the Site Visit

Electrifying Innovations: Exploring the Future of EV Charging Technologies with Chris Ceraldi, Director of Sales at SWTCH

May 24, 2024 Andrew Hansen, James Faulkner, Christian Hamm
Electrifying Innovations: Exploring the Future of EV Charging Technologies with Chris Ceraldi, Director of Sales at SWTCH
the Site Visit
More Info
the Site Visit
Electrifying Innovations: Exploring the Future of EV Charging Technologies with Chris Ceraldi, Director of Sales at SWTCH
May 24, 2024
Andrew Hansen, James Faulkner, Christian Hamm

Send us a Text Message.

Prepare to be electrified by the insights of Chris Ceraldi, as we navigate the high-voltage topic of EV charging network solutions in today's episode. We're charging ahead with a discussion on SWTCH's innovative approaches to integrating EV charging into buildings, a topic that's sparking interest as electric vehicles surge in popularity. Discover how this trailblazer since 2016 is tackling the challenges of load management and power distribution, ensuring that even the buildings of yesterday can keep up with the green revolution of tomorrow.

The landscape of real estate development is undergoing a seismic shift, with EV charging stations transforming from a luxury to a must-have amenity. We explore the economic hurdles and smart strategies that envelop this transformation, including British Columbia's mandate for EV-ready buildings. Learn about the user experience at public charging stations and why charger interoperability is driving forward a more accessible future. As we discuss the integration of these systems into financial planning, you'll gain a front-row seat to the evolving narrative where EV infrastructure meets real-world economics.

We're not just forecasting the advancements in charging hardware and software; we're also pondering the potential of swappable batteries, the integration of solar power, and the game-changing vehicle-to-grid technology. Join us for a power-packed episode that promises to energize your understanding of electric vehicles and the sustainable infrastructure that supports them.

PODCAST INFO:
the Site Visit Website: https://www.sitemaxsystems.com/podcast
the Site Visit on Buzzsprout: https://thesitevisit.buzzsprout.com/269424
the Site Visit on Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/ca/podcast/the-site-visit/id1456494446
the Site Visit on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/5cp4qJE5ExZmO3EwldN1HH

FOLLOW ALONG:
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/thesitevisit
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thesitevisit

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Send us a Text Message.

Prepare to be electrified by the insights of Chris Ceraldi, as we navigate the high-voltage topic of EV charging network solutions in today's episode. We're charging ahead with a discussion on SWTCH's innovative approaches to integrating EV charging into buildings, a topic that's sparking interest as electric vehicles surge in popularity. Discover how this trailblazer since 2016 is tackling the challenges of load management and power distribution, ensuring that even the buildings of yesterday can keep up with the green revolution of tomorrow.

The landscape of real estate development is undergoing a seismic shift, with EV charging stations transforming from a luxury to a must-have amenity. We explore the economic hurdles and smart strategies that envelop this transformation, including British Columbia's mandate for EV-ready buildings. Learn about the user experience at public charging stations and why charger interoperability is driving forward a more accessible future. As we discuss the integration of these systems into financial planning, you'll gain a front-row seat to the evolving narrative where EV infrastructure meets real-world economics.

We're not just forecasting the advancements in charging hardware and software; we're also pondering the potential of swappable batteries, the integration of solar power, and the game-changing vehicle-to-grid technology. Join us for a power-packed episode that promises to energize your understanding of electric vehicles and the sustainable infrastructure that supports them.

PODCAST INFO:
the Site Visit Website: https://www.sitemaxsystems.com/podcast
the Site Visit on Buzzsprout: https://thesitevisit.buzzsprout.com/269424
the Site Visit on Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/ca/podcast/the-site-visit/id1456494446
the Site Visit on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/5cp4qJE5ExZmO3EwldN1HH

FOLLOW ALONG:
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/thesitevisit
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thesitevisit

Speaker 2:

Rainy day today, brutal Stinks. It was sunny just last week. Now it's back to the rain.

Speaker 1:

Like it's really bad today. Yeah, brutal. I was shocked that the seaplanes were actually taken off today. That's how bad it was. Wouldn't want to be a pilot today. No, no, that'd be terrible. And you came in on an Uber.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

From.

Speaker 2:

White. Rock-ish area tunnel Jeez yeah.

Speaker 1:

How much is an Uber from there? 70 bucks, $70. Yeah, wow, not cheap. And then you're going to Tofino after this, going to Tofino Like when, right after this. Is that why you shifted the time on me.

Speaker 2:

I had to Wife's orders.

Speaker 1:

I like it. I have wife's orders. You're like Chris, you can't do. We've got to go to Tofino. Is that what happened?

Speaker 2:

I have two young kids and ferry. Ferry is not easy with kids, plus the drive, and the original ferry was at 345.

Speaker 1:

And that's not going to happen with kids, so you're going to Tawasa.

Speaker 2:

No, Horseshoe Bay.

