As electric cars are pretty new stuff still, I wouldn’t argue that drives of an electric car are first movers anymore. However they are definitly not in a state in that a lot of issues are solved already.
How to charge, a new thinking about energy to move
Of course the first question you need to solve is how to charge such a car. And if you look at the open spirit of a community you find pretty fast something like TFF-Forum.de. This community shares information on a pretty detailed level. Amazing to see how enthuastic people discuss these new things. The forum is based on open source software and the spirit is really open. This looks like a healthy community focused on great information exchange. Discussing good and not that good topics and most importantly helping each other.
Tesla Supercharger – the most easiest way
The other topic is the commercial aspect about the whole game. And this starts if you really go to one of the charging points. You easily understand the technology at a Supercharger station. This is just so simple that anybody can do it. Well done Tesla.
The various alternatives
Now if you are in a foreign city you need to hop between the different charging stations. To make your live easier there are many websites offering simple solutions such as PlugFinder. The map is the central part and you see a lot of details. You are invited to join a community of people sharing information again. Is this a sharing economy?
The site PlugSurfing combines the feeling of riding the waves to look for the next cool wave with the charing plug – so much better with the next cool plug to charge your car.
Who earns money within this economy?
Honestly I was really confused. I thought that it’s really odd that all these people offer these kind of information so easily accessible just for free. This doesn’t make sense to me – the world isn’t that nice these days.
I checked with the various electricity companies and their offers. One of the biggest in Germany is RWE with their network of a couple of thousand stations. However now it’s get’s confusing.
If you buy their standard product with their RWR-App you pay e.g. 4,95€/h (16A, 11kWh). This is 0,0825€ each minute. If you surf this 1h you pay 0,36€/kWh & 0,02€/min = (0,36€*11kWh)+(0,02*60) = 5,16€/h = 0,86€/min. Using the new motion you pay 0,56€/kWh = (0,56€ * 11) = 6,16€. Which is even more about 0,10€/min.
Last but not least let’s have a look at the going electric or friends who help you to find – these are actually advertising companies that are offering their services to either B2B partners or show you a hell lot of ads. Their share of the money comes from traffic on their sites which will increase for sure.
Red or blue ocean – this is the question
Beside of the really cool communities out their that foster a sharing economy thinking, I really believe that the old economy is still in their red ocean. Even so they offer now electric power stations for modern electric cars they still are based on their transaction commision models. Based on that solutions such as the new motion or plug surfing can live pretty well for a while. As you see in other industries you need to get big fast until the regulations or other risks jump in an you can’t survive. With a about 4-5% commision fee your company needs to be pretty cost efficient to make serious money.
It’s clear that non of the current players in the market found a blue ocean strategy yet. Not game changing like Tesla itself these companies just try to surf a trend and earn some money. Let’s see what comes next.
By the way, I keep on searching for the free of charge power stations. Let’s see how this works out.