Webinar: Future-Proofing an EV Charging Operation as it Scales
In case you missed it, watch Chargie’s Chris Vargas as he joins Kajeet’s Zack Kowalski for a discussion on the roles connectivity and security play in EV charging.
SVP Business Development, Chargie
Chris is responsible for bringing intelligent and reliable EV charging solutions to multifamily and commercial properties around the country. He has a proven track record of delivering products and services that drive innovation and growth for real estate owners, managers and investors.
Senior Vice President and General Manager of Enterprise, Kajeet
Zack leads the enterprise division in sales, product strategy, carrier relationships, and sales engineering. He has also served as vice president of customer operations, working closely with Kajeet’s internal teams and nationwide carriers to ensure the highest level of customer satisfaction.
Susie (Moderator) 00:03
Hi everyone and welcome to our IoT well today webcast future proofing and EV charging operation as it scales sponsored by Kajeet. If you have any technical difficulties during today’s session, please press the Help widget on your player console to receive assistance and solving common issues. If at any time you’re having audio difficulties or issues with advancing the slides, please hit your f5 key to refresh your webcast console. Today’s webinar is being recorded and will be available on demand for 12 months starting tomorrow, you’ll receive an email when it’s ready. Please feel free to submit any questions you may have for our speakers in the q&a widget. So our speakers today is Zack Kowalski, senior vice president and general manager of enterprise at Kajeet. And Chris Vargas, Senior Vice President of Business Development at Chargie. Kajeet as an industry leader in optimized data connectivity and flexible wireless solutions. That leads the enterprise division in sales product strategy, carrier relationships and sales engineering. Chargie is building a reliable, intelligent EV charging network for commercial buildings, drivers and communities. Chris is leading the charge and delivery of this network. So I’m going to start by handing over our session to Zack Thank you.
Zach Kowalski 01:21
Thank you, Susie. So welcome, everyone. Thanks for taking some time today to join our webinar, I’m gonna cover a little bit what I think to many might be obvious to some it might not be. But just cover a little bit why connectivity is crucial to EV charging. I’ll cover some of the challenges we see today, and then we’ll pass it over to to Chargie, who’s a Kajeet customer today who’s really growing rapidly in the EV charging space. Chris will share some of his perspective some of charges, perspectives on the industry, how they’re growing, what services they provide. And then we’ll transition later talk a little bit about Kajeet solutions in the EV charging space. So starting a little bit with Wi Fi connectivity is crucial to evey charging right at a high level. You know, I think the three main pillars are monitoring device management, right? Once you deploy these, how do you continually manage these devices, and then payment and really authentication of a charging session and making sure that who’s using the services using the EV chargers is authorized to do so. And that the payment, or at least the usage and reporting on the charging session is properly being recorded. So from a monitoring perspective, you need to know the status of your EV charger, I read a stat online 20 to 25% of the deployed chargers in North America are not operational today. Many of those aren’t connected. So there’s no way to really understand whether they’re operational or not other than customer reports of a non-operational charger, but that’s about one in four one in five chargers that are deployed today that are not operational many that there’s no visibility into the status of them. Probably the reason why they’re not operational because companies don’t know how to deploy trucks or to deploy services to go and address those and fix those chargers. One of probably the most important from a monitoring perspective is being able to plan availability, being able to broadcast that to your customer base, right? How does how does a customer who is about to embark on a charging session know if they should approach a specific charger, specific charging log to know if it’s available is in use, not a news, how many are in use. So really being able to not just monitor the health of the charger, but also utilization be able to send that message downstream to customers. From a device management perspective, these charges are being deployed often for years, right? Perhaps even decades. And but in a really ever evolving technology, especially now in the early days. Things are changing rapidly, right? The ocpp protocol, which many charges are using is changing on a pretty regular basis. And you need the ability to continue to manage those chargers once they’re deployed out in the field. And so whether that’s firmware updates, whether that’s configuration changes, whether that’s being able to adjust on peak off peak hours as far as when that charger should, should really be utilized. And so all that stuff really requires ongoing and remote management. Obviously deploying deploying a truck or deploying a technician to make local on site modifications is definitely not scalable. And then lastly on the charging authentication and payment piece, right, it’s important again to know when a charger is in use and you can’t just get you know I’m thinking of some old credit card transaction summary at the end for the day or shipping manifest at the end of the day of, well, here’s everything that happened for the last 24 hours. Well, that doesn’t really help in this space, you really need real time, data, real time transactions, you need to be able to authenticate that charging transaction in real time and be able to report back on that usage and how much was used, whether you’re charging the customers and on peak off peak, all that stuff, you need that data to be able to make the right decisions, and really collect from a revenue perspective as far as what that charger is doing. So those are some of the reasons why connectivity is crucial today, to EV charging. But we see a lot of challenges, when customers are deploying connectivity. With EV charging. We’ve encountered a lot of them, we’ve we’ve helped customers solve a lot of them. And