Speaker 1:

Oh, that's right, because you've got to do an enamel and then three. Exactly. Yeah, Sorry, that's me adjusting my mic stand. Well, that's cool. So Chris Saraldi.

Speaker 2:

Saraldi.

Speaker 1:

Saraldi With a C. Do you ever do the accent? No?

Speaker 2:

Chris Saraldi. No, I wish, I wish Sounds like a race driver. Yeah, that's what I think, right.

Speaker 1:

Welcome to the Site. Visit Podcast, leadership and perspective from construction With your host, james Falkner.

Speaker 2:

Business as usual as it has been for so long now that it goes back to what we were talking about before and hitting the reset button.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, you read, all the books you read the evening you read Scaling Up, you read Good to Great. You know, I could go on. We've got to a place where we found the secret serum.

Speaker 2:

We found the secret potion. We can get the workers in. We know where to get them. One time I was on a job site for a while and actually we had a semester concrete and I ordered a Korean-Finnish patio. Oh fun, did you say, chillers guys? I was down at Dallas and a guy just hit me up on LinkedIn out of the blue and said he was driving from Oklahoma to Dallas to meet with me because he heard the Faber Connect platform on your guys' podcast. And we celebrate these values every single day.

Speaker 1:

Let's get down to it, all right. So, chris, let's talk about Switch, please, all right. So this is a company that was set up with, you know when it was founded 2016, 2016, okay, so that's kind of uh, like not really that early days, but for that kind of thing it is kind of early, right exactly, yeah, we haven't been around long, but long enough in the ev charging world right, okay, so perhaps just give me the the um, the sort of elevator pitch on who your customer is, how this gets involved in construction and development.

Speaker 1:

I mean, you are director of sales for, like, west Coast, north America, north America, wow, so you've got a lot of work to do. A little bit of work, small coverage.

Speaker 2:

We're lucky that BC's got great adoption, ontario's got great adoption, seattle's got great adoption. So a lot of the markets that are closer to me have a lot of great adoption.

Speaker 1:

So, just from, like a cursory view, went through your website over the past couple of days. You know, looking at like the main product, because you guys kind of have this thing it looks more advanced than other stuff. I mean, is that right on product development design? It looks good. It's like like just from the individual EV charger, which is, of course, just the. You know the. The end user experience is a whole bunch of other infrastructure and stuff that has to go on behind the scenes planning, et cetera. Um, so yeah, just I thought that was really impressive. Just looking at it, your website's fantastic. Everything looks good, cool. I'm like that's cool, cool name. I mean, it's all, it's all positive. I like the logo you've got with the uh map pin with the plug in the middle of it. We all get it. Um, so that's awesome. So, um, maybe just provide a. You know where the main lines of business are, where you get your business, how this gets involved in construction and development.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, absolutely, thank you. So Switch, we're a network for EV charging, so you can kind of think of us. You know cell phone, rogers, bell, fido. We're the network that enables EV charging in a building. There's really two main areas that we focus on. First is the load management, so being able to take a certain amount of power in a building and scale that across so multiple people can have EV charging.

Speaker 1:

Okay, yeah, so sometimes circuits are not set up correctly, exactly.

Speaker 2:

Or buildings just weren't built with EV charging in mind. A lot of new buildings are now, but a lot of older buildings. They don't have a lot of power.

Speaker 1:

So is that a hydro authority or a power authority problem?

Speaker 2:

No, it's kind of, but the process of getting EV charging is really difficult. So for a lot of people they don't want to spend thousands of dollars to upgrade their building and it's not worth it. You don't need to. With load management, we can take a certain amount of power and people can share that to charge their car.

Speaker 1:

Oh, I see. Okay, so that makes sense. So would that mean, in its essence, if everybody charges at the same time, do you have to like?

Speaker 2:

you have to stagger.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, exactly, Okay so is there some people want to go charge and is there an X on the display saying you can do that in 15 minutes or 20 minutes when this other stuff's finished?

Speaker 2:

No, not really Like. When we look at buildings, we want to make sure that when we put in one charger in a building and a hundred chargers in a building, that everybody has the ability to charge when they want. Now they may not get the speeds that they want right away, but most of the time they'll be okay.

Speaker 1:

And yeah, in that instance these are mostly private stalls and people are trickling anyway, Exactly so they don't really care that. You don't need to bolt out of there in an hour.

Speaker 2:

Exactly Like the traditional load management would be. You know four cars sharing one 40-amp breaker, so you know 32 amp chargers on those breakers. And you know if you're charging by yourself you get 100% of the power. If you're sharing, you're getting 50% of the power, and so on and so on. But over the dwell time of your vehicle being there the next morning you're going to be more than enough to get through your day.

Speaker 1:

Okay, so are we talking. So there's a. I'm going to sound so. We got lots of electrical contractors at Cymac. I'm going to sound completely uneducated. But so there's a breaker for every single stall. Yes, so often you guys are putting in a new panel that has all of the services for every single stall.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so good question so 100 stalls or 100 breakers. Not necessarily, okay, not necessarily. There's different ways of doing load management. Okay, traditionally what we'll do is circuit level sharing, so you'll have, you know, four parking stalls sharing one 40 amp breaker. Okay, that makes sense. Yeah, but there is panel level sharing as well. It's just a lot more expensive, right?

