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Hypercharge CEO talks EVs and charging education

IMAGE: Hypercharge CEO and co-founder David Bibby
Hypercharge CEO and co-founder David Bibby. (Courtesy Hypercharge Networks Corp.)

Hypercharge Networks Corp.'s co-founder and CEO David Bibby is optimistic on electric vehicle (EV) adoption and Canada’s zero-emission goals, albeit with the knowledge that there is still a need for public chargers and broader education.

Having become the first Canadian-founded company in the sector to go public on the NEO Exchange last month, smart EV charging solutions provider Hypercharge is on target to finish the year at over 600 ports sold with pipeline of over $9 million in development ahead.

“I would just classify this as early days. Most Canadians still don't drive electric vehicles and I talked to a lot of them in the U.S. too,” Bibby said.

"(Drivers) don't say, ‘I'll never go back (to gas-powered vehicles).’ Others will say ‘I'm not sure yet.’ So part of our role is to educate as well become an authority in this space to educate our customers.”

Hypercharge (HC-NE) provides a turnkey charging solution to the multiunit residential, fleet and public segments with hardware, software and services. The Vancouver-based company doesn’t manufacture its own products, but brings in “the best in the industry” from the U.S., Asia and Europe depending on the needs of the charger.

It recently completed its first DC fast charger installation – the fastest available – at the Sylvan Lake Multi-Plex in Sylvan Lake, Alta.

Hypercharge’s development

Bibby co-founded Hypercharge in June 2021. Previously, he had co-founded Finning Digital – an accelerator created on behalf of the board of industrial equipment company Finning International to connect the company’s assets to digital platforms.

Bibby spent six years examining Finning’s mining and construction assets, figuring out how to improve performance and reduce costs. In 2019, he bought his first EV, a Tesla. In this role, the need to electrify became paramount to him, particularly since over 50 per cent of costs in mining come from fuel.

“It's not a matter of if this transition is going to happen. It's really how fast, so we think about it as an unavoidable transformation that's occurring,” he said. “And the issue I saw was around customer experience for a lot of the charging networks.”

Having launched its EV charging solutions in April, the company has over 100 sites in Canada. It recently formed a U.S. subsidiary with its first sites to be installed down south soon.

In July, SustainableBiz reported on Hypercharge’s partnership with AXSO for the latter to provide a white label platform for its customers, which includes an e-wallet, a trip planner, a station finder and station-usage trends among other features. 

The software is available on Hypercharge’s app, which has been live since March.

EV education

Naturally, for EV adoption to increase, people will need places to charge. Bibby discussed the “paradigm shift” of EV charging, in that drivers are able to recharge their cars at work or at home.

As a result, part of his and Hypercharge’s role is in educating drivers on the differences with EVs and EV charging.

DC fast chargers are important for long-distance travel and highway corridors, he explained. But in urban centres, Level 2 chargers are the primary way people will charge at work and home.

“The other barrier beyond charging infrastructure is the supply chain issues that the automotive industry has right now,” Bibby said. “I think that that's going to take another 12 to 18 months to work its way through.”

While there is a chip shortage currently, it does not affect Hypercharge as much as it affects automotive manufacturers. However, he did note buying an EV in Canada right now requires anywhere between six to 12 months lead time.

He believes government support for charger installation will have to continue for the next five to seven years.

The future of EV charging

Some of Hypercharge’s clients include the City of Toronto, QuadReal Connect, EPC Capital and the Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre.

Regarding the Sylvan Lake installation, Hypercharge has other Level 3 charger deals coming online soon, it just so happened that the Sylvan Lake Multi-Plex was the first. That being said, he did note Alberta may be a significant player in the EV transformation.

He also sees multi-residential as the biggest opportunity for EV chargers in the future.

“That's the fastest growing segment. Retail and fleet are the others,” Bibby said. “For me right now, fleet is . . . probably in third place. Because a lot of companies, there's a lot of capital tied up in assets, and it takes time for them to transition over.”

According to Bibby, the EV charging market is growing at an over 30 per cent compound annual rate and could be around a $100 billion industry by 2030. His aim, well before the 2030 deadline, is to position Hypercharge as a “high growth company in a high growth industry.”

A 2022 BloombergNEF report forecasted EV adoption to reach 52 per cent in the U.S by 2030, and Natural Resources Canada estimates EV adoption to reach 60 per cent in Canada by 2030, up from eight per cent where it currently sits, in a 2022 report.

Fortune Business Insights projects the global EV charging stations market size to grow from $23.54 billion in 2021 to $149.76 billion by 2028.

Building on his bullish attitude, he sees Canada as being past the pioneering stage, envisioning the next five years in Canada as the mass adoption stage for EVs.

“That's what will happen. All of the automotive manufacturers have said that they'll no longer produce another internal combustion engine vehicle in the next decade. So it's just a question of time,” he said. 

“I think I heard it a term which I liked was, we've reached peak internal combustion engine production as a society. We've been building those for 200 years almost.”

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