many of these really come in, when you start scaling up and the deployment starts growing. It’s it’s one thing if you have 10 deployments, you know, an average of three to four chargers, and you’ve kind of checked the box for what you’re doing with connectivity, they’re all in an urban area coverage isn’t a problem. It’s another thing when you start scaling to tens of thousands of chargers deployed all across the country, all across the globe. In rural areas, areas where maybe coverage is not a given, it’s not standard. So we’ve encountered a lot of these alongside customers, you know, many on the logistics side, how do you procure the right antennas, the right cables, the right routers. Is it a cellular router, is it a Wi Fi router? Right? What kind of SIM cards do I need? Do I need a nee sim? Do I need multiple SIM cards? Right? What are my carrier options? And so that kind of plays into the SIM card piece. But carrier options which carriers are available? Which one’s the best one should I be going with an Esim? Should I be going with a multi carrier approach? You know, what am I doing with this charger? Right? And so, you know, carrier selection is a big one often dictated by coverage, but in many areas also dictated by what the use cases and what what this charger might be doing besides just charging, which we’ll talk about a little bit later. And then the deployment model, there’s you know, there’s a lot a lot of different ways to deploy connectivity for EV charging. Some are embedded chargers with a LTEM or NB IoT module inside the charger that is connected directly pop a SIM card into the charger and and each charger has its own its own connectivity. But that model doesn’t always work. It doesn’t necessarily make sense. If you’ve got 20 chargers deployed in a single location. Is it smart to have 20 connections when you can have one shared across 20? Or maybe there’s a backup option, right? Maybe you can have a primary connection and then the embedded connectivity can be backup. Right? And that’s something that, you know, again, connectivity is crucial. It’s very important. There’s not always a one type solution. In many cases, it’s how do we deploy these in a way in which there are redundant options, there are backup options, especially so that if a charger does go offline, go down, you have ways to recover, right? You have ways to maybe reboot that charger, reboot the software, reboot the router via some backup connectivity method. So again, it’s not always a one type approach is the answer. And then security. Definitely not not it might be last but it’s definitely not least, security is very important, both from a digital security perspective, as well as a physical security perspective, right? These things are often deployed. In an area where the the only traffic that comes across there might be the customers that are charging. And so there’s not a lot of eyeballs, there’s not a lot of visibility. And so from a physical security perspective, how do you get eyes on site? How do you see what’s going on? But then also from a digital security perspective? How do you maintain the right access to these chargers without necessarily having to expose them on a on a public network? How do you protect chargers that weren’t built with security in mind, it might have a nice IoT module inside but it isn’t necessarily built to be a built in firewall type routing device inside. So these are some of the things again that we’ve seen over the years deploying into EV charging. I’ll cover it Chris will speak to some of these. I’ll cover some of these as we go through the session. But again, wanted to cover why connectivity is crucial. We’ll cover some of the challenges we’ve seen and I’ll pass it over to Chris now from Chargie again to talk a little bit about their industry and what they’re seeing.
Chris Vargas 09:55
Zack, thanks so much for that. Absolutely. You used the word fluid, you know, I’m in agreement over the fact that connectivity is very important, for the chargers and having smart chargers out there in the network is really important. And to catch everybody up a little bit, you know, we all know EV, ownership is skyrocketing. You know, in California, where our headquarters is, you know, 50% of all electric vehicles are in California. And so we feel like we’re in a little bit of the canary in the coal mine in terms of understanding all the things that can happen on site, and how to kind of best deploy these. 80% of all charging happens in home, you know, we kind of call it the book ends, you know, home and in office, or the book ends, you know, people talk about a lot of the infrastructure and public charging out there, that really comes down to being able to charge at home, if you don’t own electric vehicle, you don’t understand the convenience, nobody measures the convenience factor of never having to ever, ever go to a gas station again. So if you don’t understand, if you don’t have any be really don’t understand that convenience factor, to always have a full tank, if you will always have a full charge, you know, on your vehicle to go where you please and not have to make that stop. So this gets to the crux a little bit about the deployment methodology, you know, faster is not always better, right? We see that there. So in our own HQ, we our own lab here and have 20, level two chargers, and two level three chargers, a little plug for charging, every employee that reaches 90 days, we give them $10,000 To put down electric vehicle, because we believe everybody needs to have that experience. So all our employees are charging on our chargers, we’re always kind of slammed against our network here, understanding how our platform works are afterwards. But if we want to do use level three charger, DC fast charger, we have to shut down all 20 level two chargers, for that to work, that’s a capacity issue, something to think about in terms of when you’re implementing and building out properties out there, what’s the capacity, so it’s much easier to charge 20 chargers for a four hour dwell time versus you know, having, you know, vehicles passing through a level two charger and level three charger all day long just doesn’t work. So when you think about you know, how you deploy chargers and what the use case are, you have to think about that. Of course there are use cases out there with hospitality where you might want level three and level three charging, that’s again, you know, that is a