Polar CEO: Electric Car Owners Are Rich, Can Pay To Charge Page 2

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Nissan Leaf charging

Nissan Leaf charging

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Wireless Communications Needed

This week, we obtained an email from a Hotel in Farnham, Surrey, where a recently installed Polar Network/Chargemaster was not operating. 

On inquiring why the newly installed point had remained inoperative since its installation, the hotel was told that a lack of cellular coverage meant that the expensive charging station was rendered useless. 

“The need for the signal is that we can monitor and control the usage of the post,” a technician from Chargemaster-approved charge point installers SSE wrote. “My suggestion is that we remove the ‘intelligent’ terminal and replace it with a ‘dumb’ one." 

Is due diligence being undertaken as part of charging station installations? Apparently not. 

Pay As You Go “Not An Option Yet”

During our conversation with Mr. Martell, we passed on feedback from electric car owners who have clearly said they would prefer to pay for charging on an ad-hoc basis, using a credit card reader attached to the charging station. 

This would eliminate a monthly service fee, and allow those who rarely use charging stations outside of their home to use the network. 

“When cellphones first came out, you had to have a contract,” Martell answered. “You couldn’t do pay-as-you go. Our network is like early cellphones. Besides, no-one I know of offers credit-card pay-as-you go services.

When we pointed out that U.S. based ChargePoint offered such a service using contactless credit-cards and a toll-free number printed on the front of the charging station, he remained unconvinced. 

 “Who are they?” he queried. “I’ve never heard of them.” He then added “ I think you need to get your facts right.”

Not Just Charging Stations

Interestingly, Mr. Martell is also chief executive of the Electric Car Corporation, a U.K.-based firm which converts the European-specification Citroen C1 into an all-electric car - the ECC C1 Ev’ie.

Now overshadowed by production electric cars, the ECC C1 Ev’ie has attracted mixed reviews, with many test-drivers reporting limited range, poor performance and questionable handling characteristics

Polar Network Charging Stations

Polar Network Charging Stations

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Questionable Business Model?

We’re not business professionals, but our understanding of a successful business is one that can sell a product a customer needs at a price they will pay. 

For Polar, the latter seems unimportant, with Martell unfazed by suggestions that Polar is antagonizing the very people it needs in order to survive as a business. 

Polar and Chargemaster claim support from all of the major electric automakers, as well as support from he U.K. Government. Talking to industry insiders, we’re not so convinced -- although we have yet to find anyone willing to publicly go on the record to air those opinions. 

Since our telephone conversation with Mr. Martell, we have officially offered Chargemaster PLC and Polar Networks the chance to offer an official statement in response to some of our questions.  At the time of writing, we have received no such statement. 


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Comments (5)
  1. “If someone has just spent £30,000 [$47,000] on a new electric car, they can afford to join our network,” he defended, adding “we’re not a charity.”

    As half of an EV owning couple, I'd like to comment and say this is utter rubbish and extremely offensive. We are not rich, buying the Leaf was a decision taken extremely carefully and while manageable, was not without sacrifice. We did it because we believe in the car and support the technology. However, if charging companies have this attitude, I really don't see why anyone else would want to bother.

    I'm really very, very disappointed.

  2. I'm disgusted by what I've read here (and for the record, it's not just here - there are many similarly negative reports on leaftalk.co.uk and elsewhere) and unless there's a serious about-face from the company and in particular this odious-sounding individual, there's no chance I'll pay money to Polar, on principle. I hate parasites.

    ZeroCarbonWorld and Ecotricity are showing how it should be done. More power to them (pun intended).

  3. since then I posted on polars Facebook pages just letting them know my experiences and asking them to ensure staff are trained up on how to operate the posts. The post on Facebook has been deleted and I appear to be banned from posting on their page right now

  4. That's disgusting, if true. However, the article above does paint a fairly clear picture, of a company that's set up solely to squeeze money from a developing market. I guess it's naive to hope otherwise... whenever a new market sector forms (even one motivated largely by ideals, like EVs) there's always some parasite that bleeds it dry until the market matures enough to protect itself.

    If Polar is that parasite, it's very unfortunate for us EV drivers, especially as it seems to have gained some form of recognition from the authorities.

  5. I think Polar should take it and stick it where the Sun doesn't shine...Sweden would be a good place to stick it with that over priced piece of garbage they have. We can't allow these greedy sneaky 'Charge Barons' stick it to us like those greedy cell phone barons did. I hope we have wised up enough from the cell phone greed that we won't allow it happen with the EVs.

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