Electrical Charging Solutions for Electric Vehicles With Rich McNulty
Rich McNulty is the CEO of Blue Whale EV, an advisory and service organization to the EV charging community. The company supports commercial and government clients through the entire EV charging adoption journey, from education to sales, installation, and maintenance. Rich joined the electric vehicle charging industry after years of executive leadership in electrical contracting and security companies, including McLaughlin Electric, AT&T Security, Kolb Electric, and Eastern Home Solutions.
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:
Rich McNulty's transition from the electrical contracting industry to the automotive industry
The challenge of finding an EV charging station
Will there be mass adoption of EVs in America?
Rich's advice to dealerships on selling electric vehicles
How to charge an electric car effectively
Ilana Shabtay shares her experience owning an electric car
The benefits of charging vehicles with solar energy
Rich shares Blue Whale EV's goals
In this episode…
Over the last couple of years, many manufacturers have started building electric vehicles to meet increasing demand in the market. Gas companies like Shell have commenced plans to construct charging stations in various parts of the country, which will encourage more car owners to adopt electric cars.
However, to get maximum benefits from your vehicle, there are strategies you can use to save on costs, charging time, and help protect the environment. What if there’s a way to charge your EV to extend its battery life? Your EV may need less maintenance compared to gas cars, but it is critical to follow best practices when charging and engage the services of a reliable dealership to provide you with the right support.
In this episode of the InsideAuto Podcast, Ilana Shabtay is joined by Rich McNulty, the CEO of Blue Whale EV, to talk about electrical charging solutions for electric vehicles. Rich shares tips for efficiently charging electric cars, the benefits of charging with solar energy, and the future of the EV industry.
Resources Mentioned in this episode
Sponsor for this episode...
This episode is brought to you by Fullpath (formerly AutoLeadStar).
Fullpath is the automotive industry’s leading customer data and experience platform (CDXP).
Fullpath enables dealers to turn their first-party data into lifelong customers by unifying siloed data sources and leveraging that data to create exceptional, hyper-personalized customer experiences.
To learn more, visit www.fullpath.com
Welcome to InsideAuto Podcast where we feature everyone and anyone you'd want to talk to you in and out of the automotive industry.
Ilana Shabtay 0:14
Ilana Shabtay here, host of InsideAuto Podcast where we interview top dealers, GMs, marketers, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders in and out of the automotive industry. And before we introduce today's guest, this episode is sponsored by Fullpath.com. Fullpath is automotive industry's leading customer data and experience platform, CDXP. Fullpath enables dealers to turn their first-party data into lifelong customers by unifying siloed data sources and leveraging that data to create exceptional, hyper-personalized customer experiences. To learn more, visit fullpath.com. Today, we're welcoming Rich McNulty, CEO of Blue Whale EV to the podcast. Rich, how are you?
Rich McNulty 0:55
Very good morning.
Ilana Shabtay 0:57
Good morning. Thanks for joining. I'll give you a quick intro. And then we'll get into some of your your background and what you're doing for the industry which is you know, one of the best topics here on InsideAuto Podcast, we bring them all different people how they're transforming automotive, and it's always very interesting. So I'm excited to get to know you and Blue Whale EV. But Rich is here again, the CEO of Blue Whale EV, an advisory and service organization to the EV charging community. He and his company help commercial and government clients through the entire EV charging adoption journey from education to sales, installation and maintenance. Rich comes to the EV charging industry after more than 30 years in the electrical contracting industry. So really excited to hear a little bit about that change and things that you can apply from that industry to automotive. And I am a proud owner, new owner of an EV. So lots of actual questions for you. So let's chat. Talk to us a little bit about that switch from the electrical contracting industry to automotive industry and how that's been for you.
Rich McNulty 2:02
Yeah, absolutely. Um, you know, it started about seven or eight years ago for us, as electrical contractors, you know, we're servicing a lot of multifamily commercial units, government, and the auto automotive industry. And we just started getting so many calls. It was it was really amazing, year over year, how how the change was occurring, where people were moving towards eBay. So we saw it as a as a tremendous opportunity. And really, in the last two or three years, it's exploded, it's it's really about, you know, catching up and keeping up now to keep our customers satisfied.
