Ancillary Services ManagementProvider Spotlight
Blink – EV Charging Solutions
Blink is paving the way for the adoption of Electric Vehicles (EV’s) through the deployment and operation of EV charging infrastructure globally. You’ll get a charge out of this ASM Provider Spotlight with Mike Battaglia, VP of Sales, for Blink Charging. Find out about why the EV car future is so bright and how your property can turn on a great amenity and take part in this trend.
CHILI – I want to start with some questions about you and your background. Think back to your first paying job. What was it and how did you get it?
BATTAGLIA – It was how I started in the auto industry. I was an avid Car and Driver reader and could identify any make and model on the road. While at college in Boston, I walked into Herb Chambers Honda and asked if there were any open positions. They asked what I wanted to do. I said I can wash cars. They replied, “would you like to sell cars?” I said I’d love to, and they hired me on the spot. Made more money than any other summer job.
CHILI – Pretty good to start selling cars at 19. Were there summer jobs before that?
BATTAGLIA – Earliest paying job was mowing lawns in high school in suburban Philadelphia. We had a ride-on mower, so I mowed most of the neighbor’s lawns.
CHILI – What, if anything, you learned on that first job, do you use today?
BATTAGLIA – If you provide a service, do it right, consistently with high quality, people will keep coming back.
CHILI – It’s clear you are a car guy from your sales job. What sparked that interest?
BATTAGLIA – I have no idea. Nobody in my family knew about cars or had a love of cars. For some reason, I had gasoline in my veins and can’t explain it.
CHILI – It’s a lot harder to know the make and model these days. There are many more brands and so many appear similar.
BATTAGLIA – To that point, I’ve lost my touch and couldn’t identify half the models today.
CHILI – You hopped over to the tech industry and then transitioned from traditional automotive to the EV world. What prompted that move?
BATTAGLIA – I spent six years in consumer electronics and then jumped back into the auto industry with J.D. Power. My combination of auto experience and technology hardware experience was a perfect background for my move to Blink.
CHILI – Let’s talk about Blink. Why is it called Blink?
BATTAGLIA – The history is, our founder, Michael Farkas, started a company called Car Charging Group. They bought a company, Ecotality, out of bankruptcy. Their product, a first generation car charging network was called Blink. We liked the name and kept it for the new company.
CHILI – One reason ASM wanted to find out more about Blink is because of a program now available to our clients in the Mid-Atlantic. It funds installation costs for EV chargers and Blink provides a revenue share. Is that resulting in increased activity?
BATTAGLIA – The specific program that we were awarded is called Virginia Clean Cities. We have seen tremendous interest in the initial stages and have commitment installations from a variety of hosts.
CHILI – Are programs like that available across the country?
BATTAGLIA – Yes, there are similar programs across the country. They come and go depending on funding levels, take rate or program interest. We fully expect these to ramp up in the coming months.
CHILI – We talk to regional property managers about chargers because it can be a great amenity for residents. It seems every location has different space or other limitations, so it is hard to say every location is viable. Are you able to work on deals across REITs or owner/manager portfolios that go beyond picking off one location at a time?
BATTAGLIA – Yes, we can look at a portfolio and prioritize sites based on a variety of factors, including grant and rebate support. For example, we just announced a partnership with Cushman and Wakefield. But we must evaluate every portfolio site because each location has to stand on its own. Since there is so much inevitable market growth, we will go in early at select locations in anticipation of long term upside.
CHILI – We know the industry is growing, so savvy property managers (PMs) should be looking to the future to prepare for that increase. What percentage of cars sold are EV and how is that changing?
BATTAGLIA – Approximately two million vehicles are now on the road and another 400,000 vehicles will be sold this year. In 2025, the industry is projected to sell 1.5 million cars. In 2030, projections are for 3.5-4 million, or one in five cars sold.
CHILI – Some PMs might think multifamily residents are less likely to have EVs. The biggest selling car, Tesla, is so expensive and multi-family residents are less likely to have $100,000 cars. Talk about that.
