What good is technology if it isn’t charged? Most of us have experienced that frustrating moment when you run out of battery and find yourself without a way to recharge. This happens not only with phones and laptops, but with all of the modern-day technologies that we are entirely dependent on — and our cars are no exception. Electric vehicles are becoming more and more technologically advanced and ever more popular among consumers. However, a big concern remains, how can we keep them charged? HEVO Power, a startup based in New York City, is working on just that.
As technology advances, so must our ability to keep it charged. HEVO provides a wireless charging network with the aim to create a global standard for electric vehicles. Wireless charging can not only make things easy and convenient, it can also help decentralize and maintain the grid. And it’s already beginning to take off, with car makers such as BMW offering wireless charging with new models and other companies, such as Plugless, offering wireless inductive charging. It’s easy to envision wirelessly charging your vehicle while stopped at a specific charging point. But what about charging your car while on the go? We talk with founder Jeremy McCool about his vision for wireless charging networks, HEVO’s production plans, and how they are ‘future-proofing’ technologies for the years to come.
Tell us a little bit about the technology you’re offering. Why are you passionate about creating a global wireless charging standard?
Our wireless charging system is the ultimate integrator of electric vehicles, autonomy, energy demand management and user experience. The rising demand for our EV wireless charging systems exist, because end users, fleets, auto OEMs and utilities understand that an electric vehicle cannot plug itself into an outlet and a demand response network cannot hope that a driver remembered to connect the charging cable to the vehicle. Our products guarantee that an electric vehicle will always be available to charge when parked at a wireless charging point and provides grid managers with the demand response connectivity required to fully integrate their renewable energy and battery storage ecosystems – especially when coupled with autonomous electric vehicle technology. In the near future, we will even be able to wirelessly charge electric vehicles on the go, which will immediately transform and optimize bus, taxi, logistic and other fleet operations. In other words, we future proof the billions in investments being made towards the development and deployment of electric vehicles, autonomy, renewables, battery storage and energy demand management technologies by ensuring their revenue potential can be fully realized.
Furthermore, anyone that owns or operates an EV knows that the current user experience is terrible due to the lack of uniform charging protocols and unified charging networks. Drivers are often required to have multiple accounts with multiple charging network providers in order to operate charging stations. Frequently, they are not provided information regarding charging station availability and are typically not afforded the ability to reserve those locations ahead of their arrival. Even more costly, most electric vehicle owners have to purchase additional charging adapters in order to ensure they are capable of charging at all available stations in their area. The current user experience is completely broken.
By global standard, we mean simplifying and unifying the charging process and user experience by offering a universal wireless charging network. We have a completely different vision for the EV charging industry than any other company in the world, because we wholeheartedly believe in the purpose of accelerating the adoption of electric vehicles as a matter of global security and protection of our natural resources. Our company is not developing technologies, we have created solutions.
How do you see this technology changing the logistics of transportation?
As companies like Tesla, BYD, and Workhorse proliferate larger electric vehicles, they are simultaneously increasing the size of battery packs and energy requirements needed to rapidly power those electric vehicles to meet the standard operational needs of logistic and transportation services. Centralized, plug-in electric vehicle charging for these kinds of operations puts an incredible amount of stress on the grid at those locations and typically requires very costly electrical upgrades to meet the energy needs of those large electric vehicles. Wireless charging provides the option to decentralize charging operations, so that fleets can power up opportunistically along their routes and at their drop-off locations instead of being reliant on a single charge point location. Soon, these electric vehicles will also be able to charge on the go with our wireless power products, which will provide the opportunity for buses, taxis and long-haul freight operations to have unlimited battery range – resulting in smaller battery packs and lowering overall electric vehicle pricing.
Can you talk a little bit about the possibilities you see for the future of HEVO? Where do you see the most need for wireless charging?
Initially, our products will be distributed primarily to fleets and high-end residential customers as a retrofit option. By 2021, our systems will be automatically included with many electric vehicles as a standard option with the charging infrastructure being installed by global EV charging companies, utilities and network providers. We are targeting for HEVO to represent 30% – 50% of the $7B wireless electric vehicle charging industry by 2025.
What has the reception been like so far?
In one word, overwhelming. Our primary obstacle is not demand. We have a scaling problem that we are working through right now with a major contract manufacturer, so we are prepared to meet the imminent growth of wireless charging starting in 2020.
Do you already have a charging network in place?
The infrastructure for the network is built, but it is being integrated with other global networks to launch in the final quarter of this year. In other words, many existing plug-in charging customers will soon be sent an app update that automatically provides them with the network connectivity to operate HEVO wireless charging stations through their existing plug-in app.
How much of what you’re doing is already production ready?
The charging infrastructure technology is currently undergoing final production preparation with our contract manufacturer. The vehicle side technology is undergoing the same process with our contract manufacturer, auto OEMs and Tier 1s. We will be launching both sides of the technology in the final quarter of 2018.
What have been the biggest obstacles to your work so far?
Managing the expectations of customers, partners, investors and employees is the biggest obstacle that any startup has to face. We are incredibly excited to be standing at the doorstep of commercialization, but understand we still have a long way to go before realizing our vision.
Where are your biggest opportunities for growth?
Over the next five years, growth is purely a process of aligning production to meet our ever-growing demand.