capacity issue in terms of available electricity for these problems. Rebates, incentives, tax, you know, tax rebates, a lot of the money coming to infrastructure is public charging, you have to know the difference where where are those incentives, where where is that money? How can you best deploy that, for your own infrastructure. There’s a lot of meat on the bone there and a lot of complexity, you know, one of the largest incentive programs in the country right now has over 75 steps and six different clients signatures to be able to pass through that application process with multiple design reviews where you know, you need electrical engineers stamp plans. So it’s, it can be a very complex process, you know, here charging, we have those full time employees, you know, ready to work through those. That’s not something individual property owners have or should be focused on. You don’t have to do it alone. That’s really what I was talking about here. There are turnkey providers who are not the only one of course there are turnkey providers that can walk you through this process, and enable you to get as much as you can to help incentivize, to build out, to finance that infrastructure on your property. So turnkey providers that look at it that way, are really what you need to look for. So with Chargie, our experience in terms of you know who you are, our DNA is commercial and residential development. We built this with that perspective in mind serving ourselves. Our owner owns thousands of apartment units along with commercial and resort properties. We built it with that in mind to serve ourselves. So to be a reliable service is really important. So when we look about 98% reliability across all our networks, Zack was talking about activities issue. This is critical is how we manage the connectivity to all our charges and availability has everything to say about that. The other piece of this I think it’s important on the slide is that these 1000 buildings that are built out there, our own employees are on staff people have built out over 500 properties themselves. Of course we use subcontractors. But that’s where the difference is, we really understand how each property can be unique. You know, I hate to say this, but they’re like snowflakes. So creating an RF design, creating the infrastructure plan is different for each property. So when we talk about future proofing, I like to see a future flexible. That plan depends on the type of property. Right? What kind of use is it going to be? Is it needed to use as residential? Is it commercial? Is it hospitality? What are those uses, and creating the right charging experience based on that is really important. So the saying one size fits all? It really doesn’t. We get into this a little bit of talking about what is a turnkey provider, you know, it’s surveying and evaluate. That’s where we start kind of understanding what the property is, and you plan and design from it and approve, of course, we all know that and then install and validate, right? That’s really important, right? So we have to validate the network works, we have to validate the charges work, we have to deliver on that promise. So it’s not just handed over, right, you have to really do that hard work before you get to this manage and operate stage. Now I’m simplifying, because there’s a lot of steps in between this process. But it’s really important when you select a provider, right? That they understand how to work you through from beginning to end. So really trying to understand that, I think in terms of, you know, future proofing, you know, your property, it’s really understanding what the infrastructure is that you currently have, and the use cases that are there at that given property. Those are really important. That’s how you determine how you can future proof your property. It’s really important to do that. That’s it for me, and I’ll hand it back over to us and we can start that poll question.
Zach Kowalski 17:01
Sounds good. Thank you, Chris. So as Chris mentioned, we’ll do a quick poll here. Did you deploy and or manage any connected EV chargers? So do you have, have you deployed, or do you currently manage any connected EV chargers? So either yes, or I’ve deployed EV chargers, but they’re not connected, no, but considering it or no, so we’ll give it a minute here on the poll, and then we’ll show some results. It’s like the popcorn, you know, in the popcorn in the microwave, you gotta, you gotta wait till it’s still popping, but it’s slow. So that’s about what I’m seeing with the responses. Now there’s, they’re still coming in. But but the wave, the popping is slowed down. So I’ll flip over here to, to the poll results. So we have about 50%, not about exactly 50% Have not currently deployed, and or manage any connected EV chargers. We have 17% that have, and then 33% that are considering it. So appreciate everyone responding to the poll. I’m going to transition in I talked a lot about the challenges with connectivity and EV space. Chris really helped sharpen the point on why it’s so important to have connectivity. Some of the things I didn’t talk about right SLAs and some of the contractual agreements, as we get into funding that’s coming from, you know, federal sources, local government sources, a lot of that is going to have certain SLA criteria attached to it that you need to be able to report back on and say, Yes, I provided, you know, according to Chris and charge you 98 plus percent availability time, right, my my chargers week, they were providing service for X percentage of time, there’s no way to be able to make that statement, unless you’re truly every single one of them is connected, and you’re monitoring them in real time. So, you know, the contractual obligations and the reporting those is going to become even even more important over time, again, as the funding sources, shift more and more to public funds. But talking a bit about the solutions, right? And how do we address some of the challenges when it comes to connecting EV chargers? You know, the the lead question that we receive from customers all the time is, what’s the right carrier? What carrier should I deploy with and the answer isn’t X score Y, right? Because there isn’t one carrier that’s going to check the box for every deployment across the globe, obviously, you know, in the US there are some carriers that perform better than others, depending on the use case, right? Some chargers embedded chargers