Founded in 2020, Watt is a joint venture by The Wheelers Auto, Optimus Auto Trading, and Infinity Core. The founders are all aged 30, and are experienced in the automative, tech and finance industries.
Rayson Lee is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Watt. The self-professed car enthusiast has a decade of experience in the automobile sector, managing companies worth over US$80 million.
Ivan Quek is the co-founder and Chief Commercial Officer of the company. He also brings to the table years of experience in the automobile industry, and an intimate understanding of the needs of prospective car buyers.
Lastly, Tee Wee Keong is the co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of Watt. He is an interactive digital agency veteran, and a specialist in gamification and digital solutions. He has more than 10 years of experience in experiential marketing, digital visual, interactive content, and solutions development.
The co-founders identified a gap in the local EV market where existing EV charging providers were focused primarily on hardware and less so on providing a holistic and seamless solution for customers, and started up Watt to build help build an integrated EV charging network in Singapore.
Since its inception in October 2021, Watt has become one of 11 EV charging operator vendors in Singapore in just three months.
Singapore aims to build 60,000 EV chargers by 2030, according to the target set in the SG Green Plan. This means that the ratio of EVs to chargers will be approximately five to one, assuming one-third of cars on the roads are EVs.
One major pain point we are addressing is Singapore’s limited space constraints and high population density. … A faster rate of EV adoption will result in a greater shortage of charging points. The second pain point we have identified is the interpersonal frictions and conflicts resulting from indifferences between users sharing a common EV charging point within a property.– Ivan Quek, co-founder and Chief Commercial Officer of Watt
One major pain point we are addressing is Singapore’s limited space constraints and high population density. … A faster rate of EV adoption will result in a greater shortage of charging points.
The second pain point we have identified is the interpersonal frictions and conflicts resulting from indifferences between users sharing a common EV charging point within a property.
Some common shared charging issues include lot hogging, in which drivers leave their fully-charged vehicle in charging lots, as well as crowded parking lots.
“EVs do not share charging status among users. Without the aid of any smart technology to locate and identify available EV charging stations nearby, EV drivers have to drive point-to-point to locate an available station, provided there is enough battery for it to move,” he explained further.
The third pain point is the current battery charging technology available in Singapore. Slow charging speeds cause longer wait times, said Ivan, adding that that a typical EV charger today takes approximately six to eight hours to fully charge a vehicle.
In addition, property managers are facing issues to perform troubleshooting and software upgrades for the EV chargers.
Bridging current gaps in EV charging, Watt seeks to revolutionise the EV charging landscape by making it easy, convenient and profitable for properties to install and manage EV chargers.
Ultimately, Watt aims to provide solutions to elevate the EV charging experience. All of its solutions support every stakeholder in the EV ecosystem — property management, EV drivers, as well as EV charging service providers.
Watt’s business is supported by three verticals: WattEmpowers, Watt360, and WattCommunity.
WattEmpowers is focused on creating new revenue streams with EV charging. Under this vertical, Watt has recently introduced an EV charger subscription plan for condominiums and property owners to defray initial installation costs.
“(This) subscription plan (is for) property managers who are looking to implement EV charging in their facilities but have concerns in financial expenditure, ownership and maintenance of the charger,” said Ivan.
According to Watt, this plan will allow condominiums to earn up to S$3,500 annually for every EV charger they own.
Breaking down this figure, Ivan explains that property owners subscribe to EV chargers from S$200 a month for a duration of 36 months, while enjoying shared profits with Watt.
After 36 months, the property gains full ownership of the EV chargers. This allows condominiums to save on initial capital expense and enjoy the full profits after this duration, allowing them to reinvest in more chargers or to put back the money into their business.
He said that the figure is an estimation based on five drivers with a standard range of 55km/day (Singaporean daily average) charging for five days a week, five hours a night.
“It is a rather conservative calculation. If drivers were to charge more during the day or even on weekends, EV charging station owners would be able to generate higher profits,” he added.
In September 2020, local startup Charge+ — a subsidiary of solar energy firm Sunseap — also rolled out an EV charger subscription plan for condominiums, which was dubbed to be the “first-of-its-kind” for EV charging in Singapore.
