Posted on October 24, 2016 by Matt Pressman
I had a chance to attend this year's EV Transportation and Technology Summit at the Florida Solar Energy Center in Cocoa, Florida. Last week, I drove our Tesla Model X up to the event and stopped along the way at Tesla's Port St. Lucie Supercharger. I stayed at the Hilton Cocoa Beach location as it had two Tesla destination chargers on-site. It was my first time using Tesla's destination chargers and it was fantastic — I'd highly recommend staying at this location for anyone traveling to the area in a Tesla. Finally, after about four hours of travel using Autopilot (which I love), I was off to the conference.
Although I got a chance to see lots of speakers during the conference, I want to highlight two talks that seemed most pertinent for the Tesla community. One observation: during the conference, it seemed like there were two electric vehicle (EV) camps — the Tesla one, and, everyone else. Important: neither camp should be placed on a pedestal, but, it did seem as if certain key differentiators made me proud to be in the Tesla camp. Case in point: the low range of non-Tesla vehicles coupled with slower, scattered charging infrastructure seems to make challenges surrounding non-Tesla EV owners more pronounced.
Above: (Top) Charging our EVANNEX Model X at Hilton Cocoa Beach's Tesla destination charger before heading over to the conference; (Bottom) next up, arriving at the location of the conference — the impressive Florida Solar Energy Center (Source: Author; EV Transportation and Technology Summit)
Two presentations stood out for me. First up... Scott Miller, a VP at Chargepoint, gave an excellent presentation. With almost 31,000 Chargepoint ports across the country, the company remains the electric vehicle charging industry leader (assuming you exclude the Supercharger network). They've had over 19 million charging sessions from over 270,000 EV drivers. He claims 70% of all EV owners have a Chargepoint card.
Above: A Tesla Model S charging at a Chargepoint location (Source: Wikipedia)
That said, Miller admitted that Chargepoint is trailing behind in road trip charging infrastructure. Unlike Tesla Superchargers which are (often) located right off interstate highways, Chargepoint is focused primarily on workplace and retail charging destinations. Miller admitted that they've had talks with Tesla but nothing has come of it yet. It struck me that the future is long-range EVs and Chargepoint hadn't tackled this critical strategy for road trip interstate charging destinations quite like Tesla has — this appears, however, to be a key initiative for Chargepoint moving forward.
Above: (Top, from left to right): Fellow Tesla owner Chris Sharek of Sharek Solutions, Zachary Shahan of CleanTechnica, Matt Pressman of EVANNEX, and Marcy Bauer of EVgo; (Bottom): Marcy and Zach take turns test-driving our EVANNEX Tesla Model X and coming away with the Tesla smile (Instagram: @bauergoeson)
The most fascinating presentation was from Zachary Shahan, editor of both CleanTechnica and EV Obsession. Zach gave a passionate and thorough look into the electric vehicle landscape. He hinted at a new research study they're working on and revealed a few findings from the study. Most intriguing were his research findings related to the number of non-Tesla EV owners who cited the Model 3 as they're next car — as I've predicted before, non-Tesla EV owners could soon be converting to Model 3 owners en masse. Although Zach's full presentation isn't available yet, some of his key takeaways can be found in this previous video (see below) where he talks Tesla and the larger EV movement in general.
In any event, I wanted to thank Doug Kettles, the program manager at the EV Summit, for spending time with me as well. Doug also pre-ordered the Tesla Model 3 and seemed to really enjoy his test-drive (at the event) in our Model X. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if Doug gets a Model X instead of waiting for the Model 3. In addition, it was humbling to meet so many who were fans of EVANNEX (and also readers of this blog) at the conference. So if you're interested in electric vehicles, this conference is fantastic — I would definitely recommend attending next year.