Marcy Bauer, senior vice president of program delivery for Evgo joined our IE Cleantech Corner webinar series for “Ending Range Anxiety.” During this webinar, she shared current trends impacting the adoption and accessibility of electric vehicles and charging stations with Mary-Catherine Gray, an IE Cleantech Corner student intern. This post shares some of Marcy’s insights about the prospect of electrifying fleets and the impact of battery innovation on reducing range anxiety. We invite you to watch the complete “Ending Range Anxiety” webinar.
Marcy Bauer: EVgo is the largest public fast-charger company in the US. We have over 800 charging stations in 34 states and 66 major metro markets. Tesla chargers can only charge Tesla vehicles, so it’s not what we would consider broadly public. EVgo chargers typically feature two ports, the CHAdeMO plug and the CCS Combo plug. We also include a Tesla connector with our chargers as well so that all vehicles are able to charge at EVgo chargers. Pushing a bit further into EV Charging 101, there are different speeds which we call levels. Level one is the slowest, and it can be accomplished by plugging the charger into any 110/120-volt outlet that isn’t overloaded with other demands. This level will take 20+ hours to charge the standard EV. Level two charging requires a different receptacle. It is more like a dryer outlet that can be used with the car’s standard charger. This level will take 4 to 8+ hours, depending on the type of level two charger installed and how fast the vehicle can take the charge. Finally, level three, or DC fast-charging, is more on the order of minutes rather than hours to charge your vehicle. This level involves more of an install as it’s not something that you would put in your garage. It requires a sizable piece of equipment that is rather expensive, and it is very dangerous to work with unless a professional installs it.
Mary-Catherine: What was your path to becoming the Senior VP of EVgo? What does growth look like in EVgo’s employment profile?
Marcy Bauer: I have been with EVgo for over six years. I started off doing mostly site development and a little bit of engineering construction, meaning I was going out and finding site hosts that were willing and interested in hosting our chargers. I negotiated terms and executed agreements with them. I would then find contractors to come up with a design and then manage those contractors through to the completion of the installation. From there, I began to shift a little bit more into market analysis and OM support, and I was managing those programs and accounts with automakers and different funding programs. Next, I grew into the program delivery role where I had a site development team and a large group of people reporting up to me. All levels of management are extremely focused on professional development within the ranks of EVgo. My path is not necessarily super unique, except for the fact that I’ve been there for so long. We have had movement just in these past few weeks of those transitioning from site development over into business development so that they can get a little bit more diverse experience under their belt.
Mary-Catherine: What charging infrastructure has been installed for fleets?
Marcy Bauer: There are different segments of fleets that need different solutions. For example, local transit involves short, frequent trips with medium or heavy-duty vehicles while metro delivery fleets would need something completely different due to the fact that they are putting on a lot more miles. Lastly, municipal light-duty fleets may largely park overnight. It’s not just different charging speeds or layouts but also geography and amenities that might need to be factored in. For municipal fleets and transit buses, they will be coming back to a depot. They won’t need to worry about bathrooms, snacks, or coffee because it is already integrated into employee break rooms or at home. On the other hand, electrified rideshare needs to put crazy miles on their vehicles, and transit routes are unpredictable. When the fleets are in need of charging, they need a fast-charging option as well as the appropriate amenities available. Thus, depending on the type of fleet, the charging infrastructure is different.
Mary-Catherine: What are your views on charging by the minute and how it will potentially look years down the road?
Marcy Bauer: I really don’t think it’s going to be very long before we see charging by the minute mandated. There are already some ripples of that coming out of California, and we typically follow in California’s footsteps. The issue with doing universal charging by the minute right now is that different states set up their utility regulations in different ways. If an EV charger company tries to charge by kilowatt hour, then it might find itself being regulated as a utility. That’s one of the reasons why you still see per minute charging out there. Additionally, this type of charging incentivizes people to move along once their battery is getting full. The current hold up is that regulators are still learning due to the fact that they are used to measuring units of gasoline and Diesel. Weighing and documenting the measurement of an electron is a little bit different for them.