BATTAGLIA – EV charging stations are an increasingly important amenity. It’s a way to attract a higher demographic resident. When an EV owner knows a residence has a charger available, that location gets on the consideration list. And to your point, we are seeing newer, lifestyle properties coming on board first. But this will change as government programs are in place to promote usage in affordable housing locations.
CHILI – Does Tesla and its upscale models still overshadow the competition?
BATTAGLIA – Right now, Tesla still dominates the market. However, Automotive News just announced almost 100 new models will be introduced by a variety of manufacturers by 2024. It’s coming, it’s coming quickly and with a broad range of models and price points.
CHILI – I’m more of a fossil fuel guy and would only be interested in a hybrid. What are the differences between the two types?
BATTAGLIA – There are plug-in hybrids and pure EVs. The plug-ins still need charging and use the charging infrastructure. Single family owners will have home charging stations. But outside of that, consumers want to have charging access anywhere there is dwell time. So, wherever they live, shop, play or work they want to have access to charging. They want the same convenient refueling options as they currently enjoy with gasoline powered cars.
CHILI – Where are the most popular locations for cars/chargers? For example, what area of the country and type of location, i.e. retail or convenience stores.
BATTAGLIA – Lots in retail and office, and in government and multi-family. In fact, we have hundreds of multifamily chargers installed. Far and away California leads the way in registrations and charging network locations. Other states are coming around quickly. California, New Jersey, and Colorado all announced initiatives calling for elimination of internal combustion vehicle sales by 2035. There is lots of activity across the country and with the Clean Cities program we talked about at the start, the Mid-Atlantic is active as well.
CHILI – There are several different charger companies. Here is your opportunity for a shameless plug. Why would a property want to install a Blink charger vs other options?
BATTAGLIA – First of all, we have the fastest level two charger on the market. So, connected to a 100 amp circuit our charger puts out 19.2 kilowatts of power, which means you get around 60 miles of range in one hour. A “trickle charger” could take 8-10 hours to fully charge a vehicle. If you connect to a Blink IQ200 unit, you can charge your entire car in about 3-4 hours.
Secondly, Blink’s commercial chargers are connected to a cloud-based software network. We own and operate our own network, so we have seamless hardware/software integration. A driver can look at all charging locations on a map, see if the station is occupied and view pricing. The host can see how much revenue was generated, how many charging sessions took place and the positive environmental impact of hosting a station. This information can be used to show residents that property management is environmentally conscious.
Lastly, the advancement of this industry is non-political. For multi-family owners it is going to be important to get out ahead of this trend instead of playing catch up.
CHILI – Now for the exciting lightning round. Which do you prefer and why?
Ford vs Ferrari – Today I would say Ford because I’m looking forward to an electric Ford 150.
Hummer Cybertruck vs Tesla – Personal preference Hummer.
Thomas Edison vs Nikola Tesla – Thomas Edison. Created the inventions that form the foundations of every economy around the world.
Ricky Bobby vs Ricky Petty – Ricky Bobby. Anything Will Farrell does, I’m a fan.
Lightning McQueen vs Steve McQueen – Steve McQueen because he is as smooth as ice.
CHILI – We are at the homestretch so let’s wrap up with some questions about you. Are there any books you give to others you would recommend to our readers? If so, what are they and why?
BATTAGLIA – My favorite book of all time is Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl. It demonstrates that people can maintain their dignity and have hope in the direst of circumstances.
CHILI – What about a TV show, movie, or podcast recommendation?
BATTAGLIA – I recently enjoyed the Netflix series, Hinterland, a British crime drama.
CHILI – What question should I have asked you, that I did not ask?
BATTAGLIA – How many stations will be needed in the US? Answer – By 2030 we will need 13 million stations and now there are only 250,000. That’s why the future’s bright at Blink.
CHILI – Thanks for charging up the ASM Provider Spotlight.