Where Do I Plug In My Electric Car?

Without plenty of charging stations, electric vehicles won’t find mass acceptance. That’s where ChargePoint steps in.

Rex Moore
Rex Moore
Apr 5, 2014 at 5:33PM

For electric vehicles to gain mass acceptance, there must be a seamless charging infrastructure in place. Some countries are well ahead of the U.S. in this space, but California-based ChargePoint is doing its best to change that.

The company is partnered with many major automakers, including Ford (NYSE:F), General Motors (NYSE:GM). Many of these vehicles can guide you directly to a charging station that's not currently being used. On the other side of the equation, ChargePoint counts thousands of businesses and municipalities as a partner -- pretty much anyone with a parking lot is a potential customer.

ChargePoint was at this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. In this video, CEO Pat Romano chats with the Fool's Rex Moore about his company -- which has a 70% share of all networked public charging stations, and operates on four continents.

A full transcript follows the video.

Pat Romano: ChargePoint is in the business of providing charging infrastructure to companies that want to offer charging to employees and customers, in parking lots. Any business that has a parking lot is a potential customer of ours.

Even though we look like a hardware company, we're primarily a subscription cloud services company, where we take care of everything necessary to offer charging services to drivers so the businesses that put these in don't have to worry about payment, managing the device, setting up who can access the device or not -- it's a few mouse clicks on a website.

It's just super simple for someone to offer charging services -- because remember, this is not the primary business of the buildings that are on these parking lots. The primary business is something else; selling you food, selling you ... whatever place you work.

The second thing that we do is we view drivers as a customer, as well. Although we don't charge drivers anything directly for being part of ChargePoint and carrying a card and having an account, we collect money from drivers on behalf of these station owners.

So, if the station owner wants to charge for charging -- they can offer it for free -- but if they want to charge something, we deal with collecting the money from the driver's credit card and giving it to the station, or making that whole process super simple.

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What it looks like is a crowd-funded network, in that every little business that has a parking lot buys the infrastructure, subscribes to ChargePoint, and the drivers see it as one unified network. That's what we do.