Velocicharge adds fast-charging stations to its Puerto Rico network – News is My Business


The charging station at Plaza Las Américas in Hato Rey.

Electric mobility solutions provider Velocicharge has announced the completion of its largest expansion of electric vehicle charging stations in Puerto Rico, with a $1.5 million investment

The expansion, which began in October, has installed more than 16 new chargers at locations including Plaza Las Américas (San Juan), Plaza del Caribe (Ponce), Plaza Río Hondo (Bayamón), and Céntrico mall (Guayama). Those stations join existing ones in Plaza del Norte (Hatillo), Outlets 66 (Canóvanas), The Outlets at Montehiedra (San Juan), and Shops at Caguas — Catalinas Mall.

There are now 32 chargers across seven towns, enhancing the island’s charging infrastructure, company officials said.

The chargers vary from Level 2 (7.7 kilowatts, or kW) to Level 3 (DC Fast) at 50 kW and 120 kW, with the latter being the only one of its kind and among the most powerful in Puerto Rico. It can charge a vehicle from 0 to 80% in about 35 minutes. All chargers were installed by Visotek Corp., the official distributor of ABB E-mobility solutions in Puerto Rico.

“One of the key factors is the convenient location of all Velocicharge stations. They are in popular shopping centers where customers feel comfortable, safe and can complete other tasks while charging,” said Juan Alvarado, marketing director at Velocicharge.

“Studies already show us that 45% of customers have a coffee, eat or visit a store while charging,” he added.

In 2023, Velocicharge launched its own software, offering users “an even more intuitive and complete charging experience” with features such as a bilingual interface; notifications when the vehicle has completed charging; the ability to save favorite stations; checking charger availability; viewing price per kW by location; budget control; multiple charging start options (by time, by kWh or by total); automatic charging; digital discount coupons; and double encrypted authentication for data protection.

“As recently as February, we introduced the Autocharge feature, which allows customers a unique level of ease of use. Once configured, it allows the charger to automatically detect the car and start charging, without the need to interact with the application,” Alvarado explained.

“The reception has been very positive, and it’s the customers themselves who share their positive experience,” he added.

Unlike a conventional gasoline car, the charging process involves continuous communication between the car and charger, and Velocicharge’s system notifies the customer once charging is complete, allowing a 15-minute grace period to free up the space for the next user.

With more than 10,000 charging transactions and 2,600 active customers visiting stations an average of three times per month, the company emphasizes customer service to guide and protect charging areas, and customer support for understanding new technology.

“Service is key to promoting customer confidence, which is why new surveillance processes have been created with shopping mall administrations to educate, guide and protect charging areas from users who leave their car without charging. Likewise, with customer service to continue being empathetic in the process of understanding this new technology and its variables in each car model,” said Antonio Soler, operations director at Velocicharge.

Citing data from internal surveys and active customers, Velocicharge estimates there are between 6,000 and 8,000 electric vehicles in Puerto Rico. The average charging cost ranges from $19 to $23, with an average charging time of 1.5 hours at Level 2 charging stations and 30 to 45 minutes at Level 3 stations.

“About 72% of customers choose a public charging station mainly for factors such as location on their daily route and being close to their home,” Velocicharge officials stated.

Education efforts in the 2024 pipeline
For 2024, Velocicharge plans to focus on educational efforts, partnerships, new locations and software updates to promote the adoption of electric vehicles and counteract misinformation.

“There’s a lot of misinformation at all levels, from end users, general contractors, electricians, salespeople, to government levels. It’s urgent to start a multisectoral educational message to promote the adoption of these new technologies, standards and processes,” said Carlos Vizcarrondo, owner of Visotek and Velocicharge.

“With this goal in mind, we will be creating educational partnerships with leading companies and organizations in various segments to contribute and decrease resistance to change. Electrification is not only about cars but also extends to public transportation, airports, delivery services, maritime transport and more,” Vizcarrondo said.

“The two most common doubts we receive are whether all installations and chargers are the same and whether the energy from the chargers comes from burning fossil fuel. We see many charger installations without the parameters and safety standards, we have even witnessed installations with units not suitable for the climate of Puerto Rico or not complying with quality regulations such as UL,” he said.

“In several instances, the chargers are connected to renewable sources, but not in others. One point that must be clear is that there isn’t a single formula for all scenarios. Instead, there can be various solutions that help with the goal of renewable energy,” Vizcarrondo said.

“For example, several of our installations are powered by solar systems such as Céntrico in Guayama, The Outlets 66 in Canóvanas, and Plaza del Norte in Hatillo, these operate a large portion of their operations using the sun as a renewable source,” he said.

“Similarly, it cannot be lost sight of that an electric car, many of its parts can be reused, including the batteries, and that it does not generate emissions. In a traditional car, not only does it use gasoline as a nonrenewable source, but many of its parts are not reused and, in the end, it still contributes to emissions to the environment. Technologies continue to evolve and gradually solutions in favor of the environment are added to the equation,” Vizcarrondo said.

The biggest challenge
The expansion of the Velocicharge network represents a significant step toward a more sustainable future for Puerto Rico, Vizcarrondo said.

“However, there’s still a long way to go. The biggest challenge lies in the union of local companies and organizations in favor of making the electric vehicle industry viable. Education is key: from end customers to builders, developers, agencies and car dealers, everyone needs accurate information,” he said.

In Europe and the U.S. mainland, car brands have created alliances to build infrastructure and educate the public, something that has not yet been seen at the local level, said Vizcarrondo.

“Fortunately, some dealers and car companies have already joined Velocicharge, taking a crucial step. However, greater participation is needed to generate consumer confidence, reduce resistance to change, combat misinformation, and encourage the development of more local companies. Facilitating access to electric vehicle charging helps reduce the country’;s carbon footprint,” Vizcarrondo emphasized.

This story was written by our staff based on a press release.


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