support electrical cars only have a handful of stations available. While the electric car phase hasn’t quite overtaken the general U.S. market, it’s shown steady global growth since 2011. The International Energy Agency, which focuses on building clean energy in 29 developed nations, reported 400,000 electric cars putting around the United States in 2015, more than double the amount in 2013. That being said, creating infrastructure for the vehicles is key to their success. Without the support, car buyers aren’t likely to buy into it.
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While traditional cars only need a few minutes at a gas station to fill up the tank, electric vehicles can take several hours to charge. Though it should be noted that some vehicles are outfitted with fast-chargers, enabling them to charge up in a fraction of the time.
ChargePoint’s release of Waitlist has improved station usage by as much as 45%, even in the most trafficked places. Best practices for charging vehicles haven’t been established yet. Before implementing the system, some drivers would coordinate with other electrical vehicle users in the area to coordinate charging times.
A few other key points about the Waitlist system:
- The Waitlist feature is at no additional cost to ChargePoint customers.
- For those in the know, CT4xxx Family and CT20xx Family stations are supported.
- Waitlist policies are dictated by each of the organizations that manage clusters of stations.
- Getting started is easy with a slew of videos and instructions awaiting potential charges.
Adding to the momentum of Waitlist is the company’s release of a 350 kW public charger, first announced at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Those chargers are geared toward electric vehicles that charge quickly and drive long distances. Though those stations aren’t likely to be seen until the early summer of 2017.
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