that might be using low power technologies like LTM, or NB IoT, you know, that’s something to look at how you know, what kind of connectivity might using because certain carriers, although they might excel in their standard LTE deployments, or even in their new 5g deployments, some don’t do that well with some of the low power technology deployments like NB IoT, or LTM. So it’s really about understanding what kind of hardware is being deployed. And also the use case, right, we’re seeing a lot, and I’ll talk about this towards the end, we’re seeing a lot of digital signage, digital advertising, right, high multimedia content being delivered to these chargers. So what we originally talked about, which was oh, I just want to know, when my charger is online, and I need to be able to authenticate a charging step session. Well, that’s now changing to, I need to be able to send video files down to this charger, every 30 minutes, right, a new video file, a new advertising gets sent down, well, that now drastically changes what kind of connectivity you need, it puts you out of the ballpark of low power technologies, typically, and moves you into, okay, I need a more capable pipe, I need a more I need more bandwidth that I can utilize. Right? And so, again, which carriers correct? There’s not one answer, it’s typically many. And we look at it from the more that we can expand our capabilities in the space and the more carriers that we can connect with and offer our same service across the board. With feature parity between carriers, the better offer customers are going to be right if if I can check a box for every US carrier, if I can check a box for multiple global partners that we can connect to. And I can provide the same service on each one of those. Right, that’s going to take this concern this challenge and, and really kind of squash it, right? Because at this point, it’s about if there is a carrier, you’re gonna get that service and you’re gonna get the same service, regardless of who that carrier is. And again, there’s even more to go. I talked about backup and redundancy, right? It’s often not just oh, I only want one, right? It might be, well, you know, I’m choosing Verizon to be my primary connection. And I have a router, and that router is connected to my 20 chargers that are deployed on site dedicated connection, maybe it’s a Wi Fi access point, maybe they’re wired, not sure, but then each charger also has its own SIM card on a different carrier, providing that redundancy, providing that backup right all rolling up under one bill all rolling up under one platform under one contract. So again, expanding the capabilities that can be offered to really simplify some of these challenges, right? How do we take how do we expand and advance our capabilities to ultimately be able to offer just a simple service that you don’t have to think much about. So that’s on the on the carrier connectivity piece. Supply services right and one of the areas where we’ve really been able to to help Chargie and do a lot with Chargie is on the procurement side you know the EV charger customers they’ve got to procure the EV charger itself right they have to modify the software their portal how those to communicate. EV charging companies don’t necessarily want to be looking into well, where am I getting a cellular router from? What kind of antennas do I need? What kind of extension cables do I need for those antennas? Right? Am I deploying a Wi Fi access point that’s dedicated to the chargers on site? Am I deploying embedded connectivity all of these things require some sort of procurement in some cases going all the way to power strips and Raspberry Pi’s and, and enclosure boxes and everything else that goes along with it, right. So being able to take all of that and outsource that to someone who ultimately, for many of our EV charging customers, we provide a package and that package has everything that an EV charging customer is going to need to deploy a site right it will have a router will have a Wi Fi access point. It will have cables it will have power supplies, it will have everything that’s needed to then deploy. And in some cases that includes storage, right being able to keep some of that inventory on the shelf. Not necessarily in a California office building but in a warehouse that’s suited to keep some of that inventory to be able to have quick response and you know, quick shipping to wherever those are deployments are happening. So procurement has been, again, something that using existing relationships, being able to solve some of those pain points, some of those headaches. Deployment is very important. Chris talked about this. And, you know, this is why I think Chargie has been very successful. Doing an RF design at every site, right, like, that’s a mandatory thing from chargers point of view. As far as if we’re going to be successful, we’re gonna first do an RF design. So we understand the landscape of where, where we’re deploying, right. And that is so critical in this space, especially as you get into underground parking garages, right, and you get into locations where you know, the charges are being installed surrounded by concrete walls that, you know, penetration is a problem. And so, really being able to do those studies, often you would think procurement comes first, then deployment comes second, I procured mine, I procured my hardware accessories, now I go to deploy them. Well, really, in this space, we’re seeing that is a bit of a cyclical thing, where first you got to do the proper site survey, you got to go deploy boots on the ground, in order to properly assess the area properly assess what is needed, what’s the right solution, then that feeds into procurement, which then later feeds into deployment again, in the form of actual installation, but you can’t just skip straight to, oh, I’m just gonna buy this, this and this, because again, as as Chris said, snowflakes, not many charging deployments are the same, that not not many are alike, and being able to have the right solution in place. These aren’t things that are being installed for a month, or three months, or six months, right? These are installations that are being installed for years, years, perhaps decades. And so you want to get it right the first time, even if that means slowing things down a bit to properly deploy them. Ultimately, if you get it right the first time, the easier is going to be for you to scale and the less