Wattpark, the startup that dreams of being Airbnb for electric charging

Rent housing for individuals for a weekend or several weeks of vacation … We no longer need to introduce the concept of Airbnb and similar platforms, they have entered our daily lives. Many forms have also emerged for renting your car, tools and your own swimming pool…

So why isn’t there a charging station for her electric car? This is the vein that sprang from Saclas in Essonne, WattPark, directed by Bertrand LeBage. The idea first originated in the head of his father, Mark, and his partner, David Liguid, who switched to electric mobility very early on. “As of 2014, at a time when public terminals were scarce, models had only a hundred kilometers of autonomy,” Bertrand LeBage says. So it was often necessary to recharge during the day near their offices. There were several locals who agreed they would since their garage was taken, but they still had to be in their house, during the day, to open it up for them.

A station to keep for yourself or for rent

In short, impractical. Since 2017, Marc Lepage and David Leguide have been working on a charging station whose owner can keep it for his exclusive use or, conversely, make it available from abroad and rent it at the times and prices he desires, via a smartphone app. After three years of research and development and a fundraising of 1.5 million euros, announced last November, Wattepark is now ready, since the beginning of the year, to commercialize its solution.

The startup has already installed about a hundred of its stations*, with a power of 3.7 kW, allowing it to recharge 20 km per hour. So far, they are mainly located in Essonne and are displayed on the map that greets you when you open the app. Lucas Berchadsky, Wattpark Operations Manager, explains, “Just tap on the station of interest and book it, depending on which slots are available, either immediately or in the future. After that, all you have to do is get there on time, and connect your smartphone to the station Bluetooth, and choose the socket that matches your car.This is how you connect to a private charging point in a few seconds.Like the one done by Baptiste Olivon, installed on the base of his garage, at Coudray Montesso (Eason).

Recharge your energy while on the field

The computer specialist, who is also his municipality’s deputy mayor in charge of the environment, didn’t hesitate before choosing Wattpark at the same time he bought an electric car. “At Coudray, we are in the midst of thinking about how to build a network of charging points that will meet the growing demand,” he began. This will involve installing one or more ultra-fast charging stations, near the A6 that runs the length of the city, that will allow you to “get full” in a few dozen minutes.

“At the same time, it’s also helpful to have more traditional, slow-charging terminals, which allow those who don’t have one to recharge it, and others take advantage of prolonged parking to get a few percentage points off the battery,” Baptiste Olivon continues. It is up to the municipality to take care of it, but this option has its administrative burdens. So why not encourage individuals or companies to open their stations to others?”

Since this winter, Baptiste Olivon’s station has only been booked twice. “The service is only evolving and needs to reveal itself,” said the IT specialist, who remains confident. Especially as he does not intend his plane only to his neighbors. “Sometimes I do seasonal rentals through Airbnb,” he says. The possibility of recharging at home is an additional service that I can offer to my guests, even if it means charging for this energy only at its cost. Calculation made by other owners of the first Wattpark stations. “It is not only individuals, but also companies or hotels that want to monetize their peripherals and provide an ‘additional advantage’ for their employees and customers,” explains Bertrand Lepage. Il cite aussi ce Lillois , propriétaire de trois places de stationnements à proximité du stade de foot de la ville, qui en a équipé deux de bornes Wattpark, offrant ainsi la possibilité à ceux qui les réservent, notamment les soirs de match, de faire le full.

The necessity of speeding up the charging stations

Wattpark’s general manager estimates between 20 and 30 euros in monthly profits that have succeeded in making the owners of the most sought-after stations. The number should increase as the number of electric cars increases by 100%. This is no longer in doubt, even less as the European Union prepares to ban the sale of new thermal vehicles from 2035. “There are 575,000 100% electric cars currently in circulation in France, and there are ‘adding about 15,000 each month’,” says Zlatt Cecile Goubet, Director National Association for the Development of Electric Mobility (Avere) Year. Incredible progress.” Market share of plug-in and electric hybrid vehicles [sur le nombre de véhicules neufs vendus] From 3% in 2019 to 18% today, and should be around 70-90% by 2030”, continues Cécile Joby. In contrast, it is necessary to set limits. However, the pace of stabilization is lagging, in France, with regard to With sales, she regularly alerted Avere.” The situation is a little better today, France is now one of the good European students with 60,000 terminals open to the public in the territory, Cecile Joby feels. However, this number will have to double by 2025 and double again by 2030.

Wattpark is ready to step up gear

In this context, the creation of “Airbnb freight is not so much.” Cécile Goubet ranked the concept, “Wattpark is not the only one being developed”, among the good ideas. “Like everything that helps expand and improve the width of the electric charge,” she says.

Wattpark is ready anyway to get the speed moving. In a few days, the company will acquire its new plant, near Saumur, in Maine-et-Loire. “This will allow us to move to production on an industrial scale while retaining 100% French,” said Bertrand Lepage. Wattpark says it already has 1,000 pre-orders, and hopes to sell 6,000 by the end of the year.