Mary-Catherine: Where are EVgo’s charging stations and have you come across any problems buying property for them to be installed?
Marcy Bauer: Our chargers can be located on our websites as well as on our mobile app. PlugShare is another really popular charger locator service that chargers populate live into, so it’ll tell you if the charger is in use or available. It also provides you information about charge speed and where to find the infrastructure in the parking lot. We find the locations where we want to install chargers by looking for places that people want to go anyway, and we make sure that the charging speed correlates to that specific location. For example, it’s going to match the average grocery shopping experience so that people can go inside for 30 minutes and then return to a fully charged car. We do not typically purchase this property. Instead, we work with property owners and bring these amenities to them in a hassle-free way. Ultimately, we end up sharing the customers by serving new and loyal customers.
Mary-Catherine: Do you have plans to pair solar power with charging stations, and if so, how will this be made into a reality?
Marcy Bauer: Our network is the first one to make the commitment and actually deploy 100% renewable power, and it has been for over two years. Therefore, no matter where you’re plugging in at an EVgo charger, it’s renewable power. We’re encouraging the utility markets to move more renewable as well so that it is more direct overtime. However, in the meantime, we’ve committed to making sure one way or another that we don’t set the customer up to make that hard choice between electric and gas. In terms of pairing solar directly with EV charging, solar works the best when it has a flat, oriented surface to point at the sun and collect solar rays and turn them into energy. We strongly encourage our retail partners to put solar panels on their roofs and on their parking garages as it makes it easier for us to achieve 100% renewable energy.
Mary-Catherine: Where exactly is the power coming from? What is the dynamic like with your different partnerships? Is it the same in different states or do each have unique challenges? In North Carolina, how do you sell power without third party sales?
Marcy Bauer: States are increasingly allowing exemptions for EV charging because these networks are not utilities, and they should not be regulated like utilities. We need either the legislative or the administrative rule to make sure that we don’t wind up being litigated as one. All of the charging networks are in the same boat. Some have a greater threshold of risk tolerance to roll the dice and see if utility lawyers come their way. Fortunately, changes are happening state-by-state. Around 30 states have passed some sort of law or administrative rule to carve out exemptions for EV charging. Once we have that level of confidence in North Carolina, we can transition to KWH pricing. In areas where utilities are upgrading their power, we are able to go much faster and deploy more broadly. In areas where the commercial market can’t make the business case to go into those places, it’s really hard to convince board members and potential future stockholders to accept expensive installs. EVgo doesn’t usually welcome direct competition from utilities in markets where we’re already doing well. We need help from utilities on EV-specific charging rates.
Mary-Catherine: As the webinar title indicates, range anxiety is a problem that people are concerned with. How has EVgo addressed this issue?
Marcy Bauer: We have a roaming agreement with ChargePoint, so our customers can access level 2 chargers out in public places. Our roaming partnership with them allows our customers to roam seamlessly between ChargePoint and EVgo. Furthermore, we have one of the longest standing partnerships on electrified rideshare. At one point, we had over a thousand electrified rideshare vehicles in a fleet roaming across the EVgo network. In markets covered by fast-charging, it is just a matter of a mental shift. Once you know where the chargers are, the locations become second-nature. We are deploying chargers where people want and need them in mass numbers. In the near future, we will be tripling our network. Fortunately, we are also seeing longer and longer ranges come out of car manufacturers.
Mary-Catherine: What makes EVgo stand out from other charging station companies?
Marcy Bauer: EVgo runs an owner operator model, meaning that we own the charger and have full responsibility from start to finish. We can find the highest quality and most appealing locations for our chargers because we aren’t selling them to people, and they are in high demand. EVgo takes reliability super seriously. It has a very strong reputation for up-time and great customer scores. We also have long-standing partnerships with all the major players, including Nissan, Ford, and BMW. Additionally, we work closely with the manufacturers of EV chargers to ensure that the chargers match customer expectations.
Written by Mary-Catherine Gray, Class of 2023 who is majoring in business administration and hispanic linguistic major with a minor in sustainability studies.