We are very excited to have ChargePoint as one of our Stakeholders at Denver Metro Clean Cities. ChargePoint works with businesses, fleets and drivers to expand their growing network of electric vehicle (EV) chargers and make charging more accessible for everyone. Ian Markovitz, senior account executive at ChargePoint and Board Treasurer at DMCC, talked with us about his work at ChargePoint and the products and services they offer. Keep reading to hear about how ChargePoint supports their clients, their plans for the future and what they attribute their success to.
Location: Campbell, CA
*Note: The following answers are summarized from an interview with Ian Markovitz from ChargePoint
Can you introduce yourself and what your role is at ChargePoint?
I’m Ian Markovitz and I have worked at ChargePoint for 4 years. I joined back when the company wasn’t so big and EV charging was just a good idea. Now, electric cars are everywhere and there are thousands of charging ports in Colorado and Utah. I work with anyone and everyone that wants to get into car charging – from government entities to restaurants and businesses. My main focus is networking and car charging – the goal is to help people feel comfortable with adding electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) to their property. I do this by helping to dispel myths about charging stations. The number one objection to installing EVSE is a misconception around having a fueling site at location – businesses don’t want lots of cars in their space and don’t consider themselves a fueling station. I help them understand that the charging stations are not like traditional fueling stations. They don’t attract the same kind of traffic that other fuel stations do and each charger doubles as a parking space, so there is no need to set aside a chunk of property to put in the fueling stations. Working with people to install EVSE is a ton of work, but it is very gratifying.
What products/services does ChargePoint offer to support EV drivers? How about businesses?
For EV drivers, our support is simple and straightforward. People can find stations using Google Maps, Apple Maps and even Apply Car Play. Our website is very user friendly and easy to navigate, making charging and driver experience better. Plus, drivers have access to ChargePoint home, where they can connect to and control their home charger, which is increasingly convenient as we have noticed an immense rise in home charging.
For our businesses, our support looks a little different, and varies depending on the business. We offer 24/7 phone support on the ChargePoint network and we accept various forms of payment — mobile app, RFID card, contactless credit card, tap to pay and more. If someone is interested in getting a fueling site, they can start a session over the phone and we can help them figure out their individual needs. Interaction with businesses is captured in the owner experience of chargers – the less familiar they are with the process the more guidance and support is necessary. Owning ChargePoint is an investment – we can help businesses understand what that investment looks like and what will work best for them. It’s exciting to see that public charging stations are growing in popularity; people are changing their work and commute habits to include charging their cars.
Colorado has the 5th highest number of chargers per capita and ChargePoint has a lot to do with that. Can you tell us a little about what you have going on here and what it took to get here? What’s next?
There is no secret to hard work, it’s just hard. We work long hours and stay connected to clients and resellers to continue to grow our network. I think the biggest reason we are so successful is the intrinsic properties of ChargePoint: user friendly, beneficial connections, and incentives for early adoption [this has really pushed the needle]. Advocacy for the different EVSE grants is also important – it helps give that extra push to get people to install chargers. Even when there isn’t an active grant, we still have a lot of people installing chargers. Any lulls we have are based on the climate. Since we live in Colorado and we do get cold, snowy winters, there is less of a rush to install chargers in the winter months. However, installations don’t drop to zero when it gets cold. We even have people installing product in the middle of winter in Vail. Overall, there is a healthy flow of projects annually. People are excited!
We are looking forward to the future and what it will bring. The Colorado Energy Office recently released an RFA for EV plazas, so we are looking into that. We want to install high speed charging throughout the Denver metro area to give access to people who don’t have charging at home. We are also hoping to work with Uber and Lyft to help them with their plans to add electric ride sharing to their business – they already have 20+ Kia Niros in their fleet.
As a Denver Metro Clean Cities Board Member, how has your partnership helped you achieve your sustainability goals?
Not so much sustainability goals as much as outreach goals, but Denver Metro Clean Cities (DMCC) has been instrumental in helping us demystify initial hurdles around EV adoption as a concept. DMCC has helped us to reach better and more diverse audiences. All the work we have done together has allowed me to take my sales hat off and put on my consult hat [which I like much better] – I get to talk more about charging rather than ChargePoint.
We have a long sales cycle, and it is largely educational. One of the big questions right now is DC fast-charging. There is a misconception about charging quickly and how much we need it. Of course, it’s necessary in certain applications, but the truth is that cars are idle 90% of the time or more. Capturing idle time for fueling is much easier with EVs. A distributed network of level 2 chargers is more useful than a network of DC fast-chargers – the challenge is having to explain conceptually why this works. For example, I ask people how frequently they get gas. Often the answer is once every couple of weeks. Then I ask how they would feel about being able to continuously top off throughout the week. Most people love the idea of not having to take time out of their day to fill up at a gas station. This is why level 2 chargers are so important; they allow people to “fill up” their cars while they are busy doing other things, like working or sleeping, and uses the idle time of the car effectively.
What is your typical day like?
Typical has certainly changed over last year. Before 2020, my day was very much in the field in front of clients walking sites. However, 2020 was not a typical year. Some of my days include site walks, following up with customers, supporting customers, answering questions and helping with grant applications. Other days includes showing up for DMCC, attending panels, doing business transactions, and Requests for Proposals (RFPs). It’s really a mixed bag, every day is very different.
What else would you like to talk about that we haven’t touched on yet?
Honestly, we’ve pretty much covered everything. The more chargers we get out there the better. I really believe in our company and our product and I want to see more people driving electric cars. ChargePoint makes driving EVs easy.