Inside ChargePoint | February 7, 2019
At ChargePoint, Prepare to Be Inspired Every Day
At the dawn of the era of human-powered flight, Amelia Earhart marveled at her good fortune to have “popped into existence at a period so interesting.” Today, with new technological advancements popping into existence every day, the awe-inspiring can sometimes feel downright mundane. After all, that smartphone in your pocket has more computing power than all of NASA had a half century ago—and they were still able to land human beings on the moon! But, even with all the innovations, when was the last time you felt like Earhart did back in 1928, that you were living on the cusp of a brand-new era? Get ready, because you are!
Mobility as we know it is currently undergoing a massive transformation. With the transportation sector contributing the largest share of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the planet requires alternate ways of moving people and goods around our roads and highways. The good news: it's happening faster than you may think. Municipalities, businesses and automakers have read the writing on the wall and it points to an electric future. Even former skeptics are throwing in the towel on the internal combustion engine (ICE) in favor of electric vehicles (EVs). What’s more exciting than living through a time of such monumental and meaningful change? Helping to build it.
We were the first (and still only) EV charging network to take NFC capabilities and apply them to access control within the ChargePoint App.
At ChargePoint, our engineers are building the fueling network of the future (and we’re looking for folks to join us). People will fuel their zero-emission cars at work or home, at times that benefit their schedules and their pocketbooks. Others will take advantage of all-electric buses or plug-in EV (PEV) rideshare and autonomous options to complete their daily commutes or run errands in the smart cities of tomorrow. The technology that’s driving that change exists today—and there’s a good chance that ChargePoint system developers had a hand in creating it.
Consider just a few of our industry-leading innovations:
Why invest in EV charging if you can’t see how it helps you achieve your business or sustainability goals? We pioneered networked stations with real-time data, so managers can review station usage and status, approve driver requests and see and respond to feedback, all from an intuitive dashboard at their desk. By providing actionable data, businesses can understand customer and employee behavior and make changes accordingly.
Tap to Charge
We were the first (and still only) EV charging network to take NFC capabilities (designed for payment) and apply them to access control within the ChargePoint App. Rather than carrying around a separate card, thanks to our dev team, EV drivers can simply tap their smartphone to unlock a station and begin a charging session. On Android phones, we take advantage of the HCE technology to present a NEMA card to the charging station for authorization, while on iPhone and iWatch devices we use Apple VAS (Value Added Services) framework to create a ChargePoint pass that is presented to the charging station. Our app is so good, in fact, our drivers often cite it as their favorite way to start a charging session (one reason the App Store designated it as “App of the Day” in the fall of 2018).
ChargePoint Power Management software uses customizable algorithms to intelligently share power among stations so cars charges as fast as possible, without ever exceeding the rated electrical capacity for the site. Utilities can also reduce the load on the electric grid in a particular area during peak times by using the Open ADR APIs provided from our cloud services to reduce the maximum power delivered to a charging station. Our panel sharing feature allows station owners to install more charging stations than those that can be supported by the electrical panel. Using intelligent adaptive algorithms, our cloud software manages the load on these charging stations so as not to exceed the panel capacity. Businesses and fleet managers can use Power Management to schedule charging to avoid expensive utility demand charges while making sure vehicles are always available when they’re needed. Drivers will receive notifications that their vehicle may be charging slower than usual, yet still be confident that their car will receive a full charge.
When a charging spot is busy, EV drivers can simply use the app or tap in at a station to get in line to charge, regardless of whether they’re at home, on their commute or pulling into the lot. Drivers simply choose the charging stations they want to use from their ChargePoint driver account and are notified when it’s their turn to charge. We make it convenient for drivers to be added to the Waitlist either from the station or from their account on our cloud. When an EV driver's turn comes up, her avatar is displayed on the station screen so she can easily identify her reserved spot. Waitlist also prompts drivers to move as soon as their vehicles are charged, while notifying waiting drivers that a charging spot has opened up. This helps discourage squatting behaviors and gives everybody the opportunity to “fill up.” Drivers can even set up Waitlist so they’re automatically added to a queue every day, which can be particularly helpful in the workplace.
A great tool for businesses such as hotels or performance venues, Valet’s simple map view provides a clear picture of the charging status of vehicles that are currently plugged in and which spots are available, making it easy for valet attendants to identify available charging spots and to switch out vehicles that have finished charging for those in need.
While pundits and politicians may still squabble over the science, most governments and businesses around the world have shifted gears and are moving forward to a clean energy future. That reminds us of something else Amelia Earhart said: “Never interrupt someone doing something you said couldn’t be done.” It was great advice then and it is great advice now—especially as we enter this new age of e-mobility. Join us!