Ilana Shabtay 2:42
And what so tell me a little bit about what Blue Whale EV but what you're actually installing how you're installing it, what are some of the challenges that you're seeing? Again, as a, as an EV? Owner, now I'm, I'm extra interested in this, because, you know, I'm always like thinking, Oh, my gosh, what if I get stuck? How am I going to actually charge my car, but it's, it's literally the same thing as gas. It's just a switch in the mindset in terms of how you actually look at like the battery go down, but I'd love to know how you're tackling that and how Goodwill's kind of like educating around that.
Rich McNulty 3:17
Yeah, it's, you know, I guess it related to the, you know, a trip on the highway on a long trip, and you're, you've kind of forgotten about your gas gauge for a while, right. And, you know, you need to locate that, that gas station, it's, it's the same thing in the EV world, right is, you know, effectively, it's, it's customers and clients need to be able to find reliable charging stations, right, we have to build more of them, we have to create more opportunity to have these installed, you know, throughout throughout the country, but definitely in and around the place where you work and you live, so you're never caught without that charge. That happens more than you can imagine.
Ilana Shabtay 3:58
Yeah. Don't say that. I'm a little apprehensive already. Um, but does dues are there? Like, do you think that they're, they are going to be as frequent and as prominent as gas stations are today? Do you think it will literally just be copy paste? Or will there be a different sort of methodology methodology?
Rich McNulty 4:19
Yeah, it's, it's really going to be a combined effort, right? So yes, I think you're going to find, you know, some sort of mirroring effect with gas stations, that you're going to have the opportunity for gas station owners to be able to also get into the EV space, met with a couple recently, you notice Shell Oil just got into the industry. So they're going to be they own their own EV company and there'll be deploying them around the country. But the difference between gas stations and the Wii is that it's also going to be at everyone's home. It's going to be places that they work. It's going to be at the at the places they go, you know to frequent first stores, there's going to be a lot more opportunity for folks to be able to get a charge than just gas stations, which is critically important to the adoption of the devices and really, you know, cutting down on, you know, the energy, you know, loss that's happening out there.
Ilana Shabtay 5:19
Yeah, I'm excited for this change. And do you have a prediction for, like, the mass adoption that you think will will happen with EVs, at least in North America? And what that might look like?
Rich McNulty 5:32
Well, they, you know, utilizing, I would say, the studies that were in in the UK, they suggest that 5% is the tipping point, once once we hit 5%, adoption in certain areas, you know, it tends to increase much more rapidly. So, you know, what we see in the US is, you know, major cities really jumping on board, there's so many more people, as people move towards Eevee, they're going to need substantially more stations. So, you know, we're anticipating somewhere between 10 and 20%, over the next two to three years is what we really see in terms of adoption in the US.
Ilana Shabtay 6:08
And then just just because most of our community are, at least the InsideAuto Podcast community is dealerships Do you have any plan or, or insight into what dealers might install? Or have to support the transition to EV?
Rich McNulty 6:26
Absolutely, we're very involved in that market, I would say it's top one and two for us currently, is auto and fleet. And the whole idea is, as the manufacturers in the auto industry, build more vehicles, every single one of the dealerships that are going to be selling EV are going to need EV chargers at their facility. Obviously, when they're servicing vehicles, they're going to need to recharge those vehicles. When customers that drive EV today want to, you know, come into the store to shop, they're going to appreciate having EV chargers there where they can get a charge while they're shopping around. It's just the way things are going to be moving forward.
Ilana Shabtay 7:07
Yeah, also to support of course, test drive and other things they would need to be able to charge those vehicles. Do you know anything about? I know, I know that we weren't really focused on the actual implementation of the EV charging stations. But do you know or have any insight into what service is going to look like on the EV side? I know, you know, what I've read at least seems like there will be less service needed, but the service will actually be more expensive. Do you have any oversight of any overlap in that area that you can share with us?
