Hello and welcome to the EV Quest Podcast, I’m Adrian Maidment. This episode I’m talking with Mark Lampard, owner of Australian business “go EV”. Along with EV Chargers, Mark has over 20 years of experience in the import and distribution of technology products with his successful audio-visual product distribution company, Corsair Solutions.
We’re talking 👇
✅ Types of Chargers
✅ The Australian network
✅ Industry developments
✅ Charging tips for new EV owners
✅ And more…
For more info on go EV 👉 https://go-ev.com.au/
Transcription: slightly abridged
00:00:06:03 – 00:00:33:09
In this episode, I’m talking with Mark Lambert, owner of Australian business – go EV, a distributor of EV charging products. Mark has 20 years of experience in the import and distribution of technology products with his successful audio visual production distribution company Corsair Solutions. Hello, Mark. How are you? Good, thanks.
00:01:02:19 – 00:01:31:12
A little bit about your the EV side of things going on. Could you explain a bit more about that for a bit of an overview. Yeah, absolutely. So for the last two and a bit years, I’ve been building up the goal of a business, which is the representation of high quality EV charging hardware. I started that with a company called Sinexcel, based out of Shenzhen in China, they’re one of the biggest DC fast charger manufacturers in China.
00:01:31:13 – 00:02:00:07
They work with some really large and influential players in that market like Shell, BP, BYD. And so I’ve been, I think, relatively successful with a number of decent sized projects. And, you know, obviously the building of an image of that brand in this country as a viable, reliable supplier of that sort of equipment.
00:02:00:09 – 00:02:40:03
We’ve been lucky enough to be involved in the Gippsland region in Victoria with their project which included 12 Sinexcel DC fast chargers, and a number of much smaller projects but you know very important to get them all of course. Yeah. How did you get started? So I approached a few companies that looked like they were making some decent products, but Sinexcel really stood out as a very high quality manufacturer of power electronics equipment.
00:02:40:03 – 00:03:04:16
They’re an expert in power, quality products, harmonic filters and so on. So I thought that their background in high quality electronics really stood them in good stead to make a great EV charger. How do you sell to your clients? Because you’re not selling to consumers. So I’m selling to two electrical contractors, EV charging hardware specialists…
00:03:04:18 – 00:03:29:08
solar companies basically, if they’re a trade customer working in the electric vehicle charging space, then I would like to be talking to them and that can be, you know, suppose as well as, as straight contractors. What do you sort of just for like when you’re selling a car, you guys you know it’s got this does this heavy yet what are the features?
00:03:29:10 – 00:04:04:22
The important things are obviously the capabilities of the charger itself. The solid cell charger has a wide voltage range wider than most others, up to a thousand volts. Whereas, you know, there are some that are even limited down to 500 volts, which means that the new 800 volt cars can’t take advantage of that native voltage in the system, but also scalability of of designs in the future, including trucks and busses which might have between 600 and a thousand volt architecture.
00:04:04:23 – 00:04:29:22
So we can cater for all of them and that the charger can output full power between 300 votes to a thousand volts. Yeah. And I mean there are, there are a lot of key, I guess, technical components to this, to the sales process for, for an EV charger. And then obviously there’s really important things like reliability, who’s responsible for service and maintenance, where are the spare parts?
00:04:29:22 – 00:04:56:16
And obviously we take responsibility for a lot of that by keeping spare parts in Melbourne, we work with the company that’s doing the installation and so on to ensure that the customer service concerns people always have, isn’t it? Absolutely. Is the charger actually going to be working.. So I mean that’s almost more important than the charger selection.
00:04:56:16 – 00:05:17:13
Obviously you don’t want to charge the charger that’s going to have a reputation for being of poor quality and unreliable, which you know has happened over the last few years. But, you know, the fact that there’s someone there to back it up is a really key thing. How does FreeWire Boost help with the rollout of ultra fast charging?
00:05:17:15 – 00:05:57:11
Yeah. So FreeWire was another brand that that we’re working with and you know we’re doing some really exciting things in that space with the likes of the never mind basically the the absolutely key thing for the free wire boost product is that it has a battery inside and that that battery is charged off a relatively small connection to the grid in order to get a 200 kilowatt charger, say, directly connected like a sonic cell or an AB or tritium, you need 300 odd amps of good connection.
