Driving electric vehicle adoption

EV Power Pods, a Unique Solution for Mobile EV Charging

Barry Rowton, Principal Engineer for EV Power Pods, was interviewed by Bill Pierce, Publisher, EVinfo.net. In this interview, Rowton shares information about EV Power Pods, as well as his own personal EV adoption story.

BP: Barry, please tell us a little about yourself.

BR: I am the principal engineer for EV Power Pods where we design and manufacture green, mobile, grid independent, completely self-contained DC Fast chargers for all EVs.  I am a 19-year veteran of the alternative fuels industry having served in engineering, IT and strategic planning roles at the director and VP level.  I started, ran, and sold a CNG (compressed Natural Gas) vehicle conversion business converting transit buses and work vehicles to natural gas.  I have also engineered and supervised the construction of CNG stations along the way.

BP: Who founded your company? When did that happen?

BR:  EV Power Pods was founded by myself and my business partner Dwain Beydler in the spring of 2020. 

BP: Please list the current leadership and describe their roles.

BR:  Dwain Beydler has 15+ years in the alternative fuels business, general contracting and CNG stations and equipment.  Dwain manages the marketing and business development.

We have engineers, vendors and manufacturing services contracted for extended terms as well as a network of resellers who represent our products to potential clients.

EV Power Pod’s eco-friendly mission

BP: What is your company’s mission?

BR:  To provide grid independent, mobile, DC fast charging solutions for all EVs, not just passenger cars.

We provide the solution for a very serious problem facing the electrification of fleets: access to reliable and cost-effective grid power at the fleet location.  As many of us thought early on we can just connect EV chargers to the grid, and we are in business. We, as many others have, found out that getting the adequate grid power to the fleet or charger location can be very expensive, in some cases the cost of just getting grid power to the site was over $200,000 and often was over $100,000.

We have found out that there are many places where the grid just does not have the power available.  The wait period to upgrade the grid in some locations and install chargers is now approaching 24 months!  EV Power Pods current lead times are six months.   We can support the scheduling of receiving EV fleet vehicles well before hard infrastructure can be installed.

Energy resilience is a significant concern for many fleet owners and operators.  Since EV Power Pods are 100% disconnected from the grid they provide a high level of resilience for all fleets, especially for emergency and medical service providers during natural disasters.  Plus if you need to move a commercial EV fleet out of harm’s way then the fleet can take their Power Pod with them as they move the fleet to safety.

EV Power Pods solves the problem of demand charges, a significant deterrent to EV fleet adoption

Being disconnected from the power grid EV Power Pods does not experience demand charges which can be, at times, higher than the cost of the electricity.  Demand charges are a significant deterrent to EV fleet adoption. 

EV Power Pods are a very cost-effective option to grid power infrastructure both in capital expenditures and operational expenditures.  And if a company needs to relocate their fleet to a new facility, then their EV Power Pods can simply relocate with them. Normally hard mounted infrastructure stays with the property once it is installed causing a significant financial and operational loss if the fleet moves location.

EV Power Pods places zero load on the electrical power grid.

BP: What services/products do you provide?

BR:  Completely mobile, 100% independent from the electric grid, self-contained and very clean operating DC fast charging systems up to 360 kW with up to 950 VDC output.  Our units have remote access, ComData onboard secured fleet payment processing options, as well as mobile and skid applications.  All our products are dual fuel and can run on both renewable natural gas and renewable propane as well as their conventional counterparts. 

Carbon intensity reduced by EV Power Pod’s use of alternative fuels

Carbon intensity (CI) is a measure of the CO2 emission of fuels used to create power.  The electric power grid also has a CI measured by state.  For example, my home state of AR (Arkansas) has a power grid CI of 164.9.  CA has a CI of 72.8.

It is worth noting that the power gird CI per state is based on power produced within the state and does not account for power produced in and bought from a neighboring state.

Renewable propane has a very low average CI of 32, it varies based on the feed stock from which it is derived.  Renewable natural gas made from cattle waste has an incredible CI of -256!  Yes, that is a negative 256.  Running on renewable propane or renewable natural gas the EV Power Pods have a lower CI than any state electric power grid.

Remote work, good for employers, employees and the environment

BP: I strongly believe that if an employee is treated well, the company benefits from having a greater retention rate. Does your company offer policies such as remote work?

