Charge+ touts charging-as-a-service for Singapore condos with no cost to management, 10 condos signed on with ‘hundreds more’ interested
Photos: Charge+, Manufacturers
SINGAPORE – If you stay in a condominium here and haven’t heard of Charge+, that might soon change.
The company, which is the green mobility arm of solar power provider Sunseap, describes itself as ‘a leading integrated EV charging solution provider for Singapore and Southeast Asia’ says it’s on track to take the lead in electric vehicle (EV, or battery electric vehicle (BEV)) charging in condominiums.
With its charging-as-a-service business model, Charge+ will build and maintain charging points in condominiums at no cost to the condo management (MCST), presumably earning off service fees and subscriptions from users. The company says it has confirmed charge stations with 10 condominiums, with ‘several hundred more’ interested. The first of Charge+’s charging stations are expected to become operation in July this year.
“To-date, almost all EV chargers installed in condominiums in Singapore are investments made by the condominiums, with virtually none on the Charging-as-a-Service model which Charge+ is pioneering,” said Mr Goh Chee Keong, the CEO of Charge+.
“Since we started this model in late-2020, we have confirmed about 10 condominiums which is way above the earlier handful of condos using this model. We believe the Charging-as-a-Service business model will become the dominant approach for the condominium segment.”
Currently, BEV chargers can be installed in condominiums, but these require the approval of the management council, and may take a long time as they are ‘subject to voting and approval of a special resolution tabled at an AGM.’
There is also uncertainty over how to charge residents for usage accurately, how many lots and which lots to reserve as BEV charging spaces. As a result, not all resolutions to build charging points may pass the AGM vote.
“Previously when condominiums were asked to make investments in the EV charging points, they had found it difficult to convince all their residents to pass such investments at their AGM. With the Charging-as-a-Service business model, the acceptance level has surged,” added Mr Goh.
BEV charging solution provider Greenlots has charging points located in newer condominiums, but the takeup has been ‘quite slow’, to quote the company in a report from CNA last year.
In contrast, Charge+ says it will invest, own, and operate the charging points which mean little or no effort is required from the management aside from approving the installation. Charge+ says interested residents can approach their condo councils or management to inform them of the charging-as-a-service alternative.
Charge+ more recently announced a tie-in with OCBC Bank, the Eco-Care Car Loan. This offers a lower interest rate of 1.68 percent, compared to the standard car loan rate of around 2.5 percent. This matches DBS Bank’s Green Car Loan interest rate, which that bank announced in February this year, although it also applies to hybrid vehicles, not just BEVs.
It also offers extra benefits to buyers of Tesla BEVs who take up the loan. They will receive 18-months free charging if a Charge+ station is installed in their condominium. For Tesla owners on landed properties, they will receive six months’ worth of free charging, and a free BEV charger.
The company has developed its own extra slim 7.4kW AC charger, which is aimed at making installation on existing carpark pillars easier, and we expect that to form the backbone of the charge points the company installs.
Charge+ has not revealed pricing or plans for its charging services as yet, but we would be surprised if it was more than S$0.40-S$0.48/kWh that SP currently asks for its 43kW AC and 50kW DC public fast charging services.
The much touted electric revolution is happening, but it will be a slow tide rather than a tsunami – earlier this year the government announced plans to rollout 60,000 BEV chargers, but that is a good nine years from completion, or by 2030. Charge+ has itself announced plans to build 10,000 of its own charging points islandwide by 2030.
The takeup rate for BEVs has increased in recent years, but it has not grown the way conventional self-charging hybrids have, and the lack of infrastructure is the key reason. If Charge+’s plan to electrify condos strikes a light, we could be looking at the first, true wave of mass BEV adoption in Singapore.