The ECL (electric charging lane)
A product to keep electric vehicles on the road and away from the charging stations.
Electric vehicles are better for the environment as opposed to gas, however, adoption and use of EV’s remains low because drivers are burdened with the need to stop and charge, which costs them time and money. Studies show that reducing this burden would equate to more purchases and more consistent use of EV’s.
Studies show that the more mileage an EV can complete without stopping, the more people will convert from gas to electric. Stopping to charge every 200 miles incurs roughly 25% in time, and roughly $135 in costs for the average EV user, which leads to drivers preferring to either rent a gas vehicle, borrow a gas vehicle from a friend or family member, or not even own an EV to begin with.
Imagine a 28 hour road trip from Houston, TX to San Francisco, CA. This road trip is 1,927 miles. On average, you have to stop to charge your EV every 100 - 300 miles. During a 28 hour road trip, if you have to charge every 200 miles, you end up stopping around 9-10 times to charge your EV.
You also have to factor in the charging time of around 30-45 min for 9-10 different stops. This is just one way! That is an additional 4.5 to 6.5 hours added to the duration of your road trip, resulting in your journey from TX to CA taking approximately 34.5 hours, opposed to 28 hours. This additional time may cause you to have to book an additional hotel for a fourth night. The result of this problem is “wasted” time with charging and extra money spent to set up accommodations due to charging taking up a huge chunk of your travel time.
User Pain Points
I created a broader Google Form survey to understand EV driver’s common pain points, likes/dislikes, and overall satisfaction of their EV. I needed to understand if this not only IS a problem today for EV drivers, but also, is it a consistent problem among the majority of the EV drivers.
After conducting a survey using Google Form and posting on social media (Linkedin, Instagram, Facebook), 16 respondents were surveyed.
- 80% of EV drivers said that if they could change one thing about their EV, they would improve the battery charge
- 53.3% of EV drivers said they would not take their EV on a out of state or long road trip due to charging
After completing the user research via Google Form, we selected the top three candidates to interview and dig a bit deeper.
- 3 out of 3 interviewees said they would only take an electric vehicle on a long distance road trip if absolutely necessary - meaning only if they had to work while driving.
- 3 out of 3 interviewees said they have a family member/partner who owns a gas vehicle. When going on trips, they prefer to take the gas vehicle due to frequent charging for the electric vehicle.
- 3 out of 3 interviewees said they dislike the fact that they have to charge so frequently on roadtrips.
- 3 out of 3 interviewees have driven at least one long road trip with their electric vehicle and would not do it again.
Landing on the Solution
Based on our target users’ feedback around pain points, we determined our problem was a consistent theme for EV drivers and needed a solution. After reviewing survey results and selecting the top candidates to interview, we knew whether we create a solution that exists in one state or city, it needs to be built out, tested, and fully implemented.
This is a big problem that requires BIG plans and budget. First step is studying Sweden’s project with building out a charging lane. Our goal will be to determine the best wins + opportunities from this project. This will assist with making our solution even stronger.
Product Manager Learnings:
Co.Lab was a very insightful experience for me! I enjoyed getting the chance to work closely with my peers, hear from actual PM’s that work for large companies, and overall the flow + breakdown of this course. This course allowed/forced me to take a step back from how I’m used to thinking. Rather than taking a problem and jumping into an immediate solution, I had to practice simmering with a problem for quite a while to determine what the root problem is, is this a broad or narrow problem, does this problem need to be fixed, etc.
I will be taking all of the information I learned from this four week course and implementing this into my everyday life at work. I just started an APM (Associate Product Manager) role and this course definitely helped me get started on the right foot!
Thank you to Co.Lab for this opportunity!