BMW i Ventures, a Silicon Valley based hybrid venture capital firm, has announced a lead investment in HeyCharge, the German start-up democratising access to electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in apartment complexes, office buildings and other infrastructure locations. HeyCharge was in Y Combinator’s Summer 2021 batch of start-ups.
Kasper Sage, BMW i Ventures managing partner, said: “The rapid growth of the electric vehicle market in coming years will necessitate greater infrastructure build-out of charging solutions around the globe.
“HeyCharge is the first company to enable EV charging without internet connection, which is a key enabler to cover untapped white-spots. With HeyCharge’s technology, it becomes attractive to install chargers in locations that before would have not been commercially viable.”
Traditionally, electric vehicle chargers require an app or RFID card and a proper internet connection to begin activation. Yet most underground garages currently do not have an internet access point or the ability to install such boxes.
Chris Cardé, founder and CEO, HeyCharge, recognised the problem with this traditional system and the opportunity to solve it after taking his first electric car home to a Munich apartment building.
As the number of electric cars on the road increases, by 2040, virtually every new car sold globally will be electric, there will be a large need for a scalable charging option that fits into consumers’ everyday lives.
With 56 percent of Germany and 46 percent of Europe living in apartment buildings, and 37 percent of renters in the USA, this is an obvious next step for the expansion of electric vehicle charging stations but the current reliance on internet connectivity is holding scalability back.
HeyCharge’s patent-pending technology, SecureCharge, eliminates the need for an on-site internet connection, allowing the app and chargers to communicate directly over Bluetooth with the HeyCharge App or SDK.
This maximises availability of the system while minimising latency between the phone and the charger. When combined with Access Point, HeyCharge’s simple and effective hardware component, total costs can be reduced up to 80 percent in buildings.
Chris Cardé, HeyCharge founder and CEO, said: “In addition to our full wallbox, the HeyCharge Access Point is a bring your own wallbox device that places the bare minimum for access control and consumption invoicing on the building side, allowing for a fast and easy installation that can be made by any electrician in minutes.
“We are excited to use this investment to scale our product globally and bring low-cost charging options to consumers”
HeyCharge’s solution makes electric vehicle charging not just scalable but also more cost-effective and accessible so that easy charging is made possible wherever you live or work.
Cardé added: “We are thrilled to be working with BMW i Ventures in this round and look forward to using this investment to scale our product globally and bring low-cost charging options to consumers.”