The difference between our subscription and Charge+’s is that we are serving different stakeholders in the ecosystem. Charge+’s subscription is meant for EV drivers, while our subscription plan is meant for property managers, particularly condominiums. With our subscription plan for property managements, they do not have to fork out the hefty capital upfront and still be able to enjoy the benefits of the charger. The plan would eventually enable them to own the charger and profit from it after 36 months.– Ivan Quek, co-founder and Chief Commercial Officer of Watt
The difference between our subscription and Charge+’s is that we are serving different stakeholders in the ecosystem. Charge+’s subscription is meant for EV drivers, while our subscription plan is meant for property managers, particularly condominiums.
With our subscription plan for property managements, they do not have to fork out the hefty capital upfront and still be able to enjoy the benefits of the charger. The plan would eventually enable them to own the charger and profit from it after 36 months.
Alongside the subscription plan, Watt also provides two other ownership options for property managers — either through purchase (property manager will fully own the EV charging hardware), or partner (Watt will fully own the charging stations entirely for a term period).
Watt has also rolled out an end-to-end EV charger management solution that property managers can take up after setting up the EV charging station.
Called Watt360, it takes care of all aspects of the management of an EV charging station like customer service support, administrative matters, billing and technical matters.
With Watt360, drivers and businesses alike can avoid the complexities of EV charging and overhead costs for a risk-free experience.– Ivan Quek, co-founder and Chief Commercial Officer of Watt
With Watt360, drivers and businesses alike can avoid the complexities of EV charging and overhead costs for a risk-free experience.
For example, a key concern of facility managements is the need to retrofit chargers, as existing electrical load of properties may be insufficient to support EV chargers.
In such cases, upgrading may cost more than the charger itself. Watt avoids this issue through its dynamic load balancing system which optimises existing charging loads to safely balance and distribute power to all charging vehicles.
Properties can safely and easily increase the number of charging points in parking spaces without increasing the electrical load.
Currently, Watt is mainly focused on serving the residential segment because it wants to help resolve EV owners’ charge anxiety. So far, it has successfully installed EV chargers at over 100 commercial and residential buildings.
When there are sufficient charging facilities within residential properties, Ivan said that the mass public can look out for Watt’s EV charging stations at commercial properties such as malls and offices.
Although it’s still a young startup, Watt has already received confirmation from 10 condominiums since the launch of the Land Transport Authority (LTA)’s EV Common Charger Grant (ECCG).
“We put focus on addressing the pain point each property management is facing and present our solutions to them. This approach has been complemented with the quality of our product and services that has persuaded for their buy-ins.”
Watt is currently developing a mobile app — slated to launch in mid-April this year — so EV drivers can more conveniently tap on Watt’s services.
Some key features of the app include data verification and automation via MyInfo; dashboard with charging locations and charging information; a reservation, wait list and queue system; as well as cashback rewards (based on charger per kWh) and rewards catalogue.
Users can make credit card payment via the app, or purchase KW via the app’s e-wallet. Ivan shared that the team is also considering integrating crypto payment gateways to enable drivers to make payment with Ethereum.
“The app also aims to cultivate charging courtesy with problem-solving features and gamification for community building. This will be a key for our growth as we extend our outreach beyond property management to EV drivers,” he added.
When asked to comment on the EV landscape in Singapore, Ivan feels that it’s sorely lacking a variety of car models, though its EV infrastructure is strengthening with the help of the government.
The upside however, is that many major car manufacturers have expressed their commitment to build EVs, which means more models will flood the market in time to come. Ivan also noted that newer battery technology, such as battery swapping and wireless charging, will emerge over time.
As the EV landscape further develops, Watt is committed to meet the demands and come up with new app features to react to the new technologies.
Watt is also securing some collaborations to boost the EV ecosystem. It is currently partnering with car-sharing firm Tribecar and Roset limousine on their first DC fast charger installed at industrial parks for their fleet and for public users.
It is also in talks with several service providers to convert their current fleet of transportation vehicles to EV and support it with fast chargers installed at the respective premises.
Sharing future business plans, Ivan also said that he is looking to expand Watt’s EV charging solutions to Asian countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and Hong Kong.
“With Singapore being the case study for their major cities, they can adopt the similar model to replicate EV adoption success in their countries,” he summed up.
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Featured Image Credit: Watt
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