Rich McNulty 7:41
Well, just from personal experience, I would suggest and then, you know, talking with and working with the dealers, it's just I've owned an EV for a few years now had multiple vehicles, and it's just there's just so much less maintenance, right things that you need to do the oil change, anything to do with your transmission. It's just it's, it's a lot more seamless, right? I think there are going to be some, some changes in the industry as time progresses, where technology's going to improve the EV car, right? So I think that the big thing that's out there that's causing people some angst is the batteries, right? The life of the battery, you know how to recharge that battery, so it lasts longer, but you're talking seven to 10 years or longer. And if you take care of the battery, right, if you charge it properly only charged 80% is the general today. Your battery?
Ilana Shabtay 8:37
I'm sorry, is that true? I didn't know that.
Rich McNulty 8:39
Yeah, you don't want to recharge to 100%. It actually wears your battery down to continually recharge it to 100%. Don't ask me why. But to get it, you want to recharge to 80% and continually recharge as often as you can at 80%. There's actually settings in your vehicle where you can set it to charge only to 80% or 90%, or whatever it is. And when you're charging at home or if you're going to be charging at your office. And then if you're at your office, you just move your vehicle at that point and let somebody else in there until you know, we're at 50% adoption, and you've got many more charters available in a workspace.
Ilana Shabtay 9:18
Yeah. Oh, that's so interesting. I didn't know that. And then is it? Is it charge until 80%? And then let it basically go down? Or does it not matter? Like you might be at 50 but you can charge back to 80? Are there any sort of rules around that? Yeah, generally.
Rich McNulty 9:35
Yeah, generally you're going to you're going to try if you've got a charger at home, which is obviously a good idea. You're basically going to recharge when you get home for for a lot of the instances on regular unregular days, you're going to charge 80% In the evening, you're going to go run about do your day's business, you know for whatever eight or 10 or 12 hours come home and recharge to that level. And in the event you know For folks that are, you know, doing a lot of traveling during the day for their job, they're gonna they're gonna recharge more frequently at their office or on the road. Hence the need for more EV chargers.
Ilana Shabtay 10:10
Yeah. Any other tricks, by the way on charging that you could share with us?
Rich McNulty 10:16
Let me say, Yeah, I guess on the on the other side, you really don't want to risk getting too low and you're charging. You know, bad things happen when you get down into that 5% range, you know, you start sweating, and you start to panic, you're going online to find the nearest charger, which is valuable tool. Looking for that supercharger, where you can charge quickly, right? And that's a big thing is, you know, folks, everything is you know, they want it right now in today's society. And there's a huge difference between level two and level three chargers, right level twos gonna take you six, eight hours to get a charge, you really don't have that much time during your day unless you're at work. Right? Right. You need to find a supercharger something that's going to charge your car to 80% in 15 minutes, right?
Ilana Shabtay 11:05
When the battery battery life, though, a
Rich McNulty 11:08
repeated use over and over. Yes. So what they're suggesting is, you know, you use it when you need to. So we're going to charge from home, we're going to charge at our work. But when you've got to, you know, travel and charge more for your job, or if you're going on a long longer trip, and yeah, that's when you're going to use the DC three.
Ilana Shabtay 11:27
Yeah, that's actually really interesting point that you brought up, because that's going to be not only is there just a general shift in mentality that needs to be taken with the transition to evey, but there's actually this, you know, we're so used to just filling up gas, right? It takes 15 minutes, 10 minutes, a minute, whatever, but you're gonna if you want a proper charge, and you don't want to overuse this quick charge, we're not going to get things right away. And in today's society, that's like a foreign concept again, so I actually think, you know, there, there needs to be a bit more education and like switch of mindset around that to just prepare society for that. And by the way, I think it's a good thing, right. I think patience is really important. I tried to teach it to my kids. It's not successful, but I think it is. Okay, so it could be great to bring it back into our lives.
Rich McNulty 12:17
Yeah, no doubt. And it's, it's it really becomes more about planning, right? Strategic planning about how you're going to charge and you get into a rhythm I think the longer you own EV, and you get over your initial fears of the first whatever you know, prior to buying the car and then shortly after, it's all about planning and you can kind of have a stress free life. Are you enjoying your EV vehicle now I should ask you that.
