Charge+ Offers Subscription Plan For EV Drivers

Last year, the Financial Times named local solar energy company Sunseap, responsible for installing solar panels on the roofs of HDB apartments, among the 50 fastest growing companies in Asia-Pacific.

As the largest renewable energy company here, Sunseap saw green mobility as a natural extension of its offerings and then launched a business arm of green mobility called Charge +.

Although it was created in 2018, Charge + was in “R&D mode” until its official launch in September of last year, CEO Goh Chee Kiong said.

Upon launch, Charge + announced plans to roll out 10,000 electric vehicle (EV) charging points across Singapore by 2030 in the hope that this will be a game-changer by catalyzing the adoption of EVs to Singapore.

The move is also in line with Singapore’s goal of phasing out internal combustion engine vehicles for 100% clean energy vehicles by 2040.

Previously, the government announced that it would significantly expand Singapore’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure, from the current 1,600 charging points to 28,000 by 2030.

That makes Charge + ‘s target of 10,000 EV charging points more than a third of that of the government, which could make the company the largest EV charging provider in Singapore.

Top up in three different markets

load + team
LR: Lawrence Wu, Director, Finance of Charge +; Ong Tze Boon, President of Charge +; Frank Phuan, Director of Charge +; Goh Chee Kiong, CEO of Charge + / Image Credit: Charge +

Charge + currently focuses on three market segments: residential, commercial and industrial, as well as fleets.

It aims to install charging points in public and private housing estates, especially condominiums, so residents can have peace of mind by being able to charge their EVs overnight.

Beyond residential spaces, Charge + also plans to install charging stations in commercial and industrial buildings to serve the workplace market.

In doing so, Charge + also indirectly attracts more visitors to the premises, which benefits tenants, while improving the environmental sustainability of the building.

Finally, Charge + will also be at the service of companies operating fleets of electric vehicles in order to reduce their total cost of ownership.

As the leader in EV charging in Singapore, Charge + aims to make the charging experience convenient, enjoyable and affordable for residents and businesses.

– Goh Chee Kiong, CEO of Charge +

The installation of its charging stations is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2021 in commercial, industrial and residential premises.

They developed the world’s thinnest EV charger

A common challenge facing EV charging providers in Singapore is size.

EV chargers are generally bulky, which means they won’t fit in Singapore’s space-saving parking lots.

charge + ev charger
Ultra-thin charger from Charge + / Image credit: Charge +

This is why Charge + has designed and developed an exclusive ultra-thin charger. At around 150mm – less than half the thickness of other chargers – it allows for plug and play connection in many existing car parks in Singapore.

This form factor, which makes it the thinnest charger in the world, allows Charge + to have maximum freedom to install chargers in parking lots in many high density Asian cities.

– Goh Chee Kiong, CEO of Charge +

Since many parking lots in Singapore have limited localized power supply, Charge + will apply its smart charging solution to allow more chargers to be installed, serving more drivers.

This solution is part of Charge + ‘s cloud-based management system to remotely control and monitor all of its EV chargers nationwide.

Its 7.4 kW chargers can charge two vehicles at a time, and can also adjust the available power supply according to the number of vehicles to be charged.

charge + mobile application
Charge + mobile app / Image credit: Charge +

Plus, EV drivers can easily use the Charge + mobile app to find available chargers, activate charging, and complete payment.

Solve the riddle of the chicken and the egg

In line with its ambition of 10,000 EV charging points, Charge + recently announced its intention to install 4000 EV charging points in 1,200 condominium apartments in Singapore.

According to Chee Kiong, they have received “an overwhelmingly positive response” from the management and residents of many condominiums.

charge + sky eleven
Signing of an event between Charge + and Sky @ Eleven condominium / Image credit: Charge +

Its first partnership is with the Sky @ Eleven condominium, with six charging points to be installed on the premises.

“This confirms the strong pent-up demand for EV adoption among condominium residents who have so far been discouraged by the lack of charging infrastructure at condominium premises,” Chee Kiong said.

He added that Charge + ‘s core business model is’ charge as a service’, in which it will invest, install and operate charging stations for electric vehicles.

“This means no cost and no hassle for the owner partners we work with,” Chee Kiong explained.

With this model, it has generated a lot of interest from many condominiums, as the upfront capital expenses, operating expenses, and risks are all borne by Charge +.

But why does Charge + choose to build EV charging stations for free?

Traditionally, condominiums with residents interested in EVs will consider investing in their own charging station, but most condominiums have so far failed to gain majority support from their residents to make such large investments.

– Goh Chee Kiong, CEO of Charge +

Charging providers who want to build stations in condominiums must first obtain approval from the majority of residents.

This is a daunting task, given that many do not own an EV and therefore are unwilling to pay maintenance costs or abandon their parking lots.

By providing these stations for free, it is essentially an attempt to get residents to approve such investments.

Moreover, the developers also stated that it is more efficient to build a condominium with such EV parking lots instead of installing them later.

Chee Kiong went on to speak of the “chicken and egg conundrum” between potential EV buyers and investments in charging infrastructure.

Once condo residents see a charging station on their doorstep, they would be much more likely to consider taking electric vehicles.

Until the investment occurs, the psychological barrier to adopting EVs remains high.

– Goh Chee Kiong, CEO of Charge +

In other words, drivers will hesitate to adopt EVs until they see a proliferation of charging infrastructure.

Therefore, Charge + aims to solve this problem and to “provide convenience and peace of mind to EV drivers” with its solutions.

Pay about half of what you typically pay for gasoline

EV drivers living in condominiums who choose to use Charge + ‘s charging service will pay a fixed monthly fee on a subscription basis, which is a’ first of its kind ‘for EV charging in Singapore.

They will benefit from the savings made by using this service since the monthly billing fees will be about half of what a driver driving a conventional vehicle will typically spend on gasoline on a monthly basis.

– Goh Chee Kiong, CEO of Charge +

Based on Singapore National Statistics Average Travel Distance data, Singaporean drivers spend nearly S $ 300 per month on gasoline.

This could mean that Charge + would likely charge users a flat fee of around S $ 150 per month so that they could have unlimited access to its EV charging points.

goh chee kiong charge + CEO
Goh Chee Kiong, CEO of Charge + / Image credit: Screenshot from CNA video

Chee Kiong is keeping a low profile on the exact numbers, but revealed that Charge + will finalize and announce their billing fees soon.

When asked to comment on the current electric vehicle landscape in Singapore, Chee Kiong said the EV population is “still tiny,” meaning there was a huge benefit to growth.

Just as automobiles decisively replaced horses about 100 years ago, we believe the EV transition in Singapore is irrevocable and will have a profound impact on our ground transportation scene.

This transition will also generate synergies with adjacencies such as autonomous vehicles and carpooling.

– Goh Chee Kiong, CEO of Charge +

The government has already looked at Singapore’s (missing) EV infrastructure and put in place various incentives to push for EV adoption.

Charge + wants to contribute to this ambition by developing Singapore’s global EV charging infrastructure and lowering the EV / charging point ratio.

Chee Kiong noted that Singapore is already leading the way in Southeast Asia by becoming the first country in the region to announce the phase-out of conventional vehicles.

“With Singapore as the bridgehead, Charge + is now planning our entry into regional markets and becoming a pan-Asian player in EV charging solutions,” he added.

Featured Image Credit: Charge +

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Jothi Venkat

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