Charging up America, One Small Business at a Time
Rather than set up lone charging areas along major interstates, GoE3 hopes to launch charging stations at shopping centers, restaurants, hotels and other “destination points” that travelers tend to visit anyway – a move that could benefit both drivers and small businesses, Brimacombe said.
Once a charging station is set up on its property, each partnering business will receive a percentage of each charge and reap the benefits of extra business from traveling EV drivers. They’ll also be featured on the GoE3 reality show for three minutes – airtime that would ordinarily cost business owners big bucks.
GoE3′s network of drivers and small business partners will be integrated into a Web portal and search engine, which allows business owners to connect with customers in their demographic and gives GoE3 the opportunity to provide targeted advertisements to aid drivers on their travels.
For example, if you use the GoE3 search to find vegetarian restaurants, the database will store that information. Then, the next time you charge up your EV while on the road, a video screen will display discounts for meatless eateries near you – giving direction to travelers who may be unfamiliar with their surroundings and allowing small businesses to stand out among the pack.
“It allows the small businessperson in the area to thrive, not to be looked over,” said Brimacombe, who noted that helping out small businesses is another huge benefit to the way the GoE3 system works, saying “our [business model] is about revitalizing the American small town, not just about the cars.”
This sounds great and all, but how exactly will it create American jobs? For that answer, we have to take a look at that old Economics 101 concept of supply and demand.
Ideally, with the assurance of a reliable coast-to-coast charging network, more drivers will be moved to purchase electric vehicles, Brimacombe said. As demand for EVs rises, battery prices will plummet – causing the overall price of electric vehicles to drop, the entrepreneur predicts.
“Once that’s happened, the cars will be all over the place, and we’ll be able to replace [the American fleet of combustion engine cars],” Brimacombe said. “Americans will be working full time. If they work for 50 years, they still could not replace the fleet that’s out there now.”
As you may have guessed, Brimacombe isn’t content with setting up the nation’s first coast-to-coast EV charging network. His ultimate goal is to change the way American drivers look at electric vehicles, providing a catalyst for the expansion of the market and showing fellow “car guys” (and gals) that EV driving can be fun, the entrepreneur told Earth911.
The EV Revolution
An avid traveler, Brimacombe fondly remembers taking long road trips with his family as a child. When asked about his yen for travel, the CEO typically reaches for his favorite quote from “National Lampoon’s Vacation” – saying simply, “I’m on the search for the second-largest ball of twine.”
Since converting to EVs, the CEO dreamed of bringing the all-American road trip into the 21st Century by making travel more affordable for everyone and showing EV drivers that they too can have that liberating, wind-in-your-hair feeling of hitting the road without looking back.
“People buy cars for a very large reason – it’s called freedom,” Brimacombe said.
“It’s very unnatural for us to rush across the country, not enjoy the trip, not be able to afford to stop and eat because your gas is getting so expensive and…drive all night long because the cost of hotels racks up,” he said. “That is anti-our nature. Our nature is to explore.”
By setting up charging stations at mom-and-pop destinations along major routes, traveling the country via GoE3 charging stations is actually much more akin to pulling into highway stops like Stuckey’s or Petro to fuel up and grab a bite than it is some sort of new habit for drivers to get used to, Brimacombe said.
“You’re going to have to change a little bit but more the way it used to be [when I was a kid],” he explained. “So, it will be more natural than most people are aware of.”
Unlike the stereotypical “tree-hugging Prius owner,” Brimacombe is a self-proclaimed car guy. As a young adult, he drove a 1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1 and delightedly compared engines and zero-to-60 speeds with friends.
Now a proud Tesla owner, Brimacombe still compares torque and lead-times with fellow motor enthusiasts, and – almost always – his Tesla comes out on top, the entrepreneur said with a youthful grin.
“[Transforming the mindset of drivers] is all I’m after,” the CEO said. “Once you’re in one of these cars and you ride in it, you know…They’re not just good, they’re spankin’ good!”