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January 14, 2022

BMW i Ventures invests in EV charger startup

Investment in company aiming to simplify EV charging for apartment dwellers.

By Graeme Roberts

BMW i Ventures has announced a lead investment in HeyCharge, the German startup providing access to electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in apartment complexes, office buildings and other infrastructure locations.

“The rapid growth of the electric vehicle market in coming years will necessitate greater infrastructure build-out of charging solutions around the globe,” said Kasper Sage, managing partner, BMW i Ventures.

“HeyCharge is the first company to enable EV charging without internet connection, which is a key enabler to cover untapped [areas]. It becomes attractive to install chargers in locations that before would have not been commercially viable.”

Traditionally, EV chargers require an app or RFID card and an 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 Carde, founder and CEO, HeyCharge, recognized the problem with this traditional system and the opportunity to solve it after bringing his first EV home to a Munich apartment building. As the amount of EVs on the road increases – by 2040, virtually every new car sold globally will be electric – there will be a large need for charging options.

With 56% of Germany and 46% of Europe living in apartment buildings, and 37% of renters in the US, this is an obvious next step for the expansion of EV 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 an 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 hardware component, total costs can be reduced up to 80% in buildings.

“In addition to our full wallbox, the 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,” said Carde. “We [will] use this investment to scale our product globally and bring low-cost charging options to consumers.”

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