For the EV revolution to be inevitable, it needs to be easy
By Andreas Lips
One year ago, I arrived with my family in California to take on my role as CEO of Greenlots. In that year, the electric mobility revolution has taken off. We’ve seen frequent commitments from companies and governments to electrify transportation and reduce carbon emissions – from personal vehicles to mass transit to commercial truck fleets.
When I hear these commitments, I get excited about the future. As part of the e-mobility industry, we at Greenlots recognize the real-world benefits to individuals, businesses, and our planet. EVs can reduce total cost of ownership for fleet operators, reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, and even reduce road noise pollution. E-mobility innovation plays a vital role in society’s transition to zero-emissions.
As exciting as it may be, I suggest that we in the e-mobility industry pair our enthusiasm with a healthy respect for the challenges and barriers to adoption that lie directly in front of our customers today.
The global pandemic has boosted some areas of the economy such as e-commerce, which grew 44% in 2020 and created a surge of last-mile delivery vehicles on U.S. roads. At the same time, it has weakened the economy, and in turn, businesses’ appetite to innovate for fear of financial risk.
For businesses, transitioning fleets to EVs carries certain risks and concerns. One of the biggest concerns is that up-front cost implications aren’t always easy to understand or forecast. While state and federal tax incentives, utility rebates and grants help off-set up-front monetary investments in e-mobility, the process for acquiring these offsets can be difficult to navigate and take significant time.
Another major area of concern for businesses and city leaders centers around maintaining operational continuity during an e-mobility transition, and long after. Planning, installation, and implementation requires time and investment. Employees also need to be retrained to adapt—both to new technologies and new ways of working.
Greenlots strives to make the transition to an EV future as easy as possible for all that are ready to embrace it and our experience shows that the hurdles to EV adoption can be tackled today. We’ve been able to do this in several ways:
- Greenlots worked with Columbus Yellow Cab, a 93-year old company, to transition its fleet of taxis to electric vehicles, with charging solutions that reduced its total cost of ownership by 50%.
- We helped Volvo LIGHTS make medium- and heavy-duty EV trucking a reality, integrating Greenlots’ SKY software with Volvo’s telematics to balance the needs of the vehicle, facility, and utility grid.
- We’ve also joined Ford in developing solutions to advance the FordPass Charging Network offering to open access to a growing list of charging sites and networks.
How we, as and industry, address our customers’ current challenges will inform future advancement. This dual mindset guides how we innovate at Greenlots. For example, our SKY Software helps customers manage their charging network at scale, providing control over peak load, visibility into and control over network performance, and analytics of station use. Over time, data and predictive analytics will inform future EV charging solutions – all for easier EV adoption and better charging experiences.
As excited as we are about an EV future, no future comes with a guarantee. E-mobility leaders must continue to push innovation forward but ensure that the output of innovation doesn’t come at the expense of education, demonstrated benefits, and solving for the existing challenges of today. The e-mobility revolution feels inevitable right now, but for it to become a reality, it will need to be as easy as possible to embrace.
One year after stepping into my role, I plunged fully into the e-mobility future. I converted our entire “family fleet” of one car and one motorbike to fully electric, and its working. When are you taking the first step?