A ChargerHelp! technician repairs an electric vehicle charging station.
Kameale Terry got the idea for ChargerHelp! while working at a company that made software for electric vehicle (EV) charging stations. She noticed stations would show up as online and available, but customers would still file complaints about these stations not working. And while electricians hired to maintain the stations were well-versed in fixing electrical issues, they weren’t familiar with software issues. With her co-founder Evette Ellis, Kameale founded ChargerHelp! in 2020 to provide operations, maintenance and workforce development for the electric vehicle (EV) industry, with a special focus on creating quality, well-paying jobs.
A reliable charging network is critical to a seamless EV transition, yet still today, one in four EV charging stations are offline due to software and other issues that can take months to resolve. These barriers lead to frustrated EV drivers, and can deter new customers curious about EVs. ChargerHelp! believes driver experience is the single most important and common hurdle to faster, more widespread EV adoption.
When thinking about a workforce for ChargerHelp! we knew there needed to be a shift in how we sourced talent.”
— ChargerHelp! Co-Founder and CEO Kameale Terry
To remove this roadblock and ensure neighborhood EV chargers are as reliable as local gas stations, ChargerHelp! is learning from the field. To date, the team has gathered data from more than 18,000 charger repairs and assessments. With this data, ChargerHelp! can partner with software providers to fix chargers remotely. And if a technician does need to be called out, they know exactly what to do when they arrive onsite.
In addition to delivering 97% charger uptime, ChargerHelp! partners with community colleges and other local workforce organizations to provide training for repair technicians, many of whom are transitioning from industries like oil and gas or live in disadvantaged communities.
“Growing up in South Central, I noticed that the people I knew were incredibly smart, resourceful and able get things done even under stressful circumstances,” Kameale said. “However, because they experienced so many barriers to economic opportunities, they didn’t get to thrive in the way they could if they were just given the chance. When thinking about a workforce for ChargerHelp! we knew there needed to be a shift in how we sourced talent.”
As an industry leader in both EV infrastructure and workforce development, ChargerHelp!’s twofold solution is making EV charging more reliable to pave the way for mass EV adoption, while ensuring the benefits of the green economy flow to the frontline communities disproportionately affected by climate change.
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ChargerHelp! joined Elemental in 2020 as a team of two and $30,000 raised from friends and family, with a beta test in California. The company had developed a software prototype and was primarily seeking support to deploy pilots in New York and California, develop an app for technicians and raise its first major round of capital.
During its time in Elemental’s Strategy Track, ChargerHelp! scaled rapidly — doubling its customers and number of serviced EV charging stations — and closed $4.25M in funding while hiring 20 technicians across seven states. ChargerHelp!’s work with Elemental spanned fundraising, operations, brand awareness and equitable hiring processes, yielding several key outcomes:
- Fundraising: Kameale worked with Elemental to develop a fundraising strategy, data room and financial model that accurately reflected ChargerHelp!’s valuation. This empowered her to negotiate with investors and successfully close ChargerHelp!’s first round.
- Scaling Operations: Elemental helped ChargerHelp! reimagine its hardware distribution infrastructure, implementing an “Amazon locker” model, wherein regional lockers would house customer parts for easy access by local technicians.
- Market Intelligence: ChargerHelp! learned its workforce development partners at the federal, state and local levels weren’t yet prepared to meet ChargerHelp!’s hiring requirements, largely due to limited awareness of the opportunity for green jobs. In response, Evette hosted monthly calls to teach career center case workers about the growing green workforce, leading the state of Massachusetts to follow Evette’s recommendation to hire a clean technology jobs lead.
- Equitable Hiring: ChargerHelp! developed a new, transparent hiring process by reviewing job descriptions for equitable language, removing high school and college diploma requirements and developing a rubric and interview process that effectively measures teachability and communication skills. Elemental also worked with ChargerHelp! to fund and build its employee resource group process to foster more inclusion.
Above all, the co-founders see “exposure” as the highlight of their work with Elemental.
“Elemental gave us exposure to different lenses for addressing problems, different thought processes,” Evette said. “We’ve always had to think outside of the box with ChargerHelp!, but with workforce development being such a big priority for us, Elemental helped us to figure out different ways to approach the problem and didn’t shy away from the challenge.”
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The Next Level
Today, ChargerHelp! is the industry leader in the operation and maintenance of EV charging stations, having serviced more than 10,000 EV chargers in nearly 17 states. It has raised more than $21M and now works with a broad network of leading EV charging station hardware and software providers including Shell Recharge, Rivian, Tesla and Blink Charging.
ChargerHelp! created the first EV charging station technician position, which is now federally recognized by the U.S. Department of Labor. The company also is working to ensure federal and local policy include a clear 97% standard for EV charging station uptime, ensuring the road to mass EV adoption is clear.
The Biden-Harris administration highlighted ChargerHelp! for its partnership with SAE International’s Sustainable Mobility Solutions, a national workforce development program that is serving more than 3,000 people from low-income and disadvantaged communities transitioning into clean economy jobs.
With $7.5B of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law dedicated to building out a nationwide network of 500,000 EV chargers, maintenance will play a large role in ensuring they are accessible, reliable and adhere to uptime standards. An ideal partner for utilities and local governments ready to upskill their workforce, ChargerHelp! is proving it’s possible to streamline EV charger maintenance and power EV adoption while creating safe, quality jobs in frontline communities.