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November 3, 2022

The story behind HeyCharge: Moving from one garage to another

It all started in 2017 when one of our founders, Chris Cardé, brought his first electric car to a city-center residential parking garage in Munich. He realized how difficult it was to install charging and that he wasn’t alone and would be amongst one of the largest EV drivers segments as the technology became mainstream. 

The first ideas for challenging status quo in EV charging were wired and hacked together with different tools and technologies during the COVID-19 pandemic in the garage of Chris’ friend.

In trying to address apartment buildings, we recognized a problem which is typically, but not unique in apartment buildings: costs and availability of network coverage in underground garages. 

We recognized our opportunity, because the existing technology is expensive and does not work well underground. 

The HeyCharge team came together to identify a huge problem with the status quo in electric vehicle charging infrastructure. It came up with a solution so impactful that not only could we patent it, but we are finding demand in all sectors of the electric vehicle industry. This is a huge validation of the creativity and resourcefulness of our team.

We started with building the easiest-to-use management platform for house owners that does exactly what they need to manage tenants in a building. A bundle with our driver app, off-the-shelf-wallboxes, and vertically integrated with energy and installation. 

Sometimes, your light bulb idea gets substantial problems you didn’t see coming. For us, those problems were reliability, complexity and cost. Partially because of OCPP support, with all the radios and compute power entailed, the wallboxes were expensive. We also had to visit each site, plan out the communications infrastructure, and order services from the telcos. After that, we could wire the wallbox, but most electricians we worked with weren’t also capable of network configuration, provisioning certificates, and working with OCPP backends, so we had to add another technician to provision and configure wallboxes. 

Then it was ready to use. Time to celebrate? No, because our customers at underground sites almost never had sufficient mobile network coverage. Of course, you can use RFID cards, but we don’t think that anyone is excited about another card filling up their wallet. And finally, you’re paying the telco and backend service fees. These may be reasonable for public charging points with substantially more users, but the commercial constraints are substantially different for private and semi-private usage, such as at apartments. 

The result of our effort is SecureCharge. The technology for charging the future. Learn more about it here (link to technology page). 

With growth comes change. And now, here we are in 2022. In a much nicer garage than before, but it is still a garage (our office was a car repair shop in its early days). A place where we solve EV charging for people like you and me. People who live in apartment buildings. We make charging indoors in underground garages possible. 

Be part of it when we write EV charging history together.

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