In 2022, EVs accounted for 13% of global auto sales, with plug-in electric vehicles making up 17% of that figure, a trend likely attributed to several factors, including a stark increase in gas prices and concerns around climate change. Consumers who want to shop their values and cut costs at the gas tank are increasingly turning to electric-powered vehicles.
Despite an obvious surge in popularity, there are still some roadblocks preventing gasoline-powered motorists from embracing electric. According to McKinsey & Company, the two major barriers to widespread EV adoption are lengthy vehicle charging times and a need for more available charging stations. Currently, the most common public charging stations are Level 2 chargers, which fully replenish a vehicle’s battery supply in four to five hours. While fast-charging solutions exist, they aren’t nearly as ubiquitous as they should be, considering the number of EVs on the road more than tripled in the last three years.
If these factors are limiting enough to dissuade would-be drivers from going electric, there’s a greater need than ever for private companies to support the existing public charging infrastructure. Companies like Numbat GmbH are hoping to minimize the gap between charging stations and electric-powered cars. This cleantech start-up is on the mission to make high-powered charging an anytime, anywhere solution by developing Germany’s densest fast-charging network in support of e-mobility. They’ve got the technology to make it happen: Numbat GmbH’s charging infrastructure is capable of charging batteries to 80% in less time than it takes to get the groceries done. It’s a solution that has the potential to change how the average consumer sees EVs.
We sat down with Numbat GmbH’s Marketing Director, Uli Benker, to chat about what makes the company unique in EV charging and digital out-of-home spaces and how Broadsign has been instrumental in helping Numbat manage a complex network of digital screens.
Technology built for a greener future
Numbat was founded by two engineers with an extensive background in battery technology development, Dr.-Ing Maximilian Wegener and Martin Schall. In German, the name is an acronym for the sustainable battery storage system technology used to power vehicles. Though the start-up is new to the EV charging space—Numbat officially launched in February 2021—they’re already making quite a splash in sustainable technology for their high-powered charging solutions.
The company officially began rolling out their high-powered charging ports in January of 2023, starting with supermarket parking lots. Already, their network is roughly 20 charging stations strong, and they expect to have roughly 600 in operation by the end of the year. They also hope to move beyond retail spaces, with planned expansion into hospitals, car dealerships, gas stations, and more.
What makes their so unique is that they combine a high-powered charging port and battery storage system in one. Numbat does not sell its proprietary hardware to others and invests in the locations where its stations are installed. This gives them an edge as it means they can mount their equipment anywhere without relying on grid issues that can arise with charging infrastructure expansion. This is because in most places, electric grids are too weak to provide the power necessary for hyper charging, which requires up to 300 kW. It’s one of the biggest challenges facing EV charging expansion, but a concern Numbat GmbH has been able to overcome through its patented technology and by relying on three revenue streams to make their business model more viable: vehicle charging, energy management applications, and digital out-of-home.
Here’s Benker on where DOOH fits into Numbat GmbH’s business model:
Numbat’s charging systems feature two 75″ LED displays integrated onto the front and back of the structure. These screens mainly publish ad content but a large portion of their screens do run regional job postings from local employers. Planning and building a business model that includes place-based advertising to drive sales and boost partnerships has proven to be a major revenue driver, as the screens are placed in high-frequency locations, like retail points-of-sale, to maximize visibility and reach. This offers brand partners and advertisers the opportunity to reach consumers when they’re in a purchasing mind frame right before setting foot in a store.
While brands looking to communicate sustainable values tend to snap up ad space, it isn’t just these purpose-led campaigns that run on Numbat GmbH’s systems: brands in food industries or the retail sector also recognize the immense value of advertising on an EV-charging network.
“We don’t exclude anyone,” says Benker “We’re attractive to all customer groups.” Already, numerous food, beverage and retail brands are buying ad space on the network. One example of a successful campaign was Numbat’s very first, a partnership they struck up with Ritter Sport, a German chocolate producer, who ran their content on charging station screens located outside or nearby retail parking lots.
Here’s Benker on that partnership, along with other types of brands the company aims to attract to their network.
For now, grocery stores serve as a sensible fit from both a charging and DOOH perspective, adds Benker. These are high-trafficked areas with little time in the store, enabling customers to plug in their cars, charge up while they run errands, then head back to a fully replenished EV.
Here’s Benker again on what sets EV charging station networks like Numbat GmbH’s apart, including creating a whole new digital out-of-home category:
Powering the future of EV charging with DOOH
Making HPC charging infrastructure available everywhere can be challenging and costly, but Numbat is taking matters into their hands to bring it to life. But such an initiative can be expensive, so they’ve devised a strategy that includes three different revenue streams to bring their charging to the masses. One portion of that includes installing charging stations equipped with digital screen technology. This signage will help support maintenance, troubleshooting and overall operation of the stations by running paid advertisements. It’s an innovative solution to a growing problem as environmental concerns drive the demand for electric cars.
With such an attractive and in-demand offering, Numbat’s expansion is underway. But with a growing network comes a need for streamlined solutions and management, especially in a rapidly growing space such as EV charging advertisements that can bring in top dollar. A partnership with industry leaders like Broadsign was a no-brainer. Broadsign’s reliable campaign management tool helps make managing an increasingly complex network more streamlined. Numbat’s various clients all have access to Broadsign, which makes access permissions, booking permissions, and share of loop permissions widely available to all. Control can handle numerous network complexities, including content partners, programmatic involvement, and more.
Broadsign and Numbat, a partnership leading the charge
As a company behind one of Europe’s fastest-growing EV charging solutions, Numbat needed the support of a digital signage solution that could help meet its growth targets.
For its reputation as a pioneer in programmatic DOOH and as a burgeoning force in the EV advertising technology space, a partnership with Broadsign is proving to be a formidable ally in Numbat’s expansion plans. Broadsign’s reliable campaign management solutions have offered a more streamlined approach to network operations.
Additionally, all of Numbat’s clients are granted access to Broadsign’s tools, thus enabling them to access booking and share of loop permissions. Though their network is not yet available programmatically, it is what the team are looking to offer in the near future.
Here, Benker shares his plans for dynamic content on the Numbat GmbH network:
While still in the early stages of this business, the Numbat team expects that DOOH will play a major role in the company’s evolution. While adopting dynamic content is on the horizon, it’s not in Numbat’s immediate plans—for now, they’re committed to learning and understanding the market.
While 2023 is expected to be a milestone year for Numbat, they hope to continue on this trajectory. By the end of 2024, Numbat hopes to reach 1,200 units, solidifying this enterprising company as a market leader in Germany and Europe. Numbat’s unique offering showcases the immense potential of combining revenue streams like digital out-of-home with EV charging.