Speaker 1:

Okay.

Speaker 2:

And it doesn't really with a lot of those electrical contractors to support them on their installs. I see, and our software, our technology, enables them to be able to complete these jobs, Okay, and so let's just sort of take the.

Speaker 1:

just get technical for a little bit here. Let's take the what's the typical retrofit of a building.

Speaker 2:

In terms of like cost.

Speaker 1:

No, no, no, no, just like what components are required from that are proprietary to you guys that you've developed. Yeah, what's the software stack? And then what are the requirements in terms of? Obviously, is it a wifi ethernet like typically Cat5 kind of stuff?

Speaker 2:

Good question. So the chargers, like they need a network to operate in. Yeah, A couple of main ways of doing this. We can use a cellular network if a building has that. Most buildings don't Right. Traditionally we use a wifi network. It's the easiest way to provide connectivity to the chargers.

Speaker 1:

So do you have extenders throughout the floors?

Speaker 2:

We'll have access points throughout the floors of the park Gotcha.

Speaker 1:

Okay, and then all of the units. The specific stall units are Wi-Fi enabled.

Speaker 2:

Exactly. All the chargers on the stalls are all connected to the network Right, so that reduces a whole bunch of installation of Cat5 everywhere Big time.

Speaker 1:

Okay, big time. Yeah, do you? Is there a central server that is providing that, or is it all cloud-based?

Speaker 2:

Everything's cloud-based. Nothing, nothing's on site with us.

Speaker 1:

Okay, except for, obviously, the chargers, besides the chargers. So the chargers are then going, it's Wi-Fi extended and then they are going to an IP address for an API somewhere Exactly Okay, cool yeah. An IP address for an API somewhere, exactly Okay, cool, okay. So you guys have an external API and then is there a portal, that is, is it a co-branded portal to each building? Does it say you know, whatever Pacific Street, and here's your-.

Speaker 2:

Exactly, yeah, okay, yeah. So the first way of how we separate ourselves is the low management. The second way is the billing administration. So being able to charge people for the energy that they use and be able to collect that money with the building being hands-off, which is really important.

Speaker 1:

Okay, that's pretty cool. So are you guys dealing with payments too? Yes, you are 100%, wow, okay. So are you taking any fees for those payments?

Speaker 2:

Yes, so how we make money is through our networking fees. So we have an annual fee that we charge and then we've got credit card transaction fees that everybody has to pay, but after that the money gets transferred from us to the building's direct deposit. So for a lot of buildings they're completely hands-off. Once our network is set up in a building, the chargers are set up, they set up their own fee. Then the chargers will just operate and everything runs smoothly.

Speaker 1:

Wow, that's pretty cool. So how many? What is the? What uptake do you need? Let's say there's a building that's got 200 parking stalls, 300 parking stalls Do you have to have the whole 300 to get going? Or if the building's like look, we've got an uptake of a third of the building is interested in having these, or XYZs. Let's say you have a spreadsheet of which stalls said yes, can you get going? Or we're like what's the kind of minimum install Mac? Well, obviously I don't know what the max is, but we're like what's the minimum, kind of.

Speaker 2:

Minimum's one, but in reality it actually has to do with the incentives. That's the first approach, because every, every different area has incentives that can really enable more EV charging. So you know, in our backyard here in BC the incentives are incredible. You know BC Hydro, through the provincial government, will give you money to fully electrify your building, where in some markets in North America they won't. So maybe they'll give you incentives just for one or a couple or two chargers.

Speaker 1:

Oh, I see, so it really depends on the incentives. Okay, so can the incentive cover most of your costs.

Speaker 2:

Won't cover most, but traditionally 50%.

Speaker 1:

Well, okay, that's pretty good.

Speaker 2:

Pretty good. I mean the most expensive part of putting in EV.

Speaker 1:

So I'm just trying to think of what's the? So I guess it's going to be drawing off their. Let's just talk British Columbia for a second. And a lot of people in the States when they hear BC Hydro, they're authority, whatever it is. Or the power company, utility, utility company Um, the building's going to have their bill that goes into the maintenance and the strata bill that they have to pay out of strata fees et cetera. Yeah, maintenance costs. So that is one big bill that, um, they're going to analyze versus your bill, or is it billed by the like? I'm just what's the typical? How does it typically work for a strata unit for billing to each individual unit?

Speaker 2:

For sure, yeah, so a strata or you know, a condo, an apartment they're. They're paying their hydro bill or the utility bill anyway.

Speaker 2:

Their own their own. So the main building. So for the lights you know, for for the elevator, they're paying that to the utility anyway. So when we take power off a building for EB charging it usually comes off you know, the main house panel. So that means that that you know that power will need to be through BC Hydro or a utility, which means it's very hard to figure out out of that huge utility bill who used what for energy. So we just make sure that when we set up the rate in a building and we collect money from the EV charging users that it goes to cover that bill. So they'll be paying their bill anyway and we're just sending money to make sure that bill is covered, or a little bit more.

