Wattpark: A network of collaborative charging stations worthwhile

9

Do You Make Money With Your Own Electric Charging Station? Wattpark is committed to this proposal by installing collaborative and monetizable terminals. A way to expand the network according to Bertrand Lepage, one of the co-founders.

Smart charging station designed by the French start-up Wattpark. @Wattpark

At the end of February 2022, France had 55,515 recharging points, according to the latest National barometer of public charging infrastructures published by Avere and the Ministry of Ecological Transition. It is probably 53% higher than a year ago, but the national territory is still far from the 100,000 recharging point target set by the French government by the end of 2021. This does not stop the barometer from standing out. “A good pace in the installation of fast recharging points”mainly in highway service areas.

@ Avere-France

This fleet does not seem to be enough for an ever-growing electric vehicle market across Europe, with one in five new electric cars sold in total. For Oliver Zipse, President of ACEA and CEO of BMW Group, “The good behavior of electric cars is very good news, but we must not forget that this is a very fragile market that depends a lot on support measures such as incentives to buy and, above all, the widespread availability of infrastructure recharge ” (ACEA font).

Avere, for his part, emphasizes that “The pace of infrastructure deployment is far from the demand of electric car consumers. Over the past five years, electric car sales have grown four times faster than the number of charging points.”.

@ ACEA - EAFO

Bertrand Lepage, co-founder of Wattpark, also saw this cruel lack of recharging points the day his father, driving a Peugeot iOn, ran into trouble during a trip. In fact, despite the indication of a private charging station on the route, the owner was not at home and was therefore denied access to his terminal.

It was after the misfortune of his father, Marc Lepage (right), that Bertrand Lepage (left) embarked on the Wattpark adventure.  @Wattpark

It was after the misfortune of his father, Marc Lepage (right), that Bertrand Lepage (left) embarked on the Wattpark adventure. @Wattpark

From this disappointment arose an idea. In 2017, Bertrand Lepage, a graduate of Essca Business School, created Wattpark, a start-up that aims to connect charging station owners (individuals and professionals) and electric vehicle drivers. But beyond the simple relational platform, Wattpark has two peculiarities. The first is to have designed and manufactured its own charging stations, with a power of 3.7 kW – 7.4 kW (single-phase) stations will soon arrive.

The second peculiarity is the possibility given to the owner of a Wattpark charging station to sell his charge by a reservation made through a free mobile application. This allows remote payment, but also the opening of the terminal and, if necessary, the barrier to access it. Because beyond the service provided, Bernard Lepage is convinced that the successful transition to electricity can only be made with the help of a substantial charging network, public or private.

@Wattpark

What is the genesis of Wattpark?

Wattpark was born in 2017 as a result of the daily use of an electric vehicle. At the time, charging was a real nuisance and when traveling in peri-urban / rural areas, electric driving was a real obstacle course. Because energy is available everywhere, we wanted to create an ecosystem that would allow everyone to share a parking space equipped with a charging station.

We needed four years of R&D to create this ecosystem and patent a unique offline technology in Europe. In the end, we had to create a charging station to accommodate this booking, sharing and service system. It is a product that we wanted from the beginning to be made in France.

At the end of 2020, Wattpark was born as an entity dedicated to the marketing and exploitation of this technology. The first deployments began in 2021.

@Wattpark

How many employees does Wattpark have?

So far, nine people work in our company.

What is your business model?

We sell our terminal for € 599, but the Wattpark model involves reservations on our platform, where we collect 10% of the amount. The rest is paid in the owner’s virtual wallet. We also offer the possibility for large accounts to have a white mark that allows them to create their own sharing network.

What is the purpose of Wattpark? Challenges?

We believed in the development of the electric vehicle from the beginning of our adventure. However, our focus and vision was based on service and driving experience, not energy. More than just technology, we wanted parking equipment to be simple and collaborative. Wattpark quickly became a technological and industrial project.

The global car fleet is being exponentially electrified. In 2020, more than 1 million electric vehicles entered circulation in Europe. This represents a growth of 200% compared to 2019 and more than 10% market share. All forecasts show that by 2030, this share will significantly exceed 50%. In order to reduce CO2 emissions from transport as soon as possible, the European Union is about to announce a historic measure: a ban on the sale of thermal vehicles in 2035, an unprecedented industrial shock.

Therefore, our goal is clear: to support this revolution to facilitate the switch to electricity by ensuring that we offer a lightweight, shareable and collaborative charging infrastructure that adapts to the daily mobility of French and Europeans.

So far, how many Wattpark terminals have been installed?

More than a thousand terminals have already found fasteners. Our goal is to produce 1000 terminals per day. We plan to speed up commissioning from March 2022, before the opening of our factory in Maine-et-Loire in late summer (the original site of Saclas in Essonne is too small to manufacture these quantities) . , Editor’s note).

@Wattpark

What are the features of this terminal? Who is the manufacturer? How much does an installation cost?

We manufacture our own terminals in France with French subcontractors and almost all French / European equipment. The challenge we propose is to produce industrial quantities maintaining this philosophy, that is to say, to maintain the independence of supply and to allow the material and technological sovereignty. The installation varies depending on the type of installation, between 300 and 1000 €. It can be performed by an electrician or an IRVE approved terminal installer.

How does the mobile app work?

Available on iOS and Android, it allows you to geolocate, book and connect to Wattpark terminals made available by the community. The idea is to end the many cards in your wallet – your mobile phone becomes a remote control to open and access our terminals!

@Wattpark

Is the individual expected to integrate the Wattpark rental system with external terminals, not Wattpark?

It is in discussion with the partners. Sharing other models involves other accessibility issues. However, the Wattpark online platform is ready to welcome this new type of sharing. However, our kiosk model is still natively designed to make it easier to use.

What was the use of the 1.5 million euros raised in December 2021?

This fundraising allowed us to finance our electronic supplies and make material modifications in series for our next production batches. We were able to recruit four people from December 2022 to support the commercial development and assembly of our terminals in our workshop south of Essonne.

Are there competing companies in France and Europe?

Yes, several companies that offer a cargo ecosystem are competitors. They are supported mainly by energy companies.

Up to € 150 monthly income

Anyone with a Wattpark terminal installed is free to choose whether or not to open access to other users. If you opt for an opening, you can choose the dates and times when your terminal is accessible.

The user of the mobile application will be able to geolocate a terminal, book it and go there, even in the absence of the owner. As for the price, it is usually set at € 1 / h, or even € 0.90 / h. There is also the possibility of extending the charge if the terminal’s schedule allows it.

In terms of expected earnings, “It all depends on the number of visitors and the location of the terminal. At best, an owner can expect up to € 150 / month, but in general we are on average between € 30 and € 40 / month. ”Bertrand Lepage told us.

The money collected in this way is provided in a virtual wallet, such as Airbnb or Vinted, specifies Bertrand Lepage. A wallet that can be reused directly through the app or transferred to the owner’s personal bank account.

As for taxes, Bertrand Lepage specifies “These revenues related to the aforementioned rental of car parks are subject to personal property tax” (annual income less than € 15,000).

Leave a Comment