00:05:57:13 – 00:06:23:02
And that might not be possible in a lot of locations, small towns far away from the transformer and so on. So to be able to not have to bring such a large connection in or if you can use an existing connection to increase the charging power, like you might have a 50 kilowatt charger in a location and we can actually replace that 50 kilowatt charge electrically with two free wire boost charges.
00:06:23:04 – 00:06:54:12
So then you get full plugs and ultrafast charging off the same grid connection that you had a relatively small charger before. It’s really important for probably at least the next five years whilst we’re coming to grips with new power requirements for EV charging. But I’d say look, ongoing it’s a really great way to soak up solar through the day, put it in a battery and be able to dispense that back into cars in the evening.
00:06:54:12 – 00:07:20:13
And not that it solves a lot of problems with constrained grid requirements and so yeah and like just Australia overall it’s sort of fit a few people. So it’s just sort of kicking off really. It’s gotten more serious recently compared to a few years ago. Oh, absolutely. Look, with the change in government came a whole new change in attitude towards renewables, climate action and electric vehicles.
00:07:20:15 – 00:07:48:22
And obviously, you know, that’s what we’re here to talk about. So sales of electric vehicles have skyrocketed with some new EV friendly policies in the country. So there are a lot of tax incentives for people to take advantage of to buy on eBay. And I think we went from 3.8% to now like 9% of the new car sales every month.
00:07:48:22 – 00:08:22:04
So it is a really big increase over the last sort of 18 months. Just on the charges, how does the size of the charge affect the speed of the charging? Okay. So I mean, look, all in all for a charger to be able to be the DC fast charger, specifically to be able to charge a car faster, it needs more rectifiers, which are the power like the power electronics that convert the AC grid connection to DC to go into the car.
00:08:22:06 – 00:08:48:18
So in order to do even faster charging, you need more of them. And so if you have a 60 kilowatt charger, you only need 60 kilowatts of rectification. And so that only has to take up a certain amount of space. But if you want to do 240 kilowatts of charging, you need full times as many rectifiers. And so that’s why bigger chargers fast.
00:08:48:20 – 00:09:11:03
The charges are generally bigger. But then as chargers get faster, we generally look to other ways to store those rectifiers. So that’s where we have the satellite systems like you see with chem power and tritium and so on. Excel and AB When you get into ultra fast charging, you don’t generally store the rectifiers in the actual charging satellite unit.
00:09:11:05 – 00:09:33:14
You stole them in the power unit, which is closer to your, you know, your distribution board. That basically is why a charger with all the rectifiers inside just gets bigger and bigger and bigger the faster you want it to go. Sort of some of the recent events, you’ve been seeing all over the place.
00:09:33:15 – 00:10:02:19
Yeah. So Gary, they participated in trade or other expos this year. We did Fully Charge Live in Sydney in May and that was, that was really great. I say part of the responsibility of people in the industry is to really educate consumers, to make them understand that owning an EV like Fully Charged Live was definitely in part, community service.
00:10:02:21 – 00:10:26:13
You know, we don’t do a lot of business in AC charging right now and we definitely don’t sell directly to consumers. So our ability to extract revenue from that event was not traditional for us. However, coming into July we get energy next. And that was a really nice, really good chatter and we got some really great leads out of that.
00:10:26:15 – 00:10:45:08
And that was also the first show that we did where I, you know, had a new employee. So I hired a woman named Tina to do sales for me in New South Wales and she joined at the start of July. So it was really exciting to bring her to a show and to talk to customers on Mass about charging.
00:10:45:12 – 00:11:09:18
Then in October we also did an E-mobility event in Sydney and all Energy Australia at the end of the month. So it’s been a really busy year and we’ve spoken to so many people about all the different pain points of getting EV charging going in there, whether it’s in their business, you know, in their local government area or even, you know, even broadly, you know, the whole country.
00:11:09:18 – 00:11:33:01
You know, we’re talking about companies like the NRMA who have, you know, a very big project in conjunction with the Australian Federal Government to deliver charging all over the country to ensure that we have access to multiple operators and multiple brands of charges in appropriate locations, and then also in places where you can’t get charging at all because there’s no grid.
00:11:33:03 – 00:12:06:15
So they actually have developed a guide that goes on a truck and it has charges and battery storage and a solar array. And yes, even as the ultimate last resort, a small diesel jet, or is there a small diesel generator that can produce as much power as we need for charging? No, but it has a diesel generator because in the end, if you’re in the middle of the outback and the battery’s depleted and it’s at night, then someone turns up, really they need to continue their journey as well.