Speaker 1:

Interesting. Okay, and so you're, I see. So you're billing the customer's credit card.

Speaker 2:

Exactly.

Speaker 1:

The unit's credit card.

Speaker 2:

The customer's credit card. Ah okay, Interesting Okay so that's kind of cool.

Speaker 1:

So then the Strata logs into your site because they have a sort of a master administrative password, and so they see different views on permissions, I guess Exactly Okay. So they see their thing and do they see how much each unit spent.

Speaker 2:

They'll see how much each user Each user, yeah, each user. What the total kilowatts used, total revenue for the building, how much? We're going to be transferring them at the end of the billing cycle. So they got a full bird's eye view of what's going on in their building. Now you don't need to spend time in there. It's just going to happen on its own anyway, but there are some interesting things that you can find.

Speaker 1:

Okay, Can the building use this? Decide whether or not they want this to make this a very minor revenue center?

Speaker 2:

In some markets. I mean you can't profit off the owners in the building but there is some room to make sure you can recover some costs from maintenance, from main infrastructure that has to put in there. But what a building could do is they could have chargers in a visitor parking spot. I see To be able to do that.

Speaker 1:

Oh, cool, okay, All right. So now, from the developer side of things, you know what is the uptake of this with new projects? Is this, everyone wants to do it, or people you know, like, I was talking to one of my developers at cymax and, uh, he was all into tesla, like a year, a couple years ago now. He's like hydrogen power cars are the new thing I'm like really because apparently bmw is making one um and there are a bunch of hydrogen powered stations around. Do you know anything about this?

Speaker 2:

A little bit, yeah, okay.

Speaker 1:

But these are electric though, right, Because it's hydrogen creating. It's kind of like a hybrid car there's a combustion engine that's making power and it's got a battery anyway, yeah yeah, a little bit different, though A little bit like that would be.

Speaker 2:

If we went towards that, that avenue would be a pretty big change of what we're doing now no EV charging.

Speaker 1:

I know, that's all. My point is are those conversations happening, or how educated is the developer? Are they just going? Oh no, we get an incentive from whatever, wherever they live yeah, in BC, it's pretty good, and they go. We want to do this For sure. That's how it's working.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so it's interesting. That's a great. Two, three years EV charging has been an amenity for buildings, so they're looking at it as an amenity. Now it's become a necessity. Ev adoption is on the rise that if you don't have an option for people to put a charger in their parking stall, you're going to lose a customer. So it's really about okay, we need to put in EV charging now. Now, how can we do it affordably? How can we make sure that we can use software tools to reduce the infrastructure that we need to put in but still provide power to all the stalls? So, for example, in BC which is quite unique to other places in North America, every new building built today by code has to be EV ready, which means that there has to be power at the stall.

Speaker 1:

The service has got to be there with a transfer box ready to go.

Speaker 2:

Exactly, it doesn't have to have an EV charger, but it has to have the option for somebody to put one in.

Speaker 1:

Right, so that if they got a Tesla, they could just buy the white box and jam it on there if they wanted to.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, exactly, it would need to be a smart solution because nobody's putting in, you know, just full dedicated power. I mean, some buildings are, but it's not realistic.

Speaker 1:

Is that requirement to have a Cat5 there too? Not a requirement, but there needs to be a network in a building. Cool, okay, that's cool. So just an observation in terms of the hardware. I've noticed that. So, because I have a Tesla, I've always sort of used Tesla's services and they're pretty seamless. I mean, that just works. And then I borrowed my friend's F-150 Lightning and I got in it and it's a little low. I'm like shit, am I going to make it to where I need to go? I had to go to like the dump and dump a bunch of stuff off which is out, as you know, past the tunnel, and I'm looking at the range. I'm like eh.

Speaker 1:

I don't know. I don't know if I punch this thing, if it's going to, because it hauls ass, right. So I'm thinking okay. So what I did was I went to a charger that was a BC Hydro one that was up on Richards here and I, it said I had to add credits. I had to add $10 on this new account that I had to make. I added the $10. I plugged the thing in and then it doesn't charge. It just said sorry, out of service. I'm like, okay, now I've got 10 bucks with these guys.

Speaker 1:

I know it's nothing, it's not like it's 100 or 1,000 or 10,000., but still the inconvenience of like I just paid for this thing I can't have. And then I've also gone to other places like Whole Foods, or I go to Pacific Center and you go to plug the thing in and you got to open an account and it's like why does this all suck so bad?

Speaker 2:

It's new. I mean, in reality, you know, reliability is the biggest issue right now in EV charging, especially in the public, like what you're referring to is public charging. Yeah, and Do you?

