LØRN case C0242 -
LØRN. SME

Anders Thingbø

CEO

Zaptec

Smart charging of Electric cars

In this episode of #LØRN, Silvija talks to the CEO of Zaptec, Anders Thingbø, about future-oriented charging. Zaptec has established itself as a leader within intelligent charging stations for electric cars. In the episode, Anders tells about the change of power he sees in the energy sector from the electricity companies to the private sector, how to become a world leader in smart charging systems for electric cars, and what the cause of cloud has on the electricity bill. Anders holds a Master in Finance and Business Administration and throughout his professional career, he has focused on leadership and profitable growth in innovative and sustainable companies with strong brands.
LØRN case C0242 -
LØRN. SME

Anders Thingbø

CEO

Zaptec

Smart charging of Electric cars

In this episode of #LØRN, Silvija talks to the CEO of Zaptec, Anders Thingbø, about future-oriented charging. Zaptec has established itself as a leader within intelligent charging stations for electric cars. In the episode, Anders tells about the change of power he sees in the energy sector from the electricity companies to the private sector, how to become a world leader in smart charging systems for electric cars, and what the cause of cloud has on the electricity bill. Anders holds a Master in Finance and Business Administration and throughout his professional career, he has focused on leadership and profitable growth in innovative and sustainable companies with strong brands.
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17 min

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SS: Hello and welcome to a podcast by Lørn and ONS, our topic is energy technology. My name is Sylvia Seres, and my guest is Anders Thingbø. A CEO of Zaptec. Welcome.

AT: Thank you very much.

SS: Anders, you do smart charging of electric vehicles.

AT: That’s correct.

SS: I look forward to hearing more about that, before we start talking about your company. I would like you to tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do?

AT: Yeah, I am the CEO of Zaptec and I’ve been there for one year which prior to my job now I was in Lyse utility company in the south west of Norway. So I discovered there was a silent revolution going on in the energy industry, so I felt that we could make some impact with that Zaptec with charging electric vehicles.

SS: Was the silent revolution intended pun or not intended pun?

AT: I will say that the utility companies can't see that there are shifts coming to them and they are preparing themselves for the future but I think the private companies are even more agile and they adapt faster than the traditional utilities, that’s what I have seen.

SS: This sounds to me also an innovation in a business model for energy companies, what you do in Zaptec. Can you explain to us your idea and how is this challenging or complementing traditional energy companies?

AT: Yeah, it is more like a niche when we talk about charging electric vehicles. The concept is to electrify the transportation sector. More than 28% of the CO2 emissions in the world comes

from this sector. So you need to be working with the technology and the business models within that sector to be the best. So the energy companies, they are broad, they are operating the grid, they are producing energy but what we see now is more specialized companies that develop technology that’s balancing power in a new way and also build the technology for the future for the electrification of the transport sector.

SS: So what do you sell?

AT: We sell charging systems for apartment complexes and companies. Today the grid is quite weak in many countries. So when a lot of people buy electric vehicles, they need to charge at home, that’s the cheapest and most convenient way of charging the EV. So we are providing them with many charging points from limited power capacity, so our technology is patented and it’s one of the best in the world when it comes to providing charging points to many cars.

SS: How is it unique, does it provide sort of a local market as well or some sort of a battery capacity or how do these things work?

AT: To make it simple, it is about balancing the current power capacity that is in the house. So in an apartment complex, they have not planned their electricity system for charging. So we have technology that balance the power within the building to provide available energy all the time to the cars so when the building is using a lot of energy on other things than the cars then the charging turns down, or it’s decreased, so it is about balancing all the time, the power both within the building but also within the energy system.

SS: Can you teach us a little bit about charging electric cars, is there a huge kind of surge in the required electricity or is it somehow possible to balance without these kinds of tools? What does it do to the electric grid?