Ilana Shabtay 12:44
It's like the it's the best car I've ever had. It's also just it's really nice to be able to just drive anywhere and be able to not worry about like a gas bill to be honest, gas is really expensive. I'm in here in Israel gas is extremely expensive here, probably three times the amount as in the States. It's a huge, huge, huge safe, meaning the actual EV is a little bit more expensive, but in the end, you save a lot more money. So you know, obviously environmental, etc. But it's a really I'm really enjoying it.
Rich McNulty 13:20
Fantastic. Have you started to think about solar in addition to your EV vehicle and EV charger at home?
Ilana Shabtay 13:26
Yeah, that would be I mean, that's it's pretty big here in Israel. And that would be awesome. Actually, in Israel, if you install solar in your home, you get a huge I'm sure there's something similar in the US, but you get a lot of tax breaks and other benefits. And it's and you're saving money. So it's so worth it.
Rich McNulty 13:43
Yeah, absolutely. I think that's what's going to be one of the emerging trends, right? It only makes sense that one, if you install EV or solar at your home, right, you can start to defray your energy cost. And, you know, basically take some pressure off the grid. Yeah, we talk to our commercial clients, you know, in the same regard, and if they have either the space around their facility, whatever it happens to be, or they're looking at building new, you know, new buildings, they should look to include solar. And the reason not only just to power their own whole building, which isn't realistic, right. It's it's basically take pressure off, but be used to to support the EV charging effort. Right. So it's not so much pressure on the grid and save up.
Ilana Shabtay 14:31
You Yeah, that's actually yeah, that's really nice way to just, like offset it a bit. Do you find interesting, are there correlations between EV owners and, and installing solar in home?
Rich McNulty 14:44
Yeah, absolutely. I think it's, it's tied to, you know, green mentality folks wanting to do the right thing in terms of the green initiative. But it's also, you know, it's a financial aspect, right. You're saving money. There's certainly all sorts of government No programs that that can assist really to help take the strain off off the grid. So solar is a big piece of that, but it directly ties into the future of EV. Certainly from a fleet perspective, you're gonna see a lot of larger companies moving towards some sort of solar applications support their Evie, initiative more on a one to one basis, right. So figure out what they need in terms of EV then we can design a system in terms of solar that'll support that direct Evie need.
Ilana Shabtay 15:32
Yeah, I think that's incredible. And then before we sign off here, and this has been an awesome conversation, very eye opening for me, especially. What's next? Can you share a little bit? What's next for Blue Whale EV? What you're working on just something to get us all excited about this next transition for us?
Rich McNulty 15:49
Yeah, I you know, I think one of our biggest things we're working on is bringing more electrical companies on onboard into the fold to, you know, increase the network of installers that are out there. Basically, to help install EV across the country. We also need more installers, right installers are at a premium. Traditionally, electrical or solar installers are installing this type of product. And we need to do more education, right, we need to get folks trained up and certified in this so that as it continues to expand across the country, we've got a labor force that's going to be able to respond to you know, the really crushing need that's out there for technical employees. So that's one thing. The other is we're really tackling you know, the the automotive industry needs the manufacturers, the EV manufacturers are driving this. Every EV manufacturer out there is going to have more than likely have a vehicle that that is going to be an EV related product, and they're going to need support from charter. So that's really our main focus, in addition to government applications and the general commercial entity that's out there that wants to support its employees.
Ilana Shabtay 17:01
That's cool. So you're going to be working just in automotive specifically, you'll probably work through the OEM and trickle down to the dealerships, or you'll do both direct to dealer and OEM.
Rich McNulty 17:11
We do a lot of direct to dealer is really, primarily how we're going at it. We have partners that are facilitating us meeting more dealerships. We work with Solanas, Ford, Lincoln, Mitsubishi, a number of the large guys that are out there. And we're installing them every day all throughout the throughout the East Coast.
Ilana Shabtay 17:32
That's awesome. Well, you're doing great work. Thanks for sharing it with us here on InsideAuto Podcast. Thank you so much for joining. And if you liked this episode, tune in to insideautopodcast.com. You can find us on all your favorite streaming channels, Spotify, Apple Deezer, insideautopodcast.com Thank you so much. Have a good day. You too.
Thanks for listening to the InsideAuto Podcast. Check out our other episodes with top entrepreneurs and industry leaders.