Speaker 2:

guys get involved in that, though A little bit. We're mostly in the multi-tenant environment, but we will go into public. We've got quite a few public stations, but it's a challenge. It's a big challenge to keep these stations up and running because you have a lot more people using them. And the other issue is the service side of it. A lot of these service angles haven't been built out from the manufacturers. See, with Switch, we're not a manufacturer.

Speaker 2:

We work with different brands around the world to do to provide the network on these chargers but, we need to work with those manufacturers to keep these chargers up and running, and in the public game it's quite difficult. Yeah, so with and with Tesla, like they're doing a great job, but Tesla's proprietary, which is a challenge. So for us at Switch, we're unlocked, so you can think of us like a cell phone example you got your iPhone. If you're not happy with Rogers, you can walk into a Bell store with that same phone or Fido.

Speaker 2:

When you get with Tesla, you're locked to Tesla, so it is a challenge. But in the public game, frankly, there's nobody better, and that's why we're seeing a lot of car manufacturers now, like like Ford, say that you know you can use Tesla chargers, which is pretty cool.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, is that really happening? 100%, so you can go to a Tesla charger.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, exactly.

Speaker 1:

Wow, I guess you have to. Is there UI on the on like? I don't think it just plugs in.

Speaker 2:

No, so you'll need an adapter. The adapter is a little bit different from from other. No, so you'll need an adapter. The adapter is a little bit different from our other car manufacturers.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I know the adapter, but how does it know? Like when I plug my Tesla in, it knows what car it is. How does it know what car it is so?

Speaker 2:

you'll need to download the Tesla app and authenticate that through the app, but after that it just works perfectly.

Speaker 1:

Wow.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it's a challenge though, because with the Ford F-150s the way that they put their port you have to actually drive into a Tesla station, so you end up taking two parking stalls. So I don't know how happy Tesla owners are going to be.

Speaker 1:

I have to back end them for me, for you, yeah, because they're always at the back, yeah but for the. F-150s. They get to drive in.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, they have to drive in and it's on the left-hand side, near the front, which means that you need to have a different Tesla station than you traditionally would with your Tesla, so you ended up taking two parking stalls for one station.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, because it's on the passenger front quarter panel.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so I mean Tesla's releasing new stations to be able to service this. But Tesla stations are going to get pretty busy over the next little bit because a lot of the other public stations you know are not operating as they should.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I know some of the older stations that are not in big parking lots are tight.

Speaker 2:

Yes, I don't see a 150 navigating. That it's a challenge, it's a big challenge.

Speaker 1:

Okay, so let's talk more about Switch. So, on the what is on the? How do you get into the developer conversation?

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Actually, you know, there's actually really good software that you should look at, I like this. Okay, chloe, who we had on the podcast a couple episodes ago, started this company called Mercator. Okay, mercator is AI software that lets you know all new development stuff.

Speaker 2:

Okay, this is pretty good.

Speaker 1:

So they use AI to go and pull permits. They know what's going on and they'll tell you what new projects are coming out, that's smart so that you can go and call a developer and say hello. I know you haven't done this yet. I know you've been doing in planning.

Speaker 2:

So we can put you in touch with Chloe. Yeah, please, that'd be great. Yeah, would love to have that, and that's a great tool. I mean, the big question is, how do you find these projects? And if you have a tool like that, that makes a lot of sense. That's how you find the projects. Yeah, that's great.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah. So that's pretty cool. The company and you're like I got a solution. Have you considered EV for this? If you have, maybe re-look at this.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, I mean, there's different ways of getting into contact with developers. Sometimes it's through the electrical contractors They've got a lot of great relationships. Sometimes it's through the engineering firms or it's just building relationships with these developers. Really, because EV charging is so new, you really just want to be a resource and a lot of times you are you're just answering questions because you want to make sure, at the end of the day, they they need to service their clients, they need to make sure that they provide a good unit and, with developers, a lot of time it's. It's about that handoff. It's about you know the building's ready to go. Now we're, you know, now we're handing it off to the owners. What does that experience look?

Speaker 2:

And a lot of developers want to make sure that they partner with a company that meets their standards.

Speaker 1:

Cool. So what percentage of the work that you're getting? Obviously you look at your book of business. What percentage of it is new builds and what's retrofit?

Speaker 2:

Different in different markets because of incentives. So here in BC incentives are fantastic for retrofits but because of adoption we got a lot of great book with developers. So it really depends. Sometimes it can be 50-50. With retrofits that's a media business. With developers those projects are a little bit longer out.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, for sure, yeah, and you're getting involved right in the planning side.

Speaker 2:

It's changed over the years, so a few years ago it was more of an afterthought. Okay, well, wait a second, we need to put an EV charging. What do we do now? Now we're right in the beginning, because they have to do the services for each stall Exactly so is that like new. Within 2021,. That's when the code came in.

Speaker 1:

Okay, so anything new after 2021 had to have service on each stall, exactly, really, yeah, holy smokes. Yeah, I should go look at that to see if everyone was everyone compliant. They had to be, or they just didn't get an electrical pass.