AT: The grid history is a separate history, because the grids in most countries, it’s monopoly and it's publicly owned. So today, we would see more innovative attitudes from the grid owners so that they can interact with the demand side in a better way than they do today. Traditional grid companies will invest all the time in the higher capacity, but there are a lot of electric loads on the demand side that can help the grid company with providing energy without investing big amounts in the grid. So that is something we look forward to for the future. When it comes to charging, it’s not possible to use a traditional way of building a normal electricity system. You need to have a smart system to charge a lot of cars today.

SS: So basically you mentioned concepts like power balancing and bidirectional flow of energy between the car battery and the house. Does your system provide that or how does one go about implementing these things?

AT: When it comes to balancing within the house, we have software that controls the energy flow within the building today. So we can offer services to our clients and especially larger parking complexes. When it comes to bidirectional flow of physical energy, the cars are not ready for that today. So a few years ahead of time, we will probably see that a normal car will be able to also give power back to the grid so our system is ready for that but the cars aren’t ready for that today.

SS: There is also a business model challenge here for the traditional energy companies, can you explain that a little bit?

AT: Yeah, I will say that it's only opportunities for private companies and for the utility companies. But one important thing is that, with local distributed energy systems, the power is transferred from a big utility company to the buyers of energy so in a few years ahead of time, we will see that you have small local energy systems, with a generating and storage of electricity. This has been a central function previously but in the future we will see a power shift in this sector and I think that is good for society and it will also give more renewable energy to the world.

SS: You are saying that you think that there will be a revolution in the way that households are managing their future. They will produce energy. They will store energy, they will interact with neighbors and the grid in new ways. What is required in order to get there?

AT: It is a required kind of technology, that is possible to use on a small scale, so if you want to equip your house with the PBS system on the roof and have a storage with batteries, it needs to be cost effective and both the hardware but also the installation, so we need to see a new industry forming that is professional when it comes to installing this stuff and I think also the prices on local energy systems need to be competitive if you compare to buying electricity from the grid company.

SS: And you think there is a power shift here between the large traditional monopolies and into the small fragmented distributed way of production and consumption?

AT: Yes, there is in Norway, we are blessed with a simple production of renewable hydropower so Norway is maybe not the right country to discuss but definitely I will guess that we will see a power shift between the traditional grids and the energy companies. I think it is important for the grid companies to know that, if they are going to invest a lot of money, the tariffs will increase year by year and that will make the alternatives even more attractive. So PV will be more attractive; photovoltaic energy will be more attractive when the grid rates are high.

SS: You are mentioning a project by Tesla for two storage parks in Hawaii, why is it interesting?

AT: I think that project is when Tesla install a very high capacity battery park on a utility scale. Just a few years ago, that was possible to even talk about.

SS: Because the technology wasn’t ready?

AT: The technology was too expensive, so what they’ve been able to do is to replace fossil energy, fossil fuel, with photovoltaic (PV) energy so I think it's an interesting utility scale project that is maybe not very profitable today, but they’ve been able to decrease the CO2 emissions in Hawaii with this system.

SS: Basically because they’ve created a very big and a very powerful battery farm.

AT: Yeah.

SS: It's really interesting, I think, I keep hearing that there are huge breakthroughs in battery technology but I don’t know enough about the kinds of materials technology and other things that make it possible. Can you say something relatively simple about that?

AT: I’m not an expert in battery technology so the only thing I can say is that lithium ion batteries, the prices keep falling, but there is a problem with some of the materials they use, it’s limited supply and it’s a lot of research going on for new technologies but what we see now is that in many countries, electric vehicles will have the same price as a diesel or a gasoline car. So that’s just a few years ahead of us and this is based on the lithium ion battery prices that keep falling.

SS: If you were to opine on the future of transportation, how do you see it developing?

