#88: EVgo: Lead Data Scientist, Austin Zaccor, on What the VW Dieselgate Scandal & EVgo Share in Common (Part 1)

Ready for part 2? Click here!


Austin Zaccor was formerly the lead Data Scientist at EVgo, one of the US’s largest public fast charging networks, with 850 charging locations and growing quickly! They’re on a mission to speed up mass adoption of electric vehicles by cranking up the convenience factor. More than 140M people in the U.S. live within a 10 mile drive of an EVgo fast charger, but at the moment, only 2-4% of the 250M cars in the US are EVs. Why is that? How long will it take to get to a critical mass? Find out in today’s episode. 

Back to Austin: an MIT Masters graduate in Business Analytics, Austin is a data wiz with an incredibly powerful left brain coupled with a sharp wit. After building data models and whipping up simulations with python at Assurance IQ (actually where Ty & I met Austin), he wanted to bring his data crunching superpowers to somewhere striving to do good by the Earth. Of recent, he uses data to predict the BEST locations for each future EV station (kind of badass, right)?

We dive deep into…Why should everyone learn SQL? What do the EV industry and the 2012 VW lawsuit have in common? How many EV chargers are needed in US, for full convenience (i.e. equivalent to a gas station)? How is Tesla a “loss leader”, in the charging industry? And much much more.

This episode is particularly valuable for…EV skeptics who believe they’ll never be in every home, strategic thinkers who like imagining how “the checkers game of EV locations” will define the future of transportation, or anyone who geeks out on the technical aspects of EV chargers! 

Bottoms up! Please don’t forget to subscribe on Spotify or your favorite podcast app. It keeps us producing new episodes for you 🙏🏼


Listen to the episode on Spotify, Apple PodcastsStitcher, TuneIn, or on your favorite podcast platform. 

Show Notes

  • [3:38] Why should everyone learn Structured Query Language (SQL)?
  • [5:41] What is a query?
  • [7:31] How is SQL different than Python?
  • [8:28] What got you interested in the climate sustainability space?
  • [9:48] You grew up in Berkeley or San Francisco, California?
  • [10:12] Were your parents nature lovers, too?
  • [13:14] When did you start thinking about climate, from a data perspective?
  • [15:13] Bayer-Monsanto is the creator of Roundup?
  • [16:05] What’s the difference between ‘drop smart’ vs. ‘bucket smart’?
  • [18:07] How batteries are not software products but chemical devices
  • [18:43] What’s the abbreviated story of how EVgo was started? Austin’s
  • [18:59] Austin’s EVgo disclaimer
  • [20:21] EVgo’s beginning in NRG
  • [22:17] The Volkswagen Dieselgate Scandal
  • [23:53] How NRG sold EVgo to Vision Ridge Partners
  • [25:03] Where is EV charging now?
  • [26:33] The difference between kWs and kW hours?
  • [26:55] How home charging is the cheapest option
  • [28:00] How other players are tryinig to create more EV access to consumers
  • [29:20] Story of local startup guy who did a roadtrip to California in an EV
  • [30:52] How do you think about EV infrastructure (quality control, support, service)?
  • [32:23] Why Austin does not own an EV
  • [33:41] Would you ever imagine ‘service’ to be part of charging stations?
  • [34:45] Where are we at infrastructure-wise? How many EV chargers do we need?
  • [35:51] How 50 kW per hour is just not fast enough of an EV charger

Links from Episode

Do you want to get an EV? Would you have a home charger or use public charging stations more? We’d love to hear what you think below 😇

2 responses to “#88: EVgo: Lead Data Scientist, Austin Zaccor, on What the VW Dieselgate Scandal & EVgo Share in Common (Part 1)”

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