Electric vehicle (EV) charging firm Paua has had a busy few months, announcing several new features currently under development.
Having signed a roaming deal with Mer in June, the company has since partnered GenGame and Evergreen Energy to develop a ‘Home & Roam’ solution that would enable drivers to smart charge their EV at home for the lowest prices while also easily accessing public charging via a single app.
Paua also recently trialled a plug & charge solution designed to work with all cars and chargepoints, allowing drivers to begin a charge without the need for apps, charge cards or admin.
Current± caught up with CEO Niall Riddell to discuss what sets Paua apart from other EV apps, how to enable fleet electrification and the company’s plans for rolling out its solution “more aggressively”.
What is Paua aiming to achieve in the EV space?
What we’re doing is integrating with the back offices of the many public chargepoint networks to enable those networks to be accessed through a single application to create a single user experience. That single user experience enables the drivers to find the chargepoint, charge the vehicle and pay for the charging with the costs being centralised for the fleet manager. Effectively, what you end up doing is removing some of the headaches associated with public charging. This enables fleets to consider public charging in their electrification strategies.
What sets Paua apart from other EV charging platforms?
Today, we’re very fleet focused. We really want to help businesses because we believe that that’s where the biggest pain points sit. At some point, we might well consider offering this to everyday customers, mainly because people keep asking for it, but the focus point today has got to be fleets. Businesses are the biggest purchasers of electric vehicles, so they’re the ones who really benefit from this the most. This is where we’re going to have the biggest carbon impact.
One of the areas which we believe is really cool is the ability to integrate multiple datasets, and one of the things we are very heavily invested in is which datasets are most valuable to fleet managers to enable them to best optimise their fleet.
Where do you see your place in this market?
There’s some great stuff going on in the marketplace. The biggest competitor we see in the marketplace is someone like Allstar, because in effect what we’re building is an electric fuel card. Allstar have been the dominant player in the fuel card market for many years now, and what’s really interesting for us is we’re effectively challenging and disrupting that activity in that space. The fuel card market hasn’t really faced much disruption over the last 30 or 40 years. It’s been petrol, diesel orientated, it’s about just getting the fleets on the road, so our purely digital approach is quite significantly different than the old style approach. We feel that that’s where we’re most likely to have an impact is challenging companies like them.
One area that we believe is really exciting is an algorithm we have developed to enable any modern electric car to simply plug in and charge. The Paua Plug & Charge algorithm was developed with support from the Department for Transport under their Transport-Technology Research and Innovation Grant (T-TRIG) research program. While Tesla drivers have had this benefit for years, we are enabling anyone to have this experience. We are raising funding currently to develop this further.
What are your plans for scaling up?
We’re actively seeking and recruiting fleet customers, or anyone who’s working with small business fleets, or even large business fleets. We’ve got some quite supportive companies who we are working towards building a formal relationship with.
We’re keen to get drivers using the solution, because the absolute key thing for us is getting user feedback. There’s quite a lot of work that we need to do in order to get that really valuable feedback, because if we make it easy for the user, we’re on a winning streak. That enables us then to start rolling this out more aggressively with the fleets that are needing this solution.
We’ve found that fleets sit into a couple of buckets; they’re either in ‘we don’t think we need public charging’ or they’re in the bucket of ‘we’ve started to use public charging, we realise how hard it is, we’re making it stick together with a piece of string and a plaster at the moment but actually, what we need is something a bit more sophisticated’. That’s where we come into the equation. We’re actively looking for those customers who are just starting to feel the pain of public charging to see if we can help them on that journey.