Austin, Texas-based Dover Fueling Solutions (DFS), an operating company within the Dover Corporation, has been providing energy management packages to its global customer base of fueling retailers for more than 130 years. Most recently, the company partnered with ChargePoint to help power the next era of transportation.
We caught up with Lise-Lotte Nordholm, DFS’ vice president of dispenser engineering and new product development, based in Sweden, and Scott Negley, the company’s senior director of product management, dispensers and hardware, located in Texas, to find out what it’s been like to be part of the evolution from liquid fuels to electrons.
What role does EV charging play in your organization?
Nordholm: The expectation is for us to provide solutions to the full range of fueling. We remain committed to that innovation and the delivery of solutions for all entity types. I think EV charging is an exciting evolution to our industry and a really great opportunity for us to deliver solutions through industry-leading partnerships like the one we have with ChargePoint.
Negley: We have customers who expect us to have energy management solutions, whether they're liquid hydrocarbons or electrons or kilowatts. We have a natural place in the ecosystem in terms of our positioning and so I think it's a nice fit for us.
We wanted to make sure we were partnering with the market leader, somebody who could provide the full suite of products. — Scott Negley, senior director of product management, dispensers and hardware, Dover Fueling Solutions
How has ChargePoint impacted your business and customer base?
Negley: On one hand, you can think about it as a very disruptive time because we haven’t been in the space. However, given how we are positioned, it’s an exciting time. The potential is there, especially for those who are in those key early markets. We have a customer base asking about this and who want to be able to participate. For us, that's a very exciting opportunity to leverage and support our customers in that endeavor.
What are common challenges you see facing your industry?
Nordholm: If you look at all of the different energy types out there, I think that really challenges our customers to stay up to speed, especially when it comes to something like EV charging, which really impacts consumer behavior. One of the key things our customers are facing right now is “how do you change that behavior on-site and how do you accommodate for it?” I think that's a common challenge in the industry, but something that presents a lot of opportunities for our customers.
I think EV charging is an exciting evolution to our industry and a really great opportunity for us to deliver solutions through industry-leading partnerships like the one with ChargePoint. — Lise-Lotte Nordholm, vice president of dispenser engineering and new product development, Dover Fueling Solutions
What initially prompted you to begin selling ChargePoint® EV charging solutions? Which came first, demand for EV charging or an anticipation of demand?
Negley: I would say it's a little bit of both. We had to pay attention to the market and what is going on in the marketplace. If you understand what's happening with the automakers and their development plans, it's a natural place for us explore this and to take that next step and look for the right partner. ChargePoint was able to take us into this space in the right way — they have the experience, the understanding and the presence in the market to actually help us as we start our journey.
What were your top three to five requirements for an EV charging solution?
Negley: We wanted to make sure we were partnering with the market leader, somebody who could provide the full suite of products. Our interest is primarily fast charging, but we have customers who are interested in the full range — not only Level 2 but fleet as well. We wanted a partner who valued our channel. The majority of our business goes through our channel partners — our distributors, business partners who are extensions of our business in the various regions. They’re a key part of our outreach and offer to the marketplace. ChargePoint was a partner who valued that channel and who could take advantage of it. It was a win-win for both companies.
Nordholm: To add to that last point, we were looking for someone who was interested in the value software as a service (SaaS) has to offer from a solution standpoint, to be able to combine it with some of the products in terms of media, remote diagnostics, loyalty programs and so forth.
What were some of the pain points you were addressing?
Nordholm: I think the pain point is really about changing customer behavior. It is about understanding that this is not something you do in five minutes — it takes longer. Where do they go? What do they interact with in the meantime? What does the media do? A lot of it is educating customers and changing behavior on-site.
Negley: With our customers, there's an expectation that the technology we provide on fuel dispensers — whether it's loyalty, media or other types of payment applications — the fuel retailers offer that same type of experience. They want it to be consistent across their entire lines. When their customer comes to their site, whether they're an internal combustion engine (ICE) driver or an EV driver they have that same experience and it's consistent regardless of segment.
How has your industry evolved from where it has been to where it is today?
Nordholm: People just expect so much more. When they go onsite, they expect all of the different energy alternatives to be there, regardless of what they've chosen. They want to be catered to and that also requires them to have the systems in place to support that and really deliver that customer experience on-site.
Negley: I would also add that standardization is important — making sure that the protocols, the communication and the means for payment are consistent. I think there is an opportunity for that to evolve and become more streamlined and balanced.
Is there anything we missed?
Nordholm: An important piece for us is the opportunities that we see linked to EVs. It's so easy to see it as a threat to our industry, but that's not how we view it. There's actually a lot of added value for us to bring these chargers on-site and combine them with everything else that is out there today. There's so much growth left in the segment and it’s going to be really exciting to see it spreading across all countries and all markets as we continue to integrate it with our other products. So, exciting times for us.
Negley: I would agree. I think that captures it pretty well.