you’re going to have to think about your existing deployments and more you can think about scaling, and continuing to grow your future deployments. Lastly, support again talking about scale, right? How can you offload some of the ongoing management is to continue to scale. And a lot of the things that we like to look at is again, how can we get creative with customers to give them all the data that they actually need that can be useful to them? Right. And so, for example, deploying battery backup at a site, right, one of the questions we’ve heard a lot in the recharging space is, well, my chargers are down. But I don’t know if it’s a power failure, or if it’s a cellular outage, because of the carrier that I’m connected to went down, right? Well, if you deploy with a battery backup, connected to a router that can monitor the change in voltage, you can now not only are you providing yourself some connectivity, redundancy, you also now added really monitoring to your power connection, right, by just adding a battery on site. So if the power goes down more the cellular router can still stay online, to at least be able to send an alert back and say, Hey, I just lost my main power, you’re probably about to lose these chargers. But at least you know why. And you can talk to the power utility companies and maybe do a truck roll or look into what needs to happen. But again, tweaking some things working with customers to add that battery backup, add some, you know, general input output GPIO buttons, right some service buttons, maybe it’s a an emergency red button, maybe it’s a blue service button that if someone presses a button on site, you know, again, if they’re out in rural, some some rural area, they maybe don’t have connectivity on their, on their actual smartphone because there’s no service, but maybe providing some way for them to interact with this chargers and working press this button, right. And maybe that sends an alert again, using existing equipment that’s already there. So, you know, from a support perspective, it’s not only taking the call and answering the call when there’s an issue but also properly setting up these deployments so that we can get that data get that information to really help with the ongoing service and ongoing support. So this encompasses Kajeet solution specific to EV charging. Kajeet has a lot of different solutions, really that span all across from a procurement operations logistics perspective, under our Kajeet concierge umbrella into our Sentinel product, which is our cloud platform where customers manage all of their deployed connections and into our network, our secure route our private mobile private networks. So we have tailored solutions that really are what is needed for the verticals. And so in this case of the EV charging space, it’s taking the matrix of the Kajeet solutions, and putting together the right solution sets that fit EV charging customers. I’m definitely not going to read every single box on this slide. But again, we know what EV charging customers are looking for. We’ve we’ve encountered those challenges with them. We’ve conquered those challenges with them. And this is dynamic, it doesn’t always stay the same, this solution sucked. Because as we learn more, we add additional capabilities, whether they’re existing capabilities, or we develop new capabilities, but continually adding more to what that solution is for EV, charging customers. Right? Alerting is a huge one, right being able to alert when there’s anomalies when there’s either high usage or no usage, right being able to alert again on on certain things like maybe a power outage when when we receive an alert from a deployed router from a deployed device. You know, insights, right, we have customers who use Wi Fi access points and all their chargers share the same MAC address identifier. And so they want to get an alert when a MAC address maybe that doesn’t belong to that family of chargers connects to their network, right, because that potentially poses security risks security concern, they shouldn’t be able to do it because that network is protected. But if they, if something were to happen, they want to have that extra layer of security that they’re going to get an alert that something isn’t quite right. So lots of different solutions, again, on the data side, looking at the data looking what should happen, like and what shouldn’t happen, alerting on both of those, and then into the mobile private networks. And that’s a big one. And I’ll talk on that as part of the security piece. But really, again, providing the right connection providing the right options to EV charging customers, so that they can communicate with their downstream devices. So I’ll kick off with security right with the mobile private network that I just mentioned. So again, I talked about all the carriers that we interface with and that we work with and and what I think is important is not just to say sure I work with this carrier, I can get SIMs from this carrier you can deploy with that carrier, it’s being able to offer that same that same experience across those carriers, right that if you go from Verizon AT&T to Vodafone to tell sell to anybody else, that you’re getting that same experience as you move throughout those those networks, right. And so, mobile private network is really one of the staples of our Sentinel solution. From a security perspective, we have built one of the largest mobile private networks in the US with our US carrier partners. We have expanded that internationally, both to Europe, to Canada. And we continue to expand that where where we see our footprint expanding from a demand perspective, and from a services perspective. And on the private network pieces. How do we provide customers, the security of a private network, non routable IP space, sitting behind inline firewalls, enterprise grade firewalls, but still give them that access that they need right still be able to still allow them to communicate downstream to their chargers. Right, we’ve heard time and time again in the recharging space that two way communication is critical, right? Sure that charger is going to create some WebSocket connection back to cloud platform back to the charging management platform. But that doesn’t always remain open. Or sometimes they need to be able to SSH into a charger push a firmware upgrade or some other form of communication downstream to the charger. And again, they need to be able