The electric vehicle (EV) boom is well underway with sales expected to hit 41 million by 2040, according to a recent report. In fact, EV sales have increased by 42 percent globally since 2015, and EVs may become the economical car choice of the future due to public subsidies and falling battery prices.
With 400,000 EVs already on the road in the U.S., the need for a large network of charging stations is growing.
ChargePoint not only operates the world’s largest network of EV charging stations, but also designs, builds and supports the technology that powers their stations. ChargePoint is continuing to expand globally, and is working to complete the West Coast Electric Highway, which will connect British Columbia to Baja California.
In addition to the consumer market, ChargePoint sees corporate fleet EVs as a potential game changer of the future, and they are preparing new products to cater to the specific needs of commercial fleet operators.
Field Service Digital spoke with Mike Talley, vice president of services and support, to learn more about how ChargePoint is hiring to keep up with demand, its plans to support rapid expansion, and the latest technologies its techs are using to service charging stations.
What types of technologies does ChargePoint design and build?
Mike Talley: The most important thing to know is that all of our charging stations are networked. Our charging stations are essentially smartphones with the capability to charge an electric vehicle. The stations communicate to our cloud platform, which gives ChargePoint, our station owners, our drivers/members, our customer support team and our field service technicians visibility and manageability of our charging stations.
While our charging stations are already built as an advanced piece of hardware, future capabilities and features are future-proofed because we can remotely upgrade them with simple software changes over our network.
How is ChargePoint hiring as its network of charging stations expands?
MT: Like most organizations, we have a very detailed view of the types and quantity of issues that arise with our charging stations. We closely track driver-related issues, station usage instruction, and frequently asked questions. Based on the contact rates and types of calls, we hire and train staff to maintain very high levels of service.
What types of techs does ChargePoint hire to service these stations?
MT: The types of technicians we hire are dependent on need at the time of hire. We employ a three-level technical escalation model. Most of our remote support staff are trained up to levels 2 to 3, which requires advanced technical skills related to wireless networking, commercial electrical infrastructure and engineering, advanced knowledge of our products, and, of course, great troubleshooting and customer skills. Our field support technicians are required to be certified electricians.
What does the future of EVs and charging stations look like?
MT: With more than 28,000 charging spots in North America, there’s still a need for more charging stations to support the current EVs already on the road. Most EV charging takes place where the car is parked. Just like someone plugs in their smartphone everywhere they go, the same will be true for charging an EV. One only needs to look at the number of car makers who have all-electric and plug-in electric vehicles coming to the market to see that EVs are here to stay and will grow at an alarming rate.