00:12:06:15 – 00:12:36:09
And so getting them a charge is more important than whether or not that one charge had a zero carbon footprint. And that’s why that’s there. Well, it’s funny because there are people who think it’s ridiculous, but they post all over the Internet about this. But there is a bigger picture play when you’re talking about providing this sort of infrastructure to ultra regional areas in Australia because like Australia is very big.
00:12:36:11 – 00:13:08:04
Yes. Compared to New Zealand. Yeah. Well I actually did that drive in May. So if you want to talk about some other event that I did, I drove to Uluru in my Model X with my three kids and a StarLink satellite Internet connection off the back. And you know, we drove and we did the, you know, the hardest probably other than going places where you have to charge off, say, a small solar array or or generator in the middle of absolutely nowhere.
00:13:08:06 – 00:13:47:16
It’s a pretty hard drive, really. And it was a great experience for me to effectively learn firsthand what it’s like now so that we can learn how we can improve it. People don’t want to charge for three and a half hours in the middle of the day in order to continue their journey in the afternoon. So if we can turn that equation from 3 hours in the morning, 3 hours of charging in 3 hours in the afternoon to 3 hours in the morning, 45 minutes to an hour and then 3 hours in the afternoon, it’s actually a much more palatable journey and will allow people to drive the, you know, the width and and
00:13:47:18 – 00:14:14:19
length of Australia in an event. So you’re working with China. How does that sort of the China Evie compare the setup with charge as compared to Australia Muscle summit. So I went to Shenzhen in late June and toured the factory. I mean the scale is just astronomical. These top manufacturing companies in China just do things in sizes that we just don’t have over here.
00:14:14:20 – 00:14:37:03
Yeah, maybe. I guess in mining, you know, we have mining on a scale that no one else does. They have manufacturing on a scale that no one else does. So the other thing is, I mean, you can get products at the full length of the quality chain in China. So if you want something for $50 that will make you something for $50.
00:14:37:03 – 00:15:06:20
But if you want the same thing for $500, they can do that too, and they’ll do it at the top quality that you can expect in the world, because, you know, they can do it and that’s what you get with subsonic. So charges as you get a company that has the experience of working with the biggest names in the world and hitting quality, you know and yeah they processes are, you know really good so that they’re testing them for, you know, in big rooms.
00:15:06:20 – 00:15:48:16
THRUSH Testing these power modules to make sure that the ones that don’t pass quality don’t make it into your, you know, DC fast charger. So it’s incredible what they are doing over there and just like going to the charger I mean but it station is huge as well I know some yeah yeah so sonic so delivered in conjunction I think by day the the 258 plug ultrafast charging park in Shenzhen airport which is the biggest in the world and it uses technology that you can also get in a relatively cost effective 80 kilowatt charger because it all comes back to the rectification, You know that power module, that’s the that’s the core of of an
00:15:48:21 – 00:16:10:01
a fast charger and you know, it uses the same interfaces in the same configuration. So all the work that they go to for anyone all filters back into every other product they make. And that’s I think a great thing. Just me back in Australia. What do your customers want to know? What sort of common question do they ask you when you go to those events?
00:16:10:05 – 00:16:28:21
Well, they want to know…what models you have. And if you’re talking to someone who wants to put in…
00:16:28:23 – 00:16:50:20
What type of charge is suitable for them? Are you providing services for customers when they come in for meetings? You know, it all comes back… It’s all l consultative, because everyone has needs and they want to make a decision that makes the most sense because of course, you can put in a 200 kilowatt charger for them, but it might not provide them much benefit and it will come at an extraordinary cost.
00:16:51:00 – 00:17:18:04
So in the end, our shows are always about talking to these customers and asking them questions about their needs and what suits them. Some of them all want to know about the price. I mean, in the end we give them an indicative price for what they might be looking for, you know, to pay for one of these charges so that when they go to an electric contractor to get the whole project scoped, you know, there’s no surprises.
00:17:18:04 – 00:17:50:21
You don’t want to go down the road of going, you know, and engaging a contractor and then find out that, you know, they’re not even in the ballpark. But yeah, it really comes down to making sure that when the customer talks to us that they get enough information to make good decisions about charging for their scenario and, you know, whether it’s government fleets or could be vans for delivery companies or trucks for delivery companies, how much power they’ve got available to them in order to achieve it, to help them understand the value proposition for a free boost.