Speaker 2:

No, there's a couple of gray areas around 2021.

Speaker 1:

What were?

Speaker 2:

those One with the permits that were issued for the building. Okay, but now every new building has to have EV charging and that's the city of Vancouver or BC, not all of BC, but most of BC. At this point, a lot of municipalities are coming on board.

Speaker 1:

Okay, and then other regions that you're managing accounts. Give me another example, like California.

Speaker 2:

California is about 20%. I mean California is so big, so about 20%. Ontario is about 20%. Now We'll see that number come up to BC's level, but nobody at this point is like BC.

Speaker 1:

So how has the hardware changed over time? Like what you have compared to the old crappy things that are all chipped and broken and dog-eared.

Speaker 2:

Hardware hasn't changed too much. It's more the software that's what's changing. So these are smart chargers. If you were to open up a charger, there's not a lot going inside of it. It's really just a connection to our network to be able to communicate, to be able to do different. You know load management.

Speaker 1:

You guys have a little like Raspberry Pi in there with a LCD LED screen.

Speaker 2:

Used to, used to. What do you have? Now it's through the cloud now no. Sometimes with buildings we may need a Raspberry Pi, but most of the time we don't anymore.

Speaker 1:

Right, but is there a display on each Charger?

Speaker 2:

Yes.

Speaker 1:

And what does that?

Speaker 2:

display Just kilowatts, and it depends on the manufacturer as well.

Speaker 1:

Right, Okay and then. But what's powering that? Is there a little computer in there? No, there'll be a computer there must be.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, There'll be a computer in there, but see for us, because we don't manufacture the hardware. Every menu, every hardware is a little bit different.

Speaker 1:

But yours looks so good. It looks so proprietary. Is it because of the skin you put on?

Speaker 2:

it. Uh no, no, we put a sticker on it, but we don't put a skin. Really, yeah, I mean, that's our philosophy is like it's called.

Speaker 1:

You've kind of you've kind of built your whole brand around that product because it looks like yours.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that one, that one, yeah, the light on that one's the light on. We've installed that one in so many multifamily buildings, but for us it's called OCPP Open Charge Point Protocol and that's the standard. So all the chargers that we offer meet that standard, which allows us to interoperate between different chargers and provide a solution for the customer.

Speaker 1:

Right, so that's where you guys are a Rogers or a Telus Exactly so if somebody was like, hey, we don't like Switch anymore, we're going to go and Switch, exactly yeah.

Speaker 2:

Where there are other bigger brands in the marketplace that are pretty common in the public station that manufacture their own chargers. If those chargers go down or if you're not happy with their service, you have to rip out that charger. Where, with Switch, if you're not happy with our service, you can provide a new OCPP partner and they'll be able to operate in the chargers.

Speaker 1:

I see so from a capital point of view. How does that work, Do you guys? You charge, so the developer or the person retrofitting goes and gets their incentive. They figure out how many stalls that is, and so typically it's 50% of the cost.

Speaker 2:

Traditionally yeah.

Speaker 1:

Okay, so what's the typical? How much does it typically cost per stall?

Speaker 2:

I mean, you can give a range, yeah, it really depends on the power for a building, because with EV charging the chargers are not that expensive compared to the total project size. It's the power that's expensive. On average you're probably looking between $3,000 to $6,000 a stall to have an EV charger put in, but that can scale, so the cost can come down the more chargers are installed in the building.

Speaker 1:

That makes sense, right. So the economy has scaled Big time. Okay, I got it. Okay, so then the developer on a new project would pretty much just bake that into the unit cost.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, or what they'll do is they'll sell the chargers to the owners as well. So that's a big part of it. Is owners coming in? I mean, you own a Tesla, you'll want to get a charger in your place, so they'll mark that up and sell it to the owners.

Speaker 1:

I see Okay, all right, so in terms of those costs, so they're incurring those costs, and then you are the service provider on top of that, exactly, and so if they don't stay with Switch, is there like an off-boarding cost? Is there kind of like a account cancellation kind of deal, or not?

Speaker 2:

No, I mean we've got some terms in our agreement where we need some time to.

Speaker 1:

Is it a yearly contract? It is a yearly contract. Okay, cool, nice, and I would imagine if you're doing a great job and you keep updating the software and it keeps getting better which I'm sure you guys invest in that For sure Then there's no reason for them to be going anywhere.

Speaker 2:

No, but the option that they have to do that. It's important and we're pushing that in the marketplace. Some companies are fighting against that for obvious reasons, but most companies are getting on that path because it all goes down to service and reliability. If you're locked to a company, then they're not incentivized to provide the best service possible because you can't remove them. But if you're not, then you're going to have better service.

Speaker 1:

Okay, so where do you see the? What changes are coming to battery technology that you think will impact your switch positively, negatively? Is it like charging times? Is it load? Is it like they have these ultra-powered Tesla chargers now? Yes, yeah, so take me through some of that stuff that you, I mean, do you go to these trade shows and you read all these things and you have internal meetings that this stuff is coming, could be coming next. What about the swappable batteries?

