Everty: Driving a cleaner future through EV charging infrastructure
Carola Jonas has spent many years of her career working in cleantech – from solar to battery to smart home energy management systems. Now, as the Chief Executive Officer of Everty, a company that provides EV charging solutions to many industries, she’s embarking on a bigger mission – to accelerate Australia's transition to 100% sustainable transport by enabling businesses, governments and organisations to install and operate charging infrastructure and therefore make the transition to e-mobility easier and charging infrastructure more accessible. In this insightful conversation, Carola discussed the beginnings of Everty, the e-mobility landscape in Australia and how cars play an important role in our climate change fight, now and into the future.
Impact X: Can you share some of the motivations that led to the founding of Everty?
Carola Jonas: When we started Everty in 2016, we looked at the Australian market and realized that we have the highest per capita uptake of rooftop solar. With over 2 million households that have solar panels on their roofs, it thus makes perfect sense for the owners to have an Electric Vehicle (EV) in their garage that they can charge not only for free but also free from emissions.
In 2016 the uptake of EVs was very low and the big question was, why aren’t Aussies buying EVs?
We looked into the reasons behind the low uptake of EVs in Australia and two reasons became clear: vehicle availability. At that time, you could only buy a Tesla or BMW. Now, Australia has a much broader offering and more choices of cars, but charging infrastructure still proves to be a significant challenge.
This is where we find ourselves in a bit of a chicken and egg situation: Do you build the charging stations first with few EVs to use them or do you wait for more EVs before building the infrastructure. The problem here is that EV manufacturers will bring their EVs to markets that are ready for the transition and not the countries that have no or little infrastructure.
What we offer is a solution that will increase the uptake of EV charging infrastructure and grow a large market of accessible charging infrastructure
Impact X: How big of an impact do you think EVs will make in the context of climate change?
Carola Jonas: If we look at the bigger picture, in many countries, transportation sits at around 20% of the national greenhouse gas emissions.
In Australia, I believe it's 18 or 19 per cent. If we can replace all these petrol- and diesel-powered cars and trucks and other vehicles with EVs (or e-Mobility) that are powered by renewable energy, then we can eliminate 20% of the country's greenhouse gas emissions.
That will not happen overnight. But as we start building up e-mobility in the country, we can also kickstart cleaning up our energy generation.
If that happens, what we will see are two curves wherein renewable energy is going up and emissions from cars going down. Both challenges of more renewable energy and more electric mobility must be tackled at the same time.
Impact X: Do you think electric vehicles or EVs will be the future of transport? What are the key obstacles that must be overcome for EVs to finally go full mainstream?
Carola Jonas: Yes, they will become mainstream. Many governments are already mandating to ban the sale of petrol/diesel cars in the next decade and the car manufacturers are also getting ready. Jaguar announced to be an all-electric car manufacturer by 2025 and companies like Volkswagen, GM, Ford and Mini have strong targets to sell EVs in certain markets.
I think the biggest issue in Australia at this point still relates to policy and how to encourage car manufacturers to bring their vehicles into the country.
We know from some car manufacturers such as Volkswagen, that Australia has a hostile policy landscape and that they are not going to bring their cars here before 2023. Luckily, others like Hyundai, Kia and Tesla, are already in the market.
It's really about attracting EV brands to Australia. Right now, car manufacturers can only build a certain number of electric cars. And if other markets like Norway or other European countries where demand for these types of vehicles is high, then naturally, these car manufacturers will give them to these markets first and Australia will miss out
Once Australia is perceived as an attractive EV market, the corresponding infrastructure will fall into place.
For example, any car park where there's electricity can become a charging location. Although EV drivers mostly charge at home, they also charge at work, shopping centres and other places
Petrol stations are also now looking at putting EV charging stations in their forecourts. In the long run, we foresee that the infrastructure will meet the demand for cars.
"The Everty software enables charging station operators and charging network providers to develop business models around EV charging."
Impact X: You have a technology that allows charging station operators to scale. Please tell us more about this technology.
Carola Jonas: Everty is a software platform that enables companies and organizations to operate charging infrastructure. That includes your built environment like petrol stations, car parks, office buildings and more.
Everty’s software and charging station management platform are like an operating system for a computer. Without software, you can’t create much value with a computer. The Everty software enables charging station operators and charging network providers to develop business models around EV charging. This includes taking payments for public chargers but also least cost charging, energy management and integration with other 3rd party systems that are relevant to the EV charging ecosystem.
For example, shopping centres are very interested in attracting EV drivers because they spend more time in the shopping centre while they wait for their vehicles to charge.
EV charging is also valuable for office buildings, especially those with big company tenants that are looking to transition their fleet to electric vehicles. As these vehicles need to be charged at work, the property owner or the landlord needs to invest in the charging infrastructure to support them. At this point, we can come in and help them do that. We do not own and operate our infrastructure. We're enabling others to operate their own infrastructure.
"By bringing transportation, energy, and infrastructure together, we can paint a much better picture about our future."
Impact X: In the next 10 years, how do you see Everty contributing to the climate change fight?
Carola Jonas: Everty is an enabler for other companies to reduce their carbon footprint. For example, any company that is looking to replace fossil fuel cars with EVs can use the Everty software to manage how much (hopefully, renewable) electricity is supplied to the cars, to report and manage the data for their reporting requirements and to make sure that EVs charge in the most efficient way to keep emissions and costs low.
The other thing that I’d like to add is that in the future, a car can go beyond what it does today. If you follow the vision of Elon Musk, it will be normal to see robo-taxis that can earn money while you’re not using the car.
Expanding that vision, you can also look at the battery that is already in the car as a renewable energy storage asset. These batteries can support the storage of solar power that is generated during the day and then feed it back into the houses or the grid at night. Vehicles can actively support the electricity grid.
By bringing transportation, energy, and infrastructure together, we can achieve a net zero economy that features cleaner and more liveable cities.
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