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Vehicles of The Future: Christopher Maiwald Of Lectron On The Leading Edge Technologies That Are Making Cars & Trucks Smarter, Safer, and More Sustainable

Original Post Date: Apr 29, 2022
Source: Medium
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An Interview With David Leichner

Persistence and consistency will always pay off. Don’t get discouraged if you aren’t immediately seeing the results you want. It takes time to build a strong and reputable product line. For consumers to think of your brand as an industry leader, you need to remain consistent.

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The automotive industry has been disrupted recently with new exciting technologies that have made cars and trucks much smarter, much safer, and much more sustainable and more environmentally friendly.

What other exciting disruptive technologies will we see in the next few years? How much longer will fossil fuel powered cars be produced? When will we see fully autonomous vehicles? Can we overcome the challenge of getting stuck in traffic? As cars become “moving computers”, do we have to worry about people hacking our cars? How else will our driving experience be different over the next five years? Authority Magazine started a new interview series about “Exciting Leading Edge Technologies That Are Making Cars & Trucks Smarter, Safer, and More Sustainable.” In this series we are talking to leaders of automotive companies, automotive tech companies, EV companies, and other tech leaders who can talk about the vehicles of the future. As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing John Kubota.

Christopher Maiwald is the Founder and CEO of Lectron. Lectron was founded in 2017 with the purpose of creating practical solutions for the adoption of sustainable transportation and offers a wide selection of convenient and easy-to-use EV chargers, charging stations, and adapters. Lectron is pioneering ways of eliminating range anxiety and compatibility issues for both Tesla and J1772 EV drivers by making it easier and more reliable than ever to charge EVs at home and on the road.

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Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started in the automotive industry?

Iwas born in Northeastern Germany and prior to starting the company, I was working in M&A for Lazard & Rothschild in London. In 2015, I started a consumer technology/consumer electronics business in Hong Kong and one of the product lines that emerged from this was Lectron, which came about in 2017 — when electric vehicles were much less of a big deal than they are now.

Back in 2017, we saw that the electric vehicle industry in North America was being held back by two critical problems. The first was charging complexity. Consumers brought up on the simplicity of fueling gasoline-powered cars were now being asked to adopt a new, complex system for powering EVs. With the standard for AC charging divided between Tesla and J1772, and the DC network further divided between Tesla and CCS (as well as CHAdeMO back in 2017), the industry was in need of a simplified charging solution.

The other issue we saw was a general lack of adequate charging availability. EV drivers were complaining about range anxiety, compatibility problems, and sky high prices, but these complaints were being left largely unaddressed. We decided to tackle these problems head-on and provide drivers with practical and easy-to-use charging solutions.

Can you tell our readers about the most interesting projects Lectron is working on now?

2022 is a big year for us. We are currently rolling out two products that we are extremely proud of. First, our Level 1 / Level 2 Tesla Charger will allow Tesla drivers to power their vehicle from virtually anywhere! It comes with dual Level 1 and Level 2 charging plugs, allowing them to power their EV from either a standard wall outlet with 16 amps (Level 1), or a more powerful NEMA 14–50 outlet with 32 amps (Level 2). It will be available by the end of April. This is especially needed now that Tesla has ceased to include its first party charger in its vehicles (link). We are also going to make sure to make the products available for all our customers on all retail channels. Some Tesla chargers are often out of stock on the Tesla website and we are going to make sure that our products are available to customers with one or two day shipping via all of our retail partners: Amazon, Home Depot, Walmart, Lectron website, and many more.

The second project we are excited about is the V-BOX in-home charging station. With adjustable amperage and a maximum of 48 amps, it is our most powerful charging station yet, and will allow EV drivers to charge up to 44 miles per hour! We believe that this is the sweet spot for at-home/overnight charging. The V-BOX comes in three different versions: Plug and Play, Wifi, and Bi-directional charging. Plug and Play will be available by the end of May, the latter versions will be available later this year.

Earlier this year, we also launched our 48A Tesla to J1772 Adapter, which allows non-Tesla owners to tap into the Tesla charging network.

How do you think this might change the world?

These upcoming products help further our mission to make EV charging faster and more convenient for all EV drivers. These particular products directly address critical issues, such as compatibility problems and range anxiety, and will help shape EVs into the dominant transportation of the future.