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Like what kind of stuff is happening?

Speaker 2:

That's a good question. We're far away from a lot of those things. Swappable batteries, I mean. I know that's happening in some places. I think that's happening in China right now. The reality is, batteries will get more efficient, they'll get bigger, but you think of it like your cell phone. With your cell phone all the newest, latest cell phones that come out the battery is a little bit better 5%, 10% more. But the reality is is that when you plug in that phone at night and you wake up the next morning, your phone's charged, so you're not super concerned about the charging speed. And then what it really comes down to is the dwell time how long will that vehicle be there? So for public stations, of course we want stations to continue to push the limit. 400 kilowatts is what we're seeing now. But for private stations, where 80% of the charging happens at your home, charging speed really doesn't matter. It's really about the dwell time how long will your vehicle be there?

Speaker 1:

Okay, and in more sunny areas. Obviously, do you guys integrate solar into this whole situation?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so we don't, but we're going to start seeing that happen. I mean, solar is one thing, Battery storage is another. So we're seeing, like you mentioned, the Ford F-150. That vehicle can do something called vehicle to grid, so it can deliver power back to the grid. That's pretty cool. Yeah, think about 10, 20 years from now when you've got 200 vehicles in a parking garage. You can think of that like storage. Those vehicles could actually sell that power back to the building during peak times, which is pretty cool. Yeah, so we're seeing some people, you know, in Florida with their F-150s. You know, if the power goes out, you know big storm, they'll be able to run their house off their truck. Now I mean that's a little scary, because what happens when the truck's empty and you got to go?

Speaker 2:

but Hopefully, by the time the yeah, hopefully by the time Utilities have fixed it Exactly no, it's pretty cool.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it's interesting because we did a. I got this band, okay, and we did this street festival. And I said to the crowd, after we're going to go down to Spanish banks and set up in my friend's F-150. So we plugged in all the like, the PA and everything, and uh, cause he's got the, you know, he's got the 110 in the back there. And uh, we played for like an hour and a half and I said to my my guy in the band, rob, has the truck. I said so, like, how much power do you use One kilometer? And it was cranked Unbelievable. Unbelievable, yeah, because they were a thousand watts a side Unbelievable.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah. We're seeing a lot of those trucks on the job sites now and because, just because of that, you can power your tools, there's so much you can do with that, which is pretty cool.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah Is Just for the construction side. Does Ram have?

Speaker 2:

Ram does their truck's coming out really soon, I think it's this year, and GMC do they have one their truck's coming out, I think this year as well.

Speaker 1:

They're all behind Ford, right? Yes, yeah. Why did Ford just get the huge jump on that? They nailed it with that truck.

Speaker 2:

Have you driven one of those?

Speaker 1:

things.

Speaker 2:

Yes, I have. Yeah we's fun driving an electric car. It's like being on a roller coaster. It's just immediate and most people that have never experienced that before they get those butterflies, but it's pretty cool.

Speaker 1:

I did drive recently a Model 3 as a rental.

Speaker 1:

I hated that car. Compared to a Model S, it's not even close. It's like a golf cart and I think the fact that it's got like no instrument panel cluster in front of you and it's only on the right, yeah, it's a little bit different. I don't like that at all because I want to look forward, yeah, so yeah, that's a whole other thing of. What advice do you have for electrical contractors, who you know can really see this as another revenue source for service for their projects, customers you know, maybe some of the customers they can reach back out to have you on their sales side. I mean, do you deal with the sales guys on the electrical contractor?

Speaker 2:

side? Yeah, that's a great question. So that is the majority of how we get our business working through electrical contractors. We work with hundreds across North America and what we have found is the ECs that buy in, that get up to speed with this, are doing really well. Like you know, when I started we were working with contractors who were doing maybe a few thousand dollars a year in EV charging infrastructure jobs. Now they're doing millions a year.

Speaker 1:

Wow crazy.

Speaker 2:

So there's a lot of opportunity, but you can really see the difference between people that are just doing it on the side versus the companies that are buying. In learning, getting up to speed with the different options and becoming market leaders in terms of knowledge, it's really important. I suggest every contractor buy in, reach out to companies, get up to speed.

Speaker 1:

There's a lot of. There's a lot of revenue on the table. Yeah, that's pretty cool. So before the podcast we were talking about my situation that I have in my building where the Strata installed an EV charger in every stall there's only a hundred in the building for this high rise, but is that rare With service all connected.

Speaker 2:

Again depends on the market right. It wouldn't be super rare here because our adoption is so high. It would be very rare in Alberta and other markets where adoption is a little bit lower.

Speaker 1:

The thing is there's only like 10 electric cars in the place out of 100 stalls.

Speaker 2:

It's a lot of capital outlay for that. It's a ton, but your building would have used some incentives. If it's an older building, they would have used the utility incentives to do that and it makes sense. If you're going to do it, you might as well do it all at once, because it's not getting cheaper, right.