00:17:50:21 – 00:18:17:13
For instance, you know, they might not have available power to put in multiple bays of 200 kilowatt charging, but they might be able to do that if they achieve it with a battery integrated charger for free. Well, I’m saying that that’s sort of the way we go about that. We’re really asking lots of questions of the customers in order to get them most comfortable with what their plans of charging should look like.
00:18:17:15 – 00:18:33:17
Yeah, I can take quite a while to get it actually installed. We’re pretty fast and we can have some on a charge of any type basically, you know, 8 to 9 weeks even if we don’t have it in the country.
00:18:33:19 – 00:18:58:23
So we do keep some stock in the country in order to support them. There’s someone who does want something straight away, but they’re obviously making a decision based on what we have available in stock. But if they want something very specific, then we can, you know, put it together and they want to go ahead and, you know, we can introduce them to one of our partners who can then do all their site inspections and give them a quote for work.
00:18:59:00 – 00:19:24:10
And, you know, from there, it’s kind of similar to procuring anything in place in order the goods are made, they’re sent on a boat, they arrive and then the project rolls ahead. Hmm. Just for the common consumer. There is this sort of key thing. So maybe someone’s just about to buy their TV in the thing, and we’ll do the charging sort of key points for charging consumers.
00:19:24:12 – 00:19:43:00
t I’ve not now met many people that haven’t gotten rid of their charging anxiety after they’ve gotten the car. So they all worry about it before they get their car. They worry about where they’re going to charge. The fact is they can charge from home with a ten amp socket if they need to.
00:19:43:02 – 00:20:05:08
And that’s probably the case that the availability of fuel energy is everywhere. The idea that there’s not enough DC fast chargers out and about in the world is probably a reasonable depiction of what it’s like now and it will get better. But in reality people should be looking to charge from home because it’s cheaper, it’s more convenient.
00:20:05:10 – 00:20:39:08
You don’t have to worry about even going to a DC fast charger most of the time because if you just top up every night, even just to 80% like everyone says, then you’ll have enough for most days. I mean it might be that you have to drive is not and researching where your fast charger is is required still but it’s not the end of the world and it is is a really it’s definitely something that people who then get their EVs learned very quickly that they don’t they don’t have to be worried range anxiety is not even a worry anymore, let alone charger anxiety.
00:20:39:13 – 00:21:03:05
When you go on road trips, there’s still preparation required. And that’s the key thing. Hmm. Okay. Are there any other sort of key points you wanted to mention about the charging of EVs in general? Well, I mean, on charging, I mean, basically everyone’s working really hard to bring more charging faster all over Australia. I mean, I know they are doing it in New Zealand as well.
00:21:03:05 – 00:21:29:12
And so but, you know, there are a lot of really good people in the industry working hard to bring charging to more places. And and, you know, hopefully you know, we can get there quick enough to to alleviate, you know, some of these pain points that have existed, you know, in the US and the UK over the last couple of years that you might have seen on TV or in a newspaper, just be patient with everyone that’s, that’s there.
00:21:29:14 – 00:21:48:01
You know, it is a great thing. It’s a great driving experience. It’s, you know, take the time when you’re charging to go and find a local operator of a cafe to buy a bit of food and a coffee from, don’t just sit in your car and read your phone. Use it as an opportunity to explore.
00:21:48:03 – 00:22:03:15
You know, you’re going to probably charge for 40 minutes. You can get a little walking. It’s nice it’s a nice thing. And I mean I used to operate a charger at the front of our office before we moved this year. And that’s what a lot of people do. We’re right next to a lovely creek. And if the weather was nice, people would just go for a walk.
00:22:03:15 – 00:22:19:23
So, you know, whilst everyone is very focused on faster, faster, faster at this point in time, it’s probably important to take into account that, you know, it’s not 10 minutes to charge a car to full anymore. Not like not what petrol, but it doesn’t smell and you don’t have to go to a petrol station. You can just do it at home.
00:22:19:23 – 00:22:40:02
On 99 out of 100 dice. Yeah, that’s really good. You know the things you want to mention, I think. I think as long as people understand that there’s not, I don’t think there’s any need to, to fear. Most of these cars can drive three 5400 cases without needing to charge. And that’s, that’s well within the scope of even most people’s road trips.
00:22:40:04 – 00:22:58:02
So I think it’s really, really keen to understand that people should be buying EVs as the next car and that most people’s anxiety about EVs goes away once they’ve got one because it’s actually nowhere near as hot as anyone thinks. That’s really a good point to finish on. That’s great. Yeah. Thank you very much for having me.