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Blink Charging waiting for 'dust to settle' on Tesla fast-charging deals: CEO

Blink Charging is sizing up the growing demand for EV fast-charging stations as Tesla finalizes deals with Ford and GM. Blink Charging President and CEO Brendan Jones joins Yahoo Finance Live to discuss business with Tesla, adapting superchargers for all EVs, and the impact of the Biden administration's infrastructure investments.

Video Transcript

AKIKO FUJITA: With US EV sales soaring in Q1. It was up roughly 80% since last year, according to research from counterpoint USA. Despite the rising popularity, though, range anxiety remains a huge hurdle for many potential buyers. Roughly half reject the idea of purchasing an EV because of the lack of charging stations that are available right now. At least, that's according to JD Power.

Now finding a charging station could get a little easier. Dianne, pointing to this partnerships with Ford and GM and Tesla now giving their own EV owners access to Tesla superchargers. For more on this, let's bring in Brendan Jones, Blink Charging President and CEO. Brendan, we saw your stock get hit in a big way on the back of that partnership being announced. What are shareholders missing right now? What does this mean for Blink?

BRENDAN JONES: Well, I think they're missing, for Blink and for other companies, that, actually, Tesla is our number one customer today. So if we look at who plugs into our chargers on a daily basis, it's overwhelmingly Tesla drivers. Now that, of course, corresponds to the market share.

But the reality is this. Is that the majority of charging takes place on what's called level 2 charging. And the announcements that came out from GM and Ford, respectively, with Tesla, is all about DC fast charging. So DC fast charging makes up about 10% of the space.

So Blink is about 95% a level 2 company, and then 5% a DC fast charging. Company so we're going to wait for the dust to settle on this. We are excited about the announcement by Tesla. It means that, as you said, there's range anxiety, but we believe installing reliable EV infrastructure creates range confidence, and that's our job.

And we believe that all ships rise together. So we're going to keep investing in L2, and we'll even start producing DC fast chargers that have the Tesla standard on it.

AKIKO FUJITA: Yeah, I mean, let's pick up on that point. I mean, yes, you're saying you're waiting for the dust to settle but you do have NACS chargers as well. Does it matter what the standard is? Because it feels like the market has been fragmented already.

BRENDAN JONES: So the market has been fragmented a long time because before you had CCS, you had CHAdeMO. And then you had CCSN CHAdeMO. Now you've got CCS and Tesla. So we've been in this constant state of flux for a while now.

So what we have to do is make sure that we equip all stations with the ability to charge all the vehicle types out there. And eventually, it might settle down. But for the near future, because both the GM and Ford announcements said their vehicles that drive on the Tesla standard won't be available well into 2025.

So we have quite a bit of headroom on that, and we have quite a bit of time to structurally adjust in the industry and make sure we have adapters and other methodologies to ensure that all drivers, regardless of the auto OEM they choose to purchase their EV from, can charge.

DIANE KING HALL: Brendan, I've got to ask you, what do you need from regulators to help with the expansion of EV and support your business?

BRENDAN JONES: So I think the Biden administration has done a lot. If you look at the $7.5 billion they've set aside, 5 billion of that is for highway DC fast charger infrastructure, and the other 2.5 is for community and rural. That's a great start. But what the policy needs to do is they need to work on a state and federal level to collaborate with industry, companies such as Blink. And help us, and help the community install EV everywhere.

And what we have to understand is for the greater driving public, their vehicle, according to the Department of Transportation, sits 95% of the time. The best way to charge those vehicles is inexpensive L2 charging. And that type of charging can really take care of most of the needs.

And then DC fast charging along the highway or other convenient locations will fill in the gap. And what a DC fast charger does, it shows someone that here's a charger. It's a very visible sign. And it builds that anecdote, for as you call it, range anxiety, increased range confidence. But L2 Chargers do the same thing.

So we'll collaborate. Policymakers are doing a lot more these days. Our level of collaboration on the state and municipal level is off the charts. The Biden administration is working hard. We're going to come together on the Tesla and the new standard as well. And we're going to keep driving the industry forward.

AKIKO FUJITA: Yeah, Brendan, you know, I mean, when you look at where things are in infrastructure, it feels like one big puzzle right now. We've heard over and over that at least in its current state of EV adoption, most drivers do charge at home. You want to expand that pool. A lot of people live in their apartments, they don't have chargers back at home.

What's the conversation like right now with the utility companies and how much the grid can support it once you get wider EV adoption? Because a lot of people are going to want to charge at night. You don't have enough power to really source all of that, right?

BRENDAN JONES: Yeah, so it's very collaborative. And what we have to do is understand that the new home, as we talk about EV drivers, is-- it's the single family, it is the multifamily dwelling, it is the municipal garage. That's where they park to charge the vehicles that they own.

So we have to work with utilities and software companies develop load management software that helps ease the load. And we have to make sure that we have timing that is reactive to the-- charging that is reactive to the grid and the needs of the grid, and then we have to bring in new energy management technologies. Some of those technology will be new devices that help spread the load evenly, others will be battery back systems, will take the reliability which help companies mitigate having overload on the grid.

But to keep in mind, the US is a power producer, has plenty of power. What we need to improve is how we distribute that power. There's no issue with how much we can produce.

DIANE KING HALL: Brendan, I want, to ask you about the government and Postal Service. We know that you got a deal to supply the charging capability for the Postal Service. There was talk, originally, about turning the Postal Service into a 100% electric fleet, there had been some backpedaling on that. Where does that stand now?

BRENDAN JONES: Well, so right now, the total order is 41,500 for three companies that are engaged in it. Blink is happy to say that we've already delivered and exceeded expectations on the initial delivery to the post office, and we're working on what the next steps are going to be as we move into January and February of next year.

So 41,000 chargers for one agency is massive. And those chargers, as discussed before, are level 2 chargers. For the post office, that's the most economical way to make sure their drivers have a fully charged vehicle at the beginning of the day. That charge has enough to maintain their duty cycle during the day. And then they come back in, they plug back out, and they charge.

So we're confident that other federal agencies are going to begin to look at the post office and say, we need to do the same thing. And that's great for Blink.

AKIKO FUJITA: Blink Charging CEO and President, Brendan Jones. It's good to have you on today. Thanks so much for your time.

BRENDAN JONES: Absolutely, it was great being on. Thank you.