In my mission to switch from a gas vehicle to an electric or hybrid car, I’ve also begun researching potential charging solutions for my home. Living in a condo in downtown Toronto makes it a bit more challenging to find a cost effective and convenient way to charge at home. So I was very glad to discover that at least one company is working hard to make things easier for folks like me who want to support this new technology without breaking the bank, or losing their minds. That company is SWTCH.
Founded and based right in the heart of our fair city, SWTCH provides innovative solutions for electric vehicle (EV) charging and energy management, designed uniquely for multi-tenant settings. Their mission is to improve EV charging accessibility in urban areas with high concentrations of multi-unit housing, and ensure effective integration of EVs in our clean energy future. Their unique smart EV charging platform streamlines the charging experience for drivers while optimizing usage and revenue for building owners. Being forward thinking and tech-minded, all of the SWTCH technology is based on open communication standards to ensure scalable, future-proof solutions. SWTCH is a proud member of Open Charge Alliance (OCA), a global consortium of public and private electric vehicle infrastructure leaders.
I got the chance to chat with Laura Bryson, the COO & Co-Founder of SWTCH, about my personal charging concerns, and she was a patient and kind fount of knowledge. Laura discovered her passion for environmental sustainability at a very young age. That youthful inspiration evolved into a lifelong commitment to advancing clean technology. Prior to co-founding SWTCH, Laura spent several years with Solar Ship Inc, a company that develops solar-electric aircraft for remote area operations, serving in a broad range of capacities. She holds a Bachelor of Arts & Science degree from McGill University and a Master of Science degree from the University of Toronto. Laura grew up outside Boston, MA, and has spent the last decade in Montreal and Toronto.
Learn more about Laura and SWTCH below!
What drew you to the automotive/Electric vehicle industry in the first place?
I was drawn to the clean tech industry because of my long-held passion for the environment and sustainability. We’re at an exciting time in the EV world right now—battery prices are dropping and EVs are becoming more affordable and longer range, which means huge social, economic, and environmental benefits can be realized. I see the EV industry as an important piece of the larger sustainability puzzle, and it’s been rewarding to be part of that movement.
What inspired you to start SWTCH?
My co-founder and I were trying to solve our own problem. We wanted to own EVs but we were living in condos in downtown Toronto without access to home charging. It made us think, how are electric vehicles going to be a thing if urbanites can’t get charging where they need it most? While the early EV adopters tend to live in the suburbs with their own garages, more and more buyers of long-range EVs (think: Tesla Model 3) live in condos and apartments where it’s more difficult to install a charger. It became our mission at SWTCH to help solve the challenge of “urban electric vehicle ownership”.
What makes SWTCH different than other EV charging solutions out there?
SWTCH provides EV charging solutions for multi-tenant settings. Unlike some of the other EV charging players, SWTCH takes an open-standards approach. Think of it as like buying an unlocked cell phone; you’re free to use any service provider out there. Property managers and condo boards spend a lot of money on charger hardware, and it’s important for them to have choice of service provider. In other words, they shouldn’t have to replace their hardware if they decide to change service providers. Also, while other players are focused on building a network of public chargers, SWTCH is focused on charging solutions for urban multi-tenant settings, like condos and apartments. These settings have their unique challenges; for example, in older buildings where electrical capacity is limited, we help maximize the existing infrastructure so as many drivers as possible can put in EV chargers. In buildings that opt for shared community chargers, we help optimize their usage through reservation and enforcement so drivers can get charging when they need it.
What are the biggest challenges you’ve had to face?
Hiring and finding the right mix of talent has been surprisingly challenging. We’re fortunate to have a solid, committed group of individuals working with us at SWTCH. As we grow, it will be important to continually reassess our hiring strategies to ensure the right mix of skills and personality at each stage of the business.
How do you do manage to do it all?
I don’t always “do it all”. Some days aren’t as balanced as others. I try to be cognizant of setting aside time to recharge (pun intended!) Alone time does wonders for the soul.
Learn more about SWTCH through their website below!