Munich-based HeyCharge has raised $4.7 million in a seed funding round. The startup provides apartment buildings, offices, hotels, and “further infrastructure” with a hassle-free solution to add EV charging to existing parking structures. The seed funding will be used to help the fledgling with the development and production of hardware to be rolled out on a global scale. Since September 2020, the startup has raised a total of just over $5 million.
In contrast to the number of EV charging networks we’ve seen spring up as of late, crosstown Bavarian company IONITY and their casually announced €700 million funding round come to mind, HeyCharge is, literally, taking it off the streets, and bringing it to the garage. Points if the Doobie Brothers song is now streaming through your head.
The company has surveyed the tarmac and predicts that 80% of all EV charging activity will happen in semi-private environments, i.e in the parking structures of the aforementioned apartment buildings, offices, hotels, etc.. With this in mind, one major stumbling block to the mass adoption of private charging points has been the need for an internet connection, not to mention the expensive, and often laborious setup process.
So when a wide-open pipeline to the interwebs isn’t a viable option, what’s next? Well, just as King Harald Bluetooth united Denmark and Norway, so it is that the Bluetooth technology we rely on for so many of our daily conveniences has been tapped by HeyCharge to unite the telecommunications and computing sectors.
Offering operators a plug-and-play hardware package, the company states that they can, “reduce total lifetime costs by up to 80% in buildings, with the benefits then passed on to the drivers themselves.”
“With 40% of Europeans and 37% of US renters living in apartment buildings, there is a large section of the population for whom going electric is too difficult because they can’t charge at home,” says CEO Chris Cardé. “Availability and access to charging stations, reliable WiFi connections and cost pose real barriers to installation in these buildings. HeyCharge’s solution makes EV charging not just scalable but also more cost-effective and accessible so that you can EV charge wherever you live or work.”
No indication of what type of charging is available via HeyCharge (Type 1, 2, or 3), but given the plug and play description, lack of any complex installation, and intended long(er) term parking usage, it’s fair to say that a Type 3 or CCS charger is off the menu.
HeyCharge’s $4.7 million seed round was led by IONITY and Chargepoint investor BMW i Ventures with additional investors including Statkraft Ventures, the venture capital arm of European renewable energy generator Statkraft.
“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," commented BMW iVentures’ Kasper Sage.