BMW i Ventures, the BMW Group’s venture capital firm, has invested in German startup HeyCharge, which is on a mission to install EV charging stations in locations such as apartment complexes and office buildings.
“HeyCharge enables EV charging without an internet connection, which is a key enabler to cover untapped white spots,” said Kasper Sage, Managing Partner, BMW i Ventures. “With HeyCharge’s technology, it becomes attractive to install chargers in locations that before would have not been commercially viable.”
Operators of chargers at workplaces or apartment complexes may wish to require activation with an app or RFID card and an internet connection in order to prevent unauthorized use, but many underground garages lack internet access points. HeyCharge founder and CEO Chris Cardé recognized the problem after bringing his first EV home to a Munich apartment building, and set out to solve it.
Providing charging to apartment-dwellers is emerging as a major hurdle for EV adoption. According to HeyCharge, 56% of the population in Germany, and 46% in Europe as a whole, live in apartment buildings, and the current reliance on internet connectivity is holding back the buildout of charging stations. HeyCharge aims to help bring a cheap, commercial, scalable solution to this section of the population.
HeyCharge’s patent-pending technology, SecureCharge, eliminates the need for an on-site internet connection—a smartphone app can communicate directly with charging hardware over Bluetooth, using the HeyCharge App or SDK along with Access Point, HeyCharge’s hardware component.
“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,” said Cardé.