Speaker 1:

Interesting. Okay, well, that's kind of cool. So what about some rapid fire questions? Let's do it. You ready for this? Yeah, ready for Tofino.

Speaker 2:

Can't wait.

Speaker 1:

You're like James, just make this over. No, Get this done. I got tired of this inside stuff. I'm going to go to Tofino.

Speaker 2:

No, no, I'm going to be in the car with my two young kids for six hours.

Speaker 1:

How old are they? And one, okay, yeah, so it's going to be. It's going to be a battle. It's going to be a battle, so I'm happy to stay as long as you want. Nice, that's cool, all right. So, um, let's chat about you a little bit Please.

Speaker 2:

So, um, what do you do that other people would think is insane? That's a good question.

Speaker 1:

You know I, I, you know you sent me some of these questions. Are you crazy, do you have?

Speaker 2:

crazy in you A little bit, a little bit. What is that? I don't know. I just I have super. I have super high standards in terms of how I operate professionally and personally. And I think it's just because you know, in life people a lot of focus, they focus on their goals, but a lot of times you don't get your goals. You get, you get your standards and I think if, if you just focus on making sure you have the right standards and how you communicate, how you treat people, I think you'll be okay. So I think my standards are pretty high. I try to achieve as much as I can and I mean I don't personally think it's insane, but I know my wife does. She definitely does Nice.

Speaker 1:

I like that. I heard one quote the other day, which was really good, of people who are successful they don't trip over dollars to get to pennies.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that's good. That is brilliant. I love it. That is brilliant yeah.

Speaker 1:

Brilliant. Okay, the next one. If you weren't doing what you're doing with Switch, what would you be doing?

Speaker 2:

Great question. Probably something to do with helping businesses. I love business, I love seeing people win. I need help. Yeah, I mean I love working with small businesses, just seeing people win, seeing people being successful. So like a consultant, yeah, maybe I always tell some of my staff that instead of me closing a big deal, I'd rather see you close a big deal and me be a part of that. I think seeing people win is pretty exciting. I think more people need to win and deserve to win.

Speaker 1:

Well, you're in the right position then, because you get to do that daily. That's cool. Okay, so we're a construction podcast. For sure Got any stories of out there in the field you went to a site.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Got a memorable experience.

Speaker 2:

I got a memorable one Early on my career made a mistake, a learning one. I was on the way to a job site and I called my customer and it had to do with a price that I see come across my desk. And I called the customer. I said I didn't think that company's price was bang on, I think it's a little expensive. And sure enough, we get to the job site and that client is there and that customer is there, and my customer tells that client that you know that price. The price was pretty expensive, chris thought. And then the customer walks away. And boy did I get an earful about talking about their price to the customer. And I learned there I'm not talking about price or other people's price, ever, ever again. That was a great learning experience for me.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I noticed how eloquently you skirted around how much it is per unit stall, yeah. So yeah, you learned your lesson, yeah it was.

Speaker 2:

It's tough right, Like I mean you just can't comment on other people's pricing and I mean for me I was. I was just doing it because I wanted to take care of the customer and make sure that you know they got a fair price. But it wasn't my position to talk about another company's price and the way the customer did it just left me there with that. With that, that company was a little interesting, but it was a good learning experience, well, any experience.

Speaker 1:

Well, you made it out. Yeah, I made it out Nice. So with Switch, what's your sort of bullhorn out there to the ether to contact you? What can you help them with? Consultive connections, et cetera.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, for sure. I mean, think of us as a resource EV charging is. You know, it's not new in my world, but it's new in most people's world. So if we can support you on a project you know, multifamily, really multi-tenant commercial retail, anywhere where you need EV charging, you need to share power, collect billing we'd be happy to support you on that.

Speaker 1:

Okay, and it's switch switchenergycom switchenergycom. And then you're on LinkedIn under-.

Speaker 2:

Chris Serraldi.

Speaker 1:

Chris.

Speaker 2:

Serraldi yeah, please feel free to reach out. Cosa Nostra, yeah, reach out and let me know how we did on this podcast.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, no, I think everybody will enjoy this. It's really helpful. Good information for me. I love this stuff, as you can tell. Yeah so this has been awesome. Enjoy your trip to Tofino. Thank you, I appreciate it, I'm excited.

Speaker 1:

Right on. Thanks for another episode of the Site Visit. Thank you for listening. Be sure to stay connected with us by following our social accounts on Instagram and YouTube. You can also sign up for our monthly newsletter at sitemaxsystemscom slash the site visit, where you'll get industry insights, pro tips and everything you need to know about the Site Visit podcast and Sitemax, the job site and construction management tool of choice for thousands of contractors in North America and beyond. Sitemax is also the engine that powers this podcast. All right, let's get back to building.

Discussion on EV Charging Network Solutions
Emerging Trends in EV Charging
Insights on Mercator AI Software
EV Charging Technology and Future Changes
EV Charging Infrastructure and Future Innovations