to do that regardless of what carrier network that charger might be connected to. So utilizing our private network, we’re able to add both that security layer but also using our direct access product, give our customers that access downstream to their devices, right they can build secure tunnels into our network where we can allow them to access their deployed devices again, all while on the private network not being exposed to the public network not being exposed to public static networks where you know DDoS attacks can run up usage can put devices at jeopardy can take down devices from a performance perspective. So private networks very important, as is access those two together is really what we’ve seen is very critical and important in the EV charging space. I talked a lot about usage, real time alerts and the need to, again, know what’s happening in real time be able to monitor that also be able to alert on what’s not happening, right? If devices are not checking in if they’re not reporting if, if device usage is is well below, expected if if coverage RSSI coverage metrics drop below what they’re expected to be or what the historically have been, how do we get some of those proactive alerts so that customers can be aware of something happening perhaps before it actually happens. And then I think one of the biggest staples in security, and this is, I think, very important, you know, in residential deployments, multifamily unit deployments, where there is some pre existing WiFi connection, there is some pre existing, maybe other form of connection. But that’s a shared connection, it’s not dedicated, you have no, no way to ensure that reliability with that WiFi connection, you have no way to ensure John decides to change his password two months after you’ve deployed 15 chargers at the site, you all sudden lose access to those 15 Do you now need to send a truck roll to reprogram 15 chargers. So using a pre existing connection that is not not only maybe WiFi and not secure, but it’s also shared is really not a scalable way to address the connectivity across the board. Right? It might be okay for very, you know, one charger here, one charger there. But if you really want to scale a solution, you need that dedicated connection to your deployment that you control that you manage. So I throughout the presentation, I talked a bit about kind of some of the things that we’re seeing, as far as you know, the next step for connectivity within the EV charging space, sure that the three key pillars are very important to be able to monitor it to be able to get the usage information, be able to manage your devices to be able to authenticate those charging sessions. But what’s next for EV charging connectivity? Right. You know, there’s a proof of concept going on on the East Coast right now. Where digital signage, integrated into chargers, in partnership with public safety, where, for example, in the case of an active shooter, the public safety entity can take over the digital signage on the chargers. And so you’re walking down the street, there’s four chargers that are deployed, all four chargers are showing the stops a big red stop active shooter backup message, right. So, you know, that’s one example of digital signage more from a security perspective. You know, we are starting to see a lot of digital signage and advertising, much like we’ve seen on gas pumps, right start to morph over to evey charging in many cases, that’s that’s the main revenue stream as far as how they how they pay or cover the costs to deploy those chargers. Separately, customer engagement, how do you start attracting customers to your charger, it’s, you know, in the case of Chargie, charging at the book ends, you’re not really trying to or having to convince customers because the convenience is doing it you arrive at home, you plug in you arrive at the office you plug in there’s no arguing that convenience, but down down the road downstream. You’re driving you’ve got three different places you can stop within a mile which one are you picking right and so customer engagement is going to continue to become very important with EV charging, that might be guest WiFi, there might be certain things that you can provide while they’re connected to your to your WiFi right think of you know, American Airlines and when you get on a plane and all the videos that you can watch because you’re connected to their WiFi on the plane, right? So something similar in the EV charging space, right you connect to a charger for 30 minutes to charge or maybe now you have access to media to content to other things that you wouldn’t have otherwise vehicle maintenance you know, I think this is important to be able to offset some of the cost and usage from from individual vehicles. But really being able to use that charger as a hub to communicate with that vehicle while it’s connected, whether that’s firmware updates, maintenance updates, or you know in many cases that’s going to be vehicle to grid communication down the road right it’s not just about messages from the charger to the vehicle but it’s from the vehicle back to the charger back to the grid right when that vehicles connected especially at the book ends like charging mentioned, right if I I’m at 90%. And I only need to be at 70. For tomorrow, what can I do with that extra 20, and how do I communicate or or send that power back through the grid, right? So a lot of two way communication between the vehicle and the charger. And then physical security. We talked about that a little bit throughout. But these are being deployed in areas where you don’t always have visibility into what’s happening happening at these deployments, right. And so security cameras, is continuing to become increasingly popular at these deployment sites and being able to see what is going on being able to get footage when events happen, right. Ultimately, these are very expensive chargers, especially if it’s a level three charger, very expensive chargers often being deployed somewhat in the middle of nowhere, right. And so being able to keep eyeballs on these charger sites, with some security footage ability to do live looking, is also becoming increasingly important. So that’s, that’s our content for today from the Kajeet and Chargie side, I believe I’m going to transition now to Q&A. I see we’ve got quite a few questions already coming in so Susie, I’ll let you kind of pick a few of those questions and send them our way.
