SkillFusion: Solving the Charging Station Problem
The electric vehicle (EV) revolution has taken hold of the global automobile market. Following a massive surge in popularity, especially in the last decade, the global EV market is projected to reach $1,579.10 billion by 2030. This exponential growth has led to an increased need for other industry professionals — such as parts manufacturers, expert salespeople, maintenance professionals, and technology gurus — who can keep the cars and support equipment up and running.
One of the biggest sticking points for EV enthusiasts has been the ongoing issues with charging stations. Although the number of charging stations available nationwide has grown, especially with a recent initiative by the Biden Administration to add 500,000 stations by 2030, there has been a noted lack of regular maintenance and reliable uptime with the existing stations.
The issue with charging station maintenance and uptime has led to the need for skilled, certified professionals who specialize in EV charging station upkeep and installation. The skill gap that currently exists has contributed to the issue of EV adoption outpacing the availability and reliability of charging infrastructure.
One company has recently emerged seeking to bridge that skill gap and help the EV revolution thrive. SkillFusion is a new software platform on the market, whose mission is to improve electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) uptime by bringing more skilled, certified technicians into the industry. The program is the brainchild of cleantech entrepreneur Rue Phillips and his team, who are keen to see EV adoption succeed globally.
Phillips is aware, however, of the issue with charging station reliability that stands in the way. “The US Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration’s National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) program is working to fund a large-scale deployment of EV charging infrastructure across the country, which is required to maintain a 97% operational uptime. This is a tall order, in and of itself,” he explains.
It is indeed a “tall order.” The 97% operational uptime that the Federal Highway Administration is aiming for could be a far-flung dream without a dedication to training and certifying more professionals specifically aimed at supporting a robust charging infrastructure.
The SkillFusion approach
SkillFusion has been designed as a skill enhancement program for electricians and other technicians to prepare them for the expanded need coming on the heels of the EV popularity surge.
“Currently, EV drivers are experiencing charging station issues in approximately 20% of stations at any given time,” says Phillips. “The demand for certified experts capable of maintaining the charging infrastructure has never been more critical. We see EV drivers moving from ‘range anxiety’ to ‘charger anxiety’ as EV charging station owners and operators struggle to keep downtime for servicing to a minimum.”
To support the “electrification” push in the US, the country will need an estimated 142,000 more certified technicians by 2030. These professionals will not only service EV charging stations, but also the increased number of solar panels, battery storage, and smart chargers.
SkillFusion is focused on charger-agnostic skill enhancement and certification. The program aims to create a proprietary database of certified workers whose expertise addresses the skills gap created by the EV industry surge. The comprehensive program offered by SkillFusion covers a variety of skill essentials applicable in this new world of work built around emerging technologies. This includes charging station support, networking and communication, licensed electricians, and cybersecurity.
Phillips brings over two decades of experience in the EV space to the table, and the team he has assembled to help him launch SkillFusion is similarly experienced. Elaina Farnsworth, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, has led the industry in developing training and certification programs within the mobility sector. Alisyn Malek, Chief Operating Officer, has a strong background as an automotive tech entrepreneur and is a leading voice in mobility and policy. Lastly, Dave Packard, the Chief Strategy Officer, is a pioneer in transportation electrification and a recognized leader in EV charging infrastructure.
Together, this strong team has introduced a game-changing training and certification program that is sure to help bolster an already revolutionary industry. Phillips and his team have a plan to partner with other credentialing providers to help build a strong training program that is sure to move the needle toward the Federal Highway Administration’s 97% uptime goal.
A future of accessible and reliable power
Although the current charging infrastructure leaves much to be desired, the SkillFusion team is hopeful they are ushering in a time of growth and change. “The country’s EV charging network is growing exponentially to meet the demand of EV drivers,” explains Phillips. “The bigger issue at hand is what happens once the chargers are installed and begin to degrade from use over time. How will the industry ensure a skilled service workforce, and what is the plan to service the chargers at scale?”
Phillips is convinced the answer is SkillFusion’s comprehensive approach to training, certification, and deployment of skilled professionals.