By: André ten Bloemendal is VP – Europe for ChargePoint
Today, Software as a Service (SaaS) is a well-established and proven business model. Although it seems like a lifetime ago, cloud services and networked computing weren’t always ubiquitous. Far from it. In those technological dark ages, software upgrades were a painstaking process that usually resulted in compatibility issues, endless troubleshooting and countless hours of lost productivity. On top of that, hardware often had to be upgraded to accommodate new software or vice versa. Even within organisations that had the luxury and resources to host on-prem solutions, upgrading was a fraught process. Inevitably, by the time everyone was finally more or less on the latest version, a new feature or security patch would be introduced, and the entire process would have to begin again.
SaaS for Electric Vehicle Charging
It’s perhaps ironic then that the technology powering the next generation of transport—electric vehicle service equipment (EVSE)—has found itself mired in the past amidst a patchwork of incompatible solutions, non-networked stations and costly barriers to entry. My company, ChargePoint, intends to rectify that as we introduce ChargePoint as a Service® (CPaaS) in Europe. CPaaS is an all-inclusive subscription scheme that makes it easy and cost-effective for any organisation to provide a network of smart, integrated fueling solutions to business, fleets, cities and drivers.
The EV Fueling Network of the Future, Today
Since 2007, ChargePoint has been designing and building an industry-leading electric fueling network. Because we started back before there was a single mass-market electric vehicle (EV) on the road, we’ve a bit of experience innovating. ChargePoint pioneered global charging and peer-to-peer roaming, so it’s little wonder we’re amongst those leading the effort to help promote the mass-adoption of EVs through access to advanced, affordable and smart EV charging solutions. CPaaS provides orgnisations with everything they need to get started at a reduced cost: installation, hardware, software and expert services with full warranty coverage. Automatic software updates and hardware upgrades mean their entire charging investment is future proof as well.
Removing Barriers to Entry
Because ChargePoint retains the physical ownership of the stations, ChargePoint as a Service significantly reduces the cost of entry into EV charging. Customers pay a monthly subscription fee only for the features they need today. Affordable monthly 3 and 5-year plans allow them to add services as demand increases as well. Professional guidance, site planning, installation, configuration and proactive monitoring are all included in the subscription price. Also, rather than investing capital expenses (CAPEX) for charging infrastructure as is most often the case companies are able to use annual operating expenses (OPEX) for EV charging infrastructure instead.
Democratising EV Charging in Europe
To accelerate the mass adoption of electric vehicles, EV charging must be available, affordable and predictable. With CPaaS, ChargePoint is helping democratise electric fueling in Europe. It will help bring EV charging out of the dark ages by making it accessible to everyone. Because of the low up-front investment, CPaaS lets businesses allocate time and capital where it’s most needed, allowing them to take advantage of the new revolution in transport at the lowest possible cost. As one North American CPaaS customer said, “We were interested in installing EV charging…but weren’t interested in getting into the EV charging business.”
The benefits of the “as a Service” pricing model for business are time-tested and obvious. By providing comprehensive EV charging solutions to customers, employees, residents and the public without purchasing them outright, organisations of all sizes are empowered to be part of the e-mobility revolution, as well as the solution to climate change and pollution across the globe. As with other innovations we rely on every day, the advantages of the CPaaS model for electric fueling will become so obvious, the world will look back in wonder at a time before it existed.