JustThinking with Mike Strahlman - Building FleetCharge

We sit down with Mike Strahlman, our Director of EV, to talk about the main problems fleet businesses face when planning their transition to electric vehicles.

Developing an exclusive charging network for fleet businesses wanting to electrify

We sit down with Mike Strahlman, our Director of EV, to talk about the main problems fleet businesses face when planning their transition to electric vehicles. Read on to learn more and how our FleetCharge solution can help solve these problems and accelerate your road to electrification.

  • What has been your career’s experience in EV ecosystems so far?

I first started within EV ecosystems with Shell - I was their first Integration Director for buying new energies businesses in 2017 & 2018. At that time, Shell bought NewMotion, which is the European charge point operator and device manufacturer, and I led the integration of that company into Shell. This was my first real experience of charging hardware and networks. 

Following that across my subsequent career in both Shell and then Deloitte, I’ve interacted with a number of EV ecosystem players such as battery tech, charging hardware, network connectivity, etc. Now I am heading up JustPark’s expanding EV ecosystem as Director of EV.

  • What does current EV infrastructure look like for fleet businesses?

Broadly speaking for the UK, there exist a number of different types of charging infrastructure which can support fleets on their electrification journey. The predominant options for fleets are public charging networks, destination charging, depots, and home charging.

Public charging networks and destination chargers require drivers to take time out of their working day to find a suitable charger that’s available - which isn’t easy to come by and can waste valuable time. Depots are more reliable for charging, but are not accessible near most drivers homes and require massive investments to install them.

Home charging is more preferable, because drivers can bring their vehicles home with them and park and charge on their own driveways.  They are generally the more reliable and cheapest charging option for fleet drivers.  The issue with this to date has been that a large percentage of UK fleet drivers don’t have their own driveways. This brings us to why we created FleetCharge.

  • How do you see JustPark having a role in improving EV infrastructure?

When we as JustPark look at the EV ecosystem and consider that around 50% of people driving across the UK don’t have access to off-street parking, we see that there’s a material portion of the population that couldn’t have access to private off street chargers. For fleets, based on the fleets we’ve been speaking to, as many of 75% of those drivers who bring their vehicles home don’t have access to off-street charging.

At JustPark we aim to knock down the barriers to fleet electrification through the democratisation of off-street charging and overnight charging for fleet drivers. We say democratise because when you look at the costs to drivers outside of home charging, they are significantly greater. 

This adds to making EV ownership inaccessible to most of the UK population. At-home charging is cheaper and has many additional benefits to the driver themselves, and we believe that this should be available to all drivers.

  • How does FleetCharge help the fleets wanting to electrify?

FleetCharge helps fleets make the switch to EVs for both sides of the coin - the 75% of drivers who don’t have driveways and the 25% of those who do. 

For the 75% of drivers who don’t have driveways, FleetCharge gives them access to what is essentially a ‘proxy driveway’. This is equivalent to their own dedicated overnight charging (and parking!) space that is around 5 minutes from their homes, ensuring a guaranteed charge to the driver at the start of their shift, all whilst taking advantage of 100% renewable energy and exciting (and cost competitive!) energy tariffs.

For the 25% who do have driveways and can take their vehicles home, FleetCharge simplifies the charging installation process. Coupled with our partners, Octopus Energy, these drivers are provided with smart hardware and access to attractive 100% renewable tariffs, allowing fleet drivers to charge their vehicles at home at cost effective rates.

Our research shows that fleet drivers who rely solely on public charging networks spend around 16 hours per month to charge their vehicles - be that utilising the chargers themselves, or finding chargers, queueing, managing in the event of out-of-use devices etc.  This 16 hours equates to material opportunity cost to the driver in taking time out of their day to meet their charging needs.

With our FleetCharge solution, fleet drivers will be guaranteed a full charge, utilising cost-advantaged and renewable electrons, so they are ready for their day; all the while minimising the need for and associated opportunity cost of relying solely on public charging networks.

  • What response have you had from fleet businesses planning to shift to EVs?

We’ve had really exciting demand for the FleetCharge product since launching. What we are seeing from the demand is mainly centred around the solution for the drivers who cannot charge at home - a problem that before FleetCharge had previously been unsolved. 

We are excited and proud to have recently announced our first partner, Addison Lee, which we will support in their incredible electrification ambitions, using FleetCharge to enable the conversion of their fleet to EVs by 2023.

To wrap up

Our FleetCharge solution has solved the main problem fleet businesses face when planning their electrification journeys — a way for 75% of their drivers to park and charge at home. We plan to democratise off-street charging for all drivers and accelerate the rate that fleet businesses can electrify, all whilst minimising the opportunity costs of sole reliance on alternative charging solutions. 

Get in touch to learn how FleetCharge may work for you.

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