BR:  We agree wholeheartedly and are a 100% remote work company.  We have embraced a unique business approach in the mid and post Covid era: we leverage software as a service, programming as a service, engineering as a service, etc.  It allows such flexibility, access to experts and low overhead while allowing us to provide wonderful and functional products.

How EV Power Pods supports sustainability

BP: How has your company supported sustainability?

BR:  We have a consistent history of facilitating fleets to adopt alternative fuels.  Initially, before EVs were readily available in the market, we converted vehicles to run on alternative fuels and built alternative fuel filling stations.  I was awarded the Arkansas Blue Diamond Award by the AR State Clean Cities Coalition for my dedication and advancement of alternative fuels in the state.

I also worked in the absorbed natural gas technology sector to help develop and test emerging low pressure natural gas storage technologies.

EV Power Pods only operate on alternative fuels, which intentionally excludes diesel and gasoline.

Barry Rowton’s EV adoption journey

BP: How and when did you get into EVs? Which EVs have you owned? What have been your most favorite and least favorite features of them?

BR:  Our entry into EVs was in 2019 as we recognized the same problem that the nation suffered in 2010 – 2015 with natural gas vehicles and that is the perpetual “chicken and egg” question: do we build an expensive station and hope EVs will come, or do we tell consumers to buy EVs and then we will build a station.  There is always the hope of finding a fleet that is open to early adoption of electrification but finding one locally and the timing being cooperative is very rare. 

I have driven alternative fueled vehicles for years, always enjoyed them and the associated fuel cost savings.  There has been at least one Toyota Prius in our family for about eight years now.  We are looking forward to the day when we have an EV pickup truck to pull our Power Pods for demonstration purposes.

EV Power Pods promotes EV adoption

BP: How has your company promoted EV adoption in the past?

BR: We have participated in the following events in the past seven months:

  1. Charge Across America providing mobile charging from Brooklyn, NY to Colorado Springs, CO.
  2. The Petite le Mans 12-hour endurance race at Road Atlanta in GA.
  3. Clean Cities of VA EV driving event at Dominion Raceway.
  4. National Energy Commissioner Annual Convention in Jekyll Island, GA.
  5. Toured the unit from GA, to TN, to CA, up the west coast, back across the states to Chicago and New York, back to GA, OH, etc. 
  6. The Alpha unit has traveled about 20,000 miles and we charged hundreds of EVs along the way at no financial charge to the EV owners.

We have developed a network of resellers that actively promote Power Pods across the states.

BP: What plans does your business have for promoting EV adoption in the future?

BR:  A key focus is to enable the adoption of EVs in the rural and under-served areas of our country.  These areas specifically do not have access to sufficient grid power for EV fast charging.

We will continue to work alongside of the Clean Cities Coalitions whenever possible.  Enabling their stake holders to actively implement their EV implementation strategy.  We will continue our focused effort to reach the decision makers regarding fleet electrification.  Many major fleet owners and OEMs are excited that our products are available as they find themselves in a tough position wanting to adopt EVs but cannot get infrastructure installed for up to two years.

We are committed to the continual improvement of our product line in both features and products available.

BP: What are the biggest barriers to EV adoption in your opinion? How could these barriers be overcome?

BR: Education is the biggest hurdle by far.  There are so many voices speaking to all things EV that it can be an overwhelming task for a new-to-EV person to navigate the data.  That is why our resellers are experienced EV equipment and vehicle experts that along with EV Power Pods can navigate fleets through the process of discovery to successfully implement their electrification strategy.

BP: What do you believe government could do to promote EV adoption that they are not currently doing?

BR: Well, they are doing a lot in terms of massive financial incentives and that should be a big help. 

BP: How could middle class and lower income families be assisted in adopting EVs?

BR:  Education and access to convenient EV fast chargers.  Currently people can drive say 10-20 miles to a neighboring town if needed to buy gasoline or they can keep a gas can full at home for emergencies.  That is not the case for EV owners and that can be stressful.  Convenient and accessible EV fast charging is essential for adoption. Additionally, this will provide resilient and affordable charging, especially in areas known to have hurricanes, earthquakes, and other natural disasters as well as areas with power grid issues resulting in blackouts and brownouts.

Continuing to reduce the cost of EVs will help with middle- and lower-income family adoption.  That will be realized with a continued industry wide effort and should come with innovation and design improvements.

BP: Thank you for taking the time to speak with us. We greatly appreciate your efforts in EV adoption and your time.

BR: Thank you for the opportunity to tell our story.

For more information, visit EV Power Pods.