AT: First of all, I think that from the different technologies out there the electric vehicle has really made progress and I think that it has come to us and it’s going to be with us for many years ahead, so I think technology wise, electric vehicles will increase. I think that self-driving cars will be also increasing year by year but I think it’s going to be less personally driven cars in general, I think we have to reduce the number of cars on the roads . We are not able to build enough roads for the increasing population; so I don’t think we have that choice. We have to drive together more people in one car or use alternative transportation.

SS: You say you do read stuff by Tesla. They always have interesting perspectives on the future of everything really from space travel to batteries and I don’t even know what to call the boring company, but Ferroamp who are they and why do you like them?

AT: Ferroamp is a Swedish company, they have interesting technology, so what they actually do is that they build the local energy systems, they convert AC to DC electricity and vice versa in a very effective way so they can build a local energy system and use the PV energy directly into the car battery or they can provide it into the grid, so they have developed a very efficient technology that is there for the future I think but they have not been able to kind of be commercial player yet but they are really there for the future. Yeah.

SS: Do you have a quote that you would like to leave with our listeners as a parting gift?

AT: Yeah, I was just thinking about Tesla again and in the spring of 2018, a lot of people there talked about Elon Musk and Tesla smoking weed but...yeah it was on a radio show I think andI think that he’s smoking the whole car manufacturing industry while people are talking about him smoking weed so I think that’s an interesting thing from 2018.

SS: Yeah, I like the quote. If people are to remember one thing from our conversation what would you like it to be?

AT: I think that if we are going to reduce CO2 emissions in the world we need to focus on electrification of the transportation sector and also how we generate electricity because that is 50% of the emissions in the world and so if everybody can think about how they can add to this by establishing a local systems for themselves or buying an electric vehicle or whatever they can do I think that we have to focus on where we can do something.

SS: Get on the bus.

AT: Yeah

SS: Actually, I have a personal project to talk with you about after we’re done. Anders Thingbø the CEO of Zaptec, that is helping us charge our electric vehicles smarter and better. Thank you so much for coming here and inspiring us about the huge shift in energy markets .

AT: Thank you for being here.

SS: Thank you for listening

What are you doing at work?

As the CEO in a small and fast-growing tech company I remove clutter so that we can grow and I influence the direction of the company. Now, I focus on establishing our own subsidiary in Stockholm.

What are the most important concepts in energy technology?

Electric vehicles-owners demand fast, cost effective and accessible charging and energy solutions, so it’s important to be able to meet these demands. I think that power balancing and bidirectional flow of energy between the car battery and the house/grid are important concepts.

Why is it exciting?

People will have a safer access to electricity and be more conscious to energy usage in the future.

What do you think are the most interesting controversies?

The shift of power in the energy sector. The decisions in the energy sector is transferred from large utilities to local families and communities. This is a controversy for the big utilities that will lose influence on pricing and innovation.

Your own favourite projects in energy technology?

My favourite energy technology is the development of IT-systems that can automatically manage the flow of energy and do settlements between different players, on a local level. A few years into the future we will see that a household will produce and store energy, and interact with neighbours and the grid in a totally new way than we have done for the last 50 years.

Your other favourite examples of energy technology internationally and nationally?

Small PV and storage solutions that gives access to lighting and radio in underdeveloped rural areas.

What do we do particularly well in Norway of this?

Norway is blessed with clean hydropower. We do the regulation of generation so well that we can cover the domestic energy consumption every month of the year with renewable energy.

A favourite energy technology quote?

While everyone is focused on Elon smoking weed, he is quietly smoking the whole automotive industry.

Most important takeaway from our conversation?

The society will be electrified and with local energy systems we can all contribute to the green shift.

Anders Thingbø
CEO
Zaptec
CASE ID: C0242
TEMA: TRANSPORTATION AND CONSTRUCTION
DATE : 190206
DURATION : 17 min
LITERATURE:
http://www.iea.org www.iea.org
YOU WILL LØRN ABOUT:
StrømbalanseringMaktskiftet i strømsektoren Transportsektor
QUOTE
"The society will be electrified and with local energy systems we can all contribute to the green shift."
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