More and more Dutch people are choosing to drive electric which means a dependable ecosystem of charging stations is therefore indispensable. The start-up Evoltify, based in the north of the Netherlands, is developing mobile charging stations. Using an app, the customer lets the company know where the car is parked and the power is then brought to the car. “An electric car stands still 90% of the time. We can use this time very nicely to charge the car,” says co-founder of the company Riko Kruit, who answered 4 questions about how the mobile charging stations work.
The concept of the mobile charging station is new. “We are the only ones in Europe who are working with it,” says Kruit. Last month, EVoltify completed the Start-up in Residence program at the Groningen Campus. On the Campus grounds, the start-up tested the mobile charging station for the first time in actual practice. During the accelerator program, the company worked together with students from the University of Groningen and the Hanze University of Applied Sciences, who looked at the technical aspect of the charging station and the revenue model of the company.
Start-up in Residence Program
During the Start-up in Residence program, start-ups are given the opportunity to work for six months with major public organizations which include Campus Groningen and partners on an innovative solution to a social issue. The kick-off of the program took place in December, during which 9 start-ups were selected. The organizations participating are: the 4 joint northern municipalities of Leeuwarden, Groningen, Assen and Emmen, the Hanze University of Applied Sciences and Noorderpoort, Groningen Seaports, Campus Groningen and partners, and the Provinces of Friesland and Groningen.
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Mobile charging stations: why are they needed?
“If we look at how many electric cars will be on the roads in the Netherlands in five years’ time, we will never be able to install enough permanent charging stations to keep up. We would have to install 550 new charging stations every day for the next ten years. That is just not possible. I predict that mobile charging will play a very important role in the energy transition. Especially when you consider the limitations of the electricity network. We simply can’t put charging stations everywhere. And it is precisely in places where there are no charging stations that we can offer our services. In addition, with mobile charging stations, you no longer have to deal with ‘charging station hoggers’. As in, where cars are parked for longer than they actually need to charge. We easily roll our charging stations to the next car once the first one is charged.”
Mobile charging stations: why are they needed?
“The technology for the charging station is ready and we have already tested it in several places. We are now also going to run a pilot in the Efteling parking lots and at the port of Harlingen. We hope to start more projects in the north of the Netherlands over the coming years. This way we will be able to set up a completely flexible network of mobile charging stations. Is a Formula 1 race being held in Assen? Then we can take the charging stations there. We can then use the units very efficiently and flexibly.”
How far along are you with the rollout of the company??
Does your mobile solution also contribute to the transition to a sustainable future?
“Yes indeed it does. In several places in the Netherlands, we are sometimes unable to use the energy generated by solar panels on sunny days because the network capacity is limited. We can store this energy in our batteries at those times and use it to charge electric cars when the sun is not shining and the cars are stationary anyway, for example at night.”
“Let’s take the parking lot in Harlingen as an example. There, cars are parked for an average of 4 days, and with a permanent charging station that means only one charging session every 4 days. Because we are mobile, we can run several rounds on our mobile charging stations, which is not possible with a stationary charging station. This higher rotation therefore provides a faster ‘Return on Investment’. And on top of that, there is no need to invest in any permanent charging infrastructure and the green energy generated by solar panels during the day can be used at night to charge electric cars.”
What do you hope to eventually achieve with Evoltify? What is your ultimate dream?
“Our dream is to ultimately have a nationwide network, where we can offer our services everywhere. I hope that customers will then be able to say: ‘I am a member of EVoltify and never have to think about charging my car’s battery again.’ We will then have insight into their schedule and charge the car at times when it is not being used, for example, when our customer has an appointment at the office or at a customer’s location. We then promise that there is enough energy in the car for their next trip.”
Read the other articles in this series here.