Susie (Moderator) 41:21
Yeah, thank you, Zack, and thank you, Chris. So yeah, please do continue to log in with your questions, if you wish. The first question here is about Georgia locations sometimes being closed off on the weekends. And perhaps this is for Chris to take how your company’s mitigating that issue of people not being able to charge because they can’t. Because the chargers are locked or that sorts of thing on the weekends.
Chris Vargas 41:51
Yep, thanks, Susie, we really don’t run into that, you know, because we don’t have as much public access charging out there, we have a few universities, you know, one with 88 chargers level two chargers, and 2 DC fast chargers, and those are open to the public. So we really don’t run into these chargers being locked out in our use cases that are available to the public. And, and again, I’ll preface that with the fact that, you know, we are mostly if you will, behind the gates, you know, and that’s in these large apartment communities, 100 units or more and commercial buildings. So basically behind the gate, so not much public access from that. You know, I didn’t answer the question on how you do that. But mostly for us, it really is behind the gates with the bookends charging and not so much public access, so haven’t run into that at all.
Susie (Moderator) 42:45
Okay, so can your chargers connect with cloud based battery management systems to ensure the charging profile is optimum for the battery type, and the specific battery history for the vehicle?
Chris Vargas 42:59
You know, we don’t gather that information on vehicle right now. So that’s part of you know, some changes, you know, in some of the requirements that chargers have this ISO 15 811 is to be able to identify the vehicle, our own cloud platform, right, our cloud platform, understands what vehicle sessions are, what’s charging, how fast they’re charging, and reboot, you know, remotely some of the things why connectivity is so important. Manage power, use software to manage power to optimize the amount of power in some cases. In other cases, you know, it depends on what utility you’re in with requirements are the utility of this providing the power. So we do use our own cloud platform to manage sessions. We don’t take that off, we don’t hand that off to somebody else. We have our own management platform and our app for the drivers.
Susie (Moderator) 43:54
And is Chargie, using Kajeet devices or MBNA services, or both.
Zach Kowalski 44:00
They’re using both. So Kajeet is supplying cellular routers to charge you today as well as many other procurement services. Some of the ones I mentioned, really, in many cases going down to the enclosure, the mount, the type of mount they’re using to install it. So really everything from a procurement perspective, including cellular devices, and then also connectivity Chargie, today is using two active carriers in their devices through Kajeet. And so really kind of taken advantage of the full breadth of capabilities.
Susie (Moderator) 44:43
And Chris, can you speak a little about your 98% reliability number, how you measure that when we hear a bit about reliability issues with EV chargers.
Chris Vargas 44:55
so that’s measuring it you know, on a daily basis and the actual ability to deliver a charge to the driver. That’s how its measured. So our capability to do that on a daily hourly basis is how it’s measured.
Susie (Moderator) 45:11
Okay. And Zach, I think I mean, you touched on this a bit, but which network shows most accurate availability of individual chargers to consumers at the moment?
Zach Kowalski 45:22
Yeah, I think this question is referring more to, if I’m an EV owner, how do I get how do I get the best access to see any charger that’s out there that can, that I can use to connect and as an EV owner, myself, I drive a Tesla, you know, the Tesla charging networks, great, not always available. And, and frankly, I struggle a bit with finding what my alternative options are. And, you know, this ties back to one of the earlier questions about seeing a charger that might show up on the map, but it’s, it’s not available to the public on on a weekend, or it’s not available after hours. So, you know, I think overall in the space, that’s something that as a consumer, I would like to see addressed, I think it’s why connectivity, again, going back to why connectivity is so important. That type of data ultimately, is required and necessary to feed the customer, you know, it’s planning a trip as an EV owner can can be can be a bit of a stressful thing, if you’re planning a far trip and, and if you plan on on location X, there and that charge is not working or not online, you literally might be stuck, right, you might not have enough charge to get to the next one. So it’s really important that this information is not only transmitted back, but that there’s the right type of sharing and the right type of availability of this to to consumer.
Susie (Moderator) 46:46
And how are companies like Wawa and Quickcheck, looking at scaling up, EV charging relative to their existing gasoline platforms?
