Collaboration Way Forward for EV Adoption, Says Greenlots

Greg Hyde talks to Scott Fisher, vice-president of market development at Greenlots, about the current direction of the EV sector in the US.

Despite conflicting evidence on the potential environmental benefits and disadvantages of electric cars, there seems to be an unending glut of automakers seeking to bolster their eco-friendly credentials with the launch of a new EV and of government authorities and technology companies seeking to improve their public image and profits by developing the infrastructure and tech for these vehicles.

Greenlots is one such company and specializes in the production of charging hardware and software for EVs. In an exclusive interview with TU-Automotive, Fisher said he felt there needed to be far more “visible” EV charging stations than there are currently in order to encourage average consumers, as opposed to just “early adopters”, to buy the cars. However, he also said he was detecting a high degree of political consensus between the US’ private and public sectors, and its two major political parties, on the need for greater adoption of EVs.

Q: What do you see as being the main barriers to adoption of EVs and how do you plan to overcome them?

“We think there’s a general awareness right now that there needs to be at a minimum an amount of charging stations out there capable of meeting sales volumes. We want the charging stations to be visible, and we want people to feel like they’re able to use the charging stations. Consumers need to feel like if they buy an EV, they’re going to be able to charge it.”

“It’s an issue that’s going to be of concern to all potential EV buyers, particularly first-time buyers who haven’t owned one before. Let’s face it, right now, we’re still at the stage where they’re only owned by early adopters. We need to extend the market beyond that demographic. So, charging is a critical facet to adoption. It’s also recognized that charging won’t be done just because the private market will be able to build it. I think what we’re seeing is increased activity around the role in charging that public and private stakeholders can play together. That includes the public sector, utilities, automakers and private companies.”

“I think the biggest obstacle right now is getting all of those ducks in a row to make sure there is, for example, funding from utility commissions for utilities to invest in this equipment and technology. We’re obviously getting that a lot in California but we’re also getting a connection to Ohio. I think what’s significant about it is that we’re starting to see awareness among utilities and utility commissions that there’s an opportunity in places other than the Pacific Coast of the US and that’s critical.”

Q: Do you see differing degrees of adoption between US states as being a red state/blue state issue?

“I don’t really. If you think about the biggest states with wind or solar power, especially wind, there’s a lot of red states like Texas and Iowa. The history of the green technology industry shows that it shouldn’t be a red/blue issue. I think in this case, one difference is that a variety of blue states have adopted the California Air Resources Board (CARB) standards, and those are typically blue states.”

“At the same time, we’re seeing large adoption of EVs in places like Texas and Florida and the south-west. I don’t think that Ohio, which is a purple state that voted for Trump last time, has any hesitancy about the need to invest in charging stations and this technology. I think, a year or two ago, I might have said maybe it was somewhat of a red/blue issue but I think it’s becoming less of a one now.”


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