What are a few things that most excite you about the automotive industry as it is today? Why?

Now is truly a great time to be in the automotive industry.

Technologies that science fiction writers and futurists predicted thirty or forty years ago are becoming a reality: electric vehicles, talking cars/computers, and self-driving cars, for example. I’m a huge Knight Rider fan and KITT has become kind of a reality — which is extremely cool!

What are a few things that most concern you about the automotive industry as it is today? What must be done to address these challenges?

The major hurdle right now is with the current supply chain disruptions. Parts and components are taking longer to arrive, which is putting a strain on many automotive manufacturers. In the EV market in particular, lithium availability for batteries has grown increasingly difficult to source. I know this is an old chestnut that we have been hearing about for the past year or so, but it is a major impediment.

Based on your vantage point as an insider in the automotive industry, what other exciting disruptive technologies will we see in the next few years? Can you share some of the new developments that will make vehicles smarter, safer, and more sustainable?

In the future, we will likely see the lines being blurred between automotive companies and electricity utilities. Vehicles will not only be used as transportation anymore, but for powering other vehicles, devices, and homes. For example, with a bi-directional charging station, EVs can actually power other EVs, your in-home battery, or even remit electricity back to the power grid (in case of a blackout for example) — essentially turning EVs into giant portable power banks!

In your opinion, how much longer will fossil fuel powered cars be produced? When do you think EVs will be the majority of vehicles in use? Can you explain?

Industrialized nations will likely be phasing out fossil fuels quickly in the years to come and turning more towards electrification. As EV technology reaches maturity, reliance on fossil fuels will become more and more costly, impractical, and damage to the environment will grow too obvious to ignore. However, I believe that ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) vehicles will continue to play a role for decades to come. You don’t want to be stuck in the desert or near the Artic Circle with an EV.

Adoption will also vary among developed and developing nations. EVs on average cost more than their ICE counterparts and the ability to spend billions on building out new charging infrastructure is a luxury that a lot of developing nations and their consumers don’t have.

So, adoption rates will vary widely among different nations. I believe a widely-accepted forecast predicts that by 2030, all new vehicles in the US will be electric.

How else will our driving experience be different over the next five years?

There are so many great companies pushing the industry forward in new and exciting ways. We will just have to wait and find out!

What are your “5 Things You Need To Create A Highly Successful Career In The Automotive Industry?

The little bit of career advice I can give is probably applicable across industries and is not automotive specific.

You can’t be afraid to fail. Most high-growth industries are extremely competitive — almost by definition. Talented people want to work on exciting and growing things. Any success you find will come less from a Eureka! moment and more from rigorous testing and trial and error over years.

Related to that, don’t expect overnight success. We often get blinded by tales of overnight success in a particular industry, forgetting that it takes years of dedication to see meaningful success. But what the media presents as ‘overnight success’ is often actually decades in the making.

For example, Tesla was founded way back in 2003, so almost two decades passed until they changed the world. And I’m sure that many of the key executives had 10–15 years of working their butts off to become amazing at their jobs, so that they could even build Tesla in the first place!

Persistence and consistency will always pay off. Don’t get discouraged if you aren’t immediately seeing the results you want. It takes time to build a strong and reputable product line. For consumers to think of your brand as an industry leader, you need to remain consistent.

Spend more time building a network. I don’t mean go around handing out your business card to random people, but spend time learning about the value others can offer. For example, you can have the most brilliant idea in the world, but unless you have the right engineers, manufacturers, and marketing team to bring your idea to light, it will likely never get off the ground. Always find the right people.

Finally, you need to be adaptable. You can plan, prepare, and strategize (and you should), but if the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s just how important adaptability is. Something will always happen that you don’t expect, success comes in how you deal with those unexpected variables.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

The best thing we could do is to continue what we are doing at Lectron. By directly addressing key concerns like range anxiety, charging compatibility, and affordability problems, we are doing our little part to help make transportation more sustainable.

How can our readers further follow updates from Lectron online?

For the latest on Lectron products, news, and announcements, readers should visit us online at the Lectron website.

Thank you so much for the time you spent doing this interview. This was very inspirational, and we wish you continued success.

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