Zach Kowalski 46:59
We’re seeing this in a lot of different ways. I don’t think many have settled on a strategy, yet, as far as how they’re going to scale and how they’re going to match what they’re doing on the gasoline side to the EV side. You know, I think there’s still a bit of a question mark as far as who? Who’s going to be providing them who’s responsible? Right? And are the companies like Wawa or QuickTrip or or others across the country? Are they going to be the ones providing that? Are they going to partner with others who are going to provide that? So from, from our perspective, it’s still, you know, a bit early, I think utility companies are still trying to figure out where they play in the space and what their long term strategy is. So we’re seeing a lot of different approaches. I don’t think many of these have really fully committed to what their long term strategy for addressing this is.
Chris Vargas 47:55
Yeah, it’s definitely the crux of the infrastructure issue is, you know, these longer trips, right, and these corridors to provide the charging, and how they’re going to do that. Because, you know, the problem is, is electricity capacity, you know, if you’re going to put them in, you know, gas stations across the US is what kind of capacity they haven’t put a level three charger there. And then number two is the service ability of that charger, level three chargers require maintenance, right, regular maintenance. And so being able to service those is definitely part of the issue in terms of the infrastructure. So that is the crux of it, in terms of how do you, you know, continue to build this out, that enables these long trips. Now, of course, in the US, you know, basically, the average, you know, drive miles per day is around 30 miles. So you’re not running into this infrastructure corridor issue when you’re charging at home, you know, and then of course, hence the be able to charge with the Office of homes is really critical. And single family homes do not have that problem, right? You know, there is no there aren’t we get some ways to help out. I don’t want to assume that everybody can afford to put a charger in their home. But there are definitely rebates and incentives to help folks out do that. But the issue being is large apartment communities. This is where this is where the you know, the obstacle is in being able to provide that to all these communities is critical. And that’s our focus, quite frankly.
Susie (Moderator) 49:41
And how do you tackle a location where a carrier doesn’t have any coverage or the physical location does not have coverage such as an underground parking garage?
Chris Vargas 49:53
So again, that goes that relates back to each building each property there, there’s snowflakes and providing the kind of RF architecture that allows for that, you know, with underground parking, you know, we can, you know, they can start to charge by, you know, scanning their, you know, their QR and initiate that charge. And then when they get outside, you know, the garage and they have connectivity, then they can see the charge has been initiated and started. So, there are ways around that connectivity issue, but it is all about each property and how you enable connectivity to them. So, there’s not one answer to that question. But yes, there are going to be, you know, issues with dead spots out there in terms of connectivity. But, you know, back in with Zack said, we were not going to rely on, you know, the on site Wi Fi, that doesn’t make sense in terms of being able to manage the network into and and when something goes wrong there who whose fault is it who you point at, um, you really need to manage that network end to end. It’s also a reason why we’ll use dual SIM cards in cases, you know, so one network, you know, stronger than the other, they can fail over, you know, during maintenance, Windows maintenance, when those happen, security is forced, right? So being able to failover to the other sim card to continue, you know, with connectivity for people charging is, is another solution, but it’s just not really one size fits all, not a simple question to answer.
Susie (Moderator) 51:26
Right, and I guess sort of leading on from that, are there any infrastructures that you think properties need to be implementing today? So they’re not struggling to catch up later? Or is that still the jury’s out on that?
Chris Vargas 51:40
Yeah, if you look at, if you look at new builds, right, if you’re thinking about building, you know, our community of commercial building, a hotel is, you know, contacted provider and in discuss, you know, what types of infrastructure that you would require right to build out now, you don’t necessarily have to build out, you know, 100 chargers, maybe build out 20 Just, you know, step outs now, and then, and then add on later. But it’s, it’s really contacting the provider help you through that design in advance is really important. Now, you know, if you’re an existing infrastructure that supports is different, you have to look at the most economical builds as well, too. You know, we talked about, you know, building out over 15,000 chargers, you know, over 90% of those have been completely covered by incentives, that’s changing, incentives are going away, that money is going away. So, you know, the time is really now even though the demand isn’t quite there, and others, we have the major California, so that’s not an issue with the demand isn’t there in other areas, but the time is now to react to this, to these incentives that are there. So you can help, you know, build out that infrastructure, but once again, is get, you know, get a hold of a provider in your area that you know, I really believe in the turnkey, to be able to manage it from end to end. And they can help you through that planning process. It’s really important to do that.
Susie (Moderator) 53:12
Great, thank you so much. So I think that brings us to the end of our Q&A here today. Before we go, I’d like to thank Kajeet for sponsoring today’s event. And thank you to the second Chris, for joining us and for the informative discussion. Just a reminder that this webinar will be available on demand starting tomorrow. So please feel free to come back and review it. Have a great day. And thank you for joining us.
Zach Kowalski 53:36
Thank you everyone.
Chris Vargas 53:37