Rotkreuz, 02.04.2019

Start-up company eCarUp sets up private charging stations

With e-mobility playing an increasing role in transport, the start-up eCarUp company of Rotkreuz is now looking to set up private charging stations for rent.


When covering long journeys, drivers of e-cars have no option but to charge up at public charging stations, something which is more expensive than charging up at home, a recent spot check within Switzerland showed.

Of note is that home-charging stations can be shared among a number of drivers, and such a service is just something that the eCarUp company has been offering since 2017, this by means of an app of the same name which allows private charging stations to be shared. In order for this to work, additional hardware in box-type format costing between CHF 200 and CHF 300 is also necessary, current charging stations able to be adapted. As Martina Hickethier, product manageress of the eCarUp company (photograph) explained, at the core of the hardware is a smart meter, meaning that the flow of energy can be precisely measured.


As the manageress further explained, there are other similar systems offering intelligent charging stations for hire, but these are based on Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP) technology, which, as a rule, is more expensive and has to be installed by a specialist, which Hickethier felt laborious. Then there is the joining fee and/or monthly payment.


She emphasised that the great advantage of eCarUp’s system was that it worked regardless of the make of the charging station, the only company to provide this service, with existing charging stations able to be adapted accordingly. As to the costs, there are no subscription fees in the basic version as such, but eCarUp levies a ten per cent commission on each transaction, Hicketheir pointing out that reasonably-priced charging stations plus eCarUp hardware worked out as a rule only half as expensive as other intelligent charging stations.


Then there is the great simplicity the eCarUp system offers, with owners able to offer user rights and adjust the per Kilowatt-hour of energy. And all e-car drivers need to operate it all is a smart phone. She mentioned, too, that, at present, there were 340 eCarUp charging stations in Switzerland, with some 1,400  making use of the app, the company cooperating with providers of energy and electrical services, and clients coming often from small and medium-sized companies and those in the property business, many of the stations themselves located near multi-family dwelling units and offices. In some cases, the energy can be provided directly from photovoltaic installations on roofs of apartment houses, as is the case in Beckenried in the neighbouring canton of Nidwalden, the owners demanding CHF 0.20 to CHF 0.50 per Kilowatt-hour of energy, and between CHF 0.50 and CHF 5.00 per hour for parking, though at times charges are waived, as in the case of company vehicles. “No-one will get rich selling off electricity like this, but at least with our app they can earn a little,” she said.


Looking to the future, it is thought that e-vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles will make up 3.2 per cent of all new cars registered in Switzerland, though this is still modest in comparison with Norway, where they are looking to 15 per cent by 2022. Looking further ahead, to 2035, it is hoped the percentage here will amount to 50 per cent.


It was further pointed out that 85 per cent of all charging stations were in private hands and that, for every e-vehicle sold, a charging station was erected at a residence or office.