Tom Kraeutler: This is The Money Pit’s Top Products Podcast, and I’m Tom Kraeutler broadcasting from the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. Electric vehicles are taking the market by storm, and there’s one thing that they need to survive and that is a great place to charge.
That’s what ChargePoint does. They’re the leaders in electric vehicle charging, and they’re introducing a new unit designed specifically for the home, the connected home, I should say, and it’s called ChargePoint Home. With us to talk about that is Dimitrios Papadogonas. Hi, Dimitrios.
D. Papadogonas: Hi, Tom. How are you?
Tom Kraeutler: We’re well. Let’s talk about ChargePoint. Maybe you can give our listeners a bit of background on who ChargePoint is and how this extension into the home is going to help us.
D. Papadogonas: Sure. ChargePoint is a Silicon Valley-based technology company, and we’ve created the world’s largest EV charging network. ChargePoint makes the hardware that charges electric vehicles. We provide the cloud-based services so that property owners who provide electric vehicle charging can have total control and flexibility over their charging. We make mobile apps for drivers so they can do everything from find available charging stations to controlling their charging sessions.
Tom Kraeutler: To this point, you’ve concentrated on the commercial market, so to speak. Your charging stations are at offices and restaurants and shopping malls and places like that. Now you’ve developed a unit specifically for the home. Now you’re able to take your car home, charge it in your garage, with some really interesting connected home functionality. Talk about that.
D. Papadogonas: Sure. Yeah. We did start in the commercial space because that’s where the market needed us to be. People needed a place to charge at work, around town, and out of town, so we really focused on that. Now where the market needs us to be is in the home, and if ChargePoint is going to do it, we want to do it right. Why should your car be the only beautiful thing in your garage? We created the world’s most beautiful, the world’s most advanced home charger, and like all of our other charging products, it’s a smart product. This connects to your ChargePoint experience outside the home, so it’s all integrated, all your charging sessions in one place. It also gives you the ability to control your charging in your home. You can remote start, stop, all from your mobile app. You can schedule a charging session, so you can plug in when you get home at five o’clock but start the charging at midnight when electricity rates are cheaper. Because it’s a smart connected charger, it will also work with home automation systems. Nest, for instance, is the first one that we partnered with, so our station connects and works with your Nest in ways that are very beneficial to the homeowner.
Tom Kraeutler: How do you connect a charging station with a thermostat?
D. Papadogonas: It’s all done by our engineers, and it’s coded on the back end so there’s no work for a consumer to do that. When you plug in and start your station, all the software is already there and it works. It will do very basic things. For instance, with Nest for Rush Hour Rewards, if there is a high usage of electricity, let’s say, in your neighborhood, through Nest then you can power down your charging station so that you’re not consuming as much electricity. You’re benefiting the community, but you also may be benefiting yourself by saving on peak electricity.
It will also connect to your Nest Protect smoke and carbon detector system where if, God forbid, if there were a fire in your home, for instance, your charging station would be told that there is something going in the house and then that would power off, so it provides a safety feature.
These are just a couple of examples of things we can do. In the future, we can connect to all kinds of home systems, home automation systems, and provide a wide array of benefits to consumers.
Tom Kraeutler: When we say the connected home, we really do mean connected, connected in many different ways.
D. Papadogonas: It is. It’s more than being connected. It’s about being a smart home, being a home that is actually conscious, in a way, a thoughtful home, a responsive home. By that I mean it’s a home that not only gives you the ability to do things, but it also gives you the ability to save money, to monitor and control your energy usage. This isn’t just, oh, I can look at things and check on things. This isn’t about, oh, I’ve got a camera and I can see what’s going on in my house.
If you think about it, an electric car might take thirty-forty percent of your home’s electric output. The ability to control that is absolutely critical. If you can integrate that with the other energy usage in your house, this provides not only a significant convenience, but it provides a really, really, really important function in your ability to be able to save money and add value to your life. It really makes your home a thoughtful, conscious home.
Tom Kraeutler: I think we should clarify that even though you mentioned that electric vehicle may consume thirty or forty percent of the electric usage for your house, it’s still a far less expensive way for transportation than a gas vehicle.
D. Papadogonas: Even with gas now at a national average of $2.50 and in many places in the country much less, even at historic low gas prices, driving on electricity is an exponential factor cheaper. We may be gone from being one-fifteenth as cheap to maybe one-eighth as cheap, but it’s still significantly less to power your car on electricity that it is on fossil fuels. Of course, it’s much cleaner and better for your community and the environment.
Tom Kraeutler: Well said. Dimitrios Papadogonas, thank you so much for being a part of The Money Pit today.
D. Papadogonas: Thanks a lot, Tom.
Tom Kraeutler: If you want more information on ChargePoint, you can go to their website, which is chargepoint.com, that’s chargepoint.com, and learn more about ChargePoint Home, the world’s most advanced and beautiful home electric vehicle charging station.