At the end of February 2022, France had 55,515 charging points, according to the latest National barometer of public charging infrastructures published by Avere and the Ministry of Ecological Transition. It is certainly 53% more than a year ago, but the national territory is still far from the goal of 100,000 charging points set by the French government by the end of 2021. This does not prevent the barometer from highlighting “good pace in the installation of fast charging points”mainly in highway service areas.
This fleet does not seem sufficient for an electric vehicle market that continues to grow throughout Europe, with one in five new electric cars sold in total. For Oliver Zipse, Chairman of ACEA and CEO of the BMW Group, “The good performance of electric cars is very good news, but we cannot forget that this is still a fairly fragile market that depends largely on support measures such as purchase incentives and, above all, on the widespread availability recharging infrastructure (source WHAT).
L’Avere emphasizes for his part that “The pace of infrastructure deployment lags far behind consumer demand for electric cars. In the last five years, sales of electric cars have grown four times faster than the number of charging points”.
This cruel lack of charging stations, Bertrand Lepage, co-founder of Wattpark, also saw it the day his father, at the wheel of a Peugeot iOn, was in trouble during a trip. In fact, despite the indication of a private charging station on the route, the owner was not at home and therefore access to his terminal was denied.
From this disappointment germinated an idea. In 2017, Bertrand Lepage, a graduate of the Essca business school, created Wattpark, a start-up whose goal is to connect owners of charging stations (individuals and professionals) and drivers of electric vehicles. 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 through 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 full electricity can only be achieved with the help of a substantial charging network, public or private.
Wattpark was born in 2017 as a result of the daily use of an electric vehicle. At that time, charging was a real hassle and when you were moving in peri-urban/rural areas, driving on electric was a real obstacle course. Since energy is available everywhere, we wanted to set up an ecosystem that would allow everyone to share a parking space equipped with a charging station.
It took us four years of R&D to create this ecosystem and patent a unique offline technology in Europe. in fine, we had to create a charging station to accommodate this reservation, 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 commercialization and exploitation of this technology. The first deployments began in 2021.
To date, our company employs nine people.
We sell our terminal for €599, but the Wattpark model involves reservations on our platform, where we charge 10% of the amount. The rest is paid into the owner’s virtual wallet. We also offer the possibility for large accounts to have a white label that allows them to create their own exchange network.
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 to make all parking equipment simple and collaborative. Wattpark quickly became a technological and industrial project.
The global car fleet is becoming 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%. 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 by 2035, an unprecedented industrial shock.
Therefore, our goal is clear: to support this revolution to facilitate the switch to electric power by making sure we offer a light, shareable and collaborative charging infrastructure that adapts to the daily mobility of the French and Europeans.
More than a thousand terminals have already found buyers. Our goal is to produce 1000 terminals per day. We plan to speed up the commissioning from March 2022, before the opening of our factory in Maine-et-Loire later this summer (the original Saclas site in Essonne is too small to manufacture such quantities, editor’s note). ).
We manufacture our own terminals in France with French subcontractors and almost all French/European equipment. The challenge we set ourselves is to produce in industrial quantities while maintaining this philosophy, that is, maintaining independence of supply and allowing material and technological sovereignty. The installation varies according to the type of installation, between €300 and €1,000. It can be done by an IRVE approved electrician or terminal fitter.
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 do away with the many cards you carry in your wallet: your mobile becomes a remote control to open and access our terminals!
It is under discussion with partners. Sharing other models introduces other accessibility issues. However, Wattpark’s online platform is ready to receive this new type of exchange. However, our kiosk model is still designed natively to facilitate this use.
This fundraising allowed us to finance our electronic supplies and make material modifications in series for our next production batches. We were able to hire four people from December 2022 to support the business development and assembly of our terminals in our workshop in the south of Essonne.
Yes, several companies that offer a charging ecosystem are competitors. They are mainly backed by energy companies.
Up to €150 monthly income
A person who has a Wattpark terminal installed is free to choose whether or not to open access to other users. In the event that 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, reserve it and go to it, even in the absence of the owner. As for the price, it is generally set at €1/h, or even €0.90/h. There is also the possibility of prolonging the load if the terminal schedule allows it.
Regarding the expected earnings, “Everything will depend on the number of visitors and the location of the terminal. In the best case scenario, an owner can expect up to €150/month, but in general we are at an average of €30-40/month”Bertrand Lepage told us.
The money thus collected is provisioned 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.
On the fiscal side, Bertrand Lepage specifies that “These income related to said rental of the car parks is subject to income tax in the micro-property regime” (annual income less than €15,000).