The Business of Charging | 1/21/2021

Partner Voices: A Conversation With SP+ Chief Growth Officer Jeff Eckerling


Team ChargePoint

Jeff Eckerling, Chief Growth Officer, SP+

ChargePoint partner SP+ helps its clients, including airports, event venues, offices and multifamily communities, facilitate “the efficient movement of people, vehicles and personal belongings.” The company provides technology-driven mobility solutions for ground transport, event logistics, parking management and more for its business and government clients across North America. In 2020, SP+ chose to partner with ChargePoint to expand the company’s electric vehicle (EV) charging program.

At the time, SP+ Chief Growth Officer Jeff Eckerling said, “We chose ChargePoint because they match our commitment to accommodating the future demand for e-mobility, which supports the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions,” noting that ChargePoint’s networked solutions help the company both remotely manage charging stations and track the progress of SP+’s sustainability goals. ChargePoint integrates SP+’s consumer-facing app Parking.com “to allow EV drivers to easily find, reserve, park and identify locations to charge their vehicles.”

We called Jeff to find out how things are going since SP+ began rolling out ChargePoint solutions at its facilities across the country

What are you seeing with regard to utilization?

Historically there’s been both Level 2 and Level 3 (DC fast) charging in facilities we operate across the country. Outside of California, more often than not, those charging stations were not occupied, and so historically, we’ve seen low utilization. What we see now is that this is going to change. There’s more and more demand from tenants and residents in both the commercial and residential spaces where we manage parking.

ChargePoint DC fast solution at SP+ facility

Speaking of residential, at ChargePoint we’ve seen an increase in home and multifamily property charging as more people work from home. Are you seeing the same thing?

A lot of property owners are looking at this thinking, “How do I make money with it versus offering it as an amenity?” and deciding it’s an amenity you have to give in those environments. For us, we’re thinking about charging as key for the future. These facilities will be mobility hubs with charging as part of that and, potentially, last mile delivery too. Because last mile can be so time-consuming due to all the necessary stops on a typical delivery route, charging stations included at these hubs can speed the process significantly. That’s why a partnership with ChargePoint, as a leader in the space, made a lot of sense for us. We really wanted to make it as turnkey as possible for our teams around the country.

That’s why a partnership with ChargePoint, as a leader in the space, made a lot of sense for us. We really wanted to make it as turnkey as possible for our teams around the country. – Jeff Eckerling, Chief Growth Officer, SP+

How does ChargePoint help SP+ manage charging at such a complex array of properties?

Preparing for the wave of EVs is going to have a big impact on our facilities and what we do. Through our partnership with ChargePoint, we’re going to be able to create value for both companies and for SP+ clients. As big as we are, it just becomes easier from a procurement, installation and legal perspective. We want to be able to leverage our size and scale to get the best possible pricing and also be as efficient as possible internally to manage a partnership. That’s really where our partnership team comes into play, executing these national agreements that really help drive value for us and our clients. ChargePoint as a Service makes a lot of sense to us.

Preparing for the wave of EVs is going to have a big impact on our facilities and what we do. Through our partnership with ChargePoint, we’re going to be able to create value for both companies and for SP+ clients. – Jeff Eckerling, Chief Growth Officer, SP+

Can you talk some more about how ChargePoint as a Service (CPaaS) benefits SP+?

As soon as we were aware of the subscription model, it made a ton of sense for us. One of the barriers we had in getting adoption was prior business models, which were based on having to actually purchase the EV station. That would become a gating issue. It works well for our clients to pay a monthly fee as opposed to paying for the assets and not having to worry about maintenance and upgrades. Without [CPaaS], I don’t know that we would have entered into the partnership. This business model fits very well with how we run our business and work with our clients.

2020 was a challenging year for a lot of businesses. What trends do you expect to see with regard to EV charging moving forward?

Parking facilities are not going away. If anything, we're going to probably see an increase in parking activity as we come out of the pandemic. I still think our facilities are going to become these mobility hubs and, in a mobility hub, parking is part of that. You could have last-mile delivery and charging be part of that too. All of the major car companies are making EVs, so there’s going to be more demand for charging. And it’s not just going to be charging at a single-family home; it’s going to be charging at a lot of the types of facilities we operate, whether they’re at universities, commercial buildings, residential buildings, airports or for employees. I think there’s a whole host of opportunities for us as it relates to charging.

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