Startup aims to make charging your EV easier than taking it

If you’re on the fence about electric vehicles, Josh Aviv wants to alleviate one of your biggest concerns: “anxiety range.”

That’s the nervous feeling electric vehicle owners or prospective buyers get when they’re worried their electric vehicle doesn’t have enough battery power to get to their destination. But what if, instead of looking for a charging station, you could call someone to meet you and charge your car wherever you are?

That is the idea behind spark chargethe Somerville, Massachusetts-based startup from Aviv that launched in 2017. The company makes portable battery-charging units that can be delivered to your doorstep, or wherever your car needs a charge.

“You can select the time, the place, choose your vehicle, the range you want and with the push of a button it’s delivered,” says Aviv, the 30-year-old co-founder and CEO of the company. CNBC Do it. “So in the same way that you would order food from Uber Eats or GrubHub, now you can bring power to your vehicle.”

There are currently more electric vehicles on the road than ever, with a record 6.6 million sold in 2021, double the previous year’s total.

But range anxiety and concerns about the availability of local charging stations remain the top two factors keeping more people from jumping on the EV bandwagon, according to a study. report may 2022 by Ernst and Young that surveyed more than 13,000 people around the world.

Aviv’s idea has generated a lot of support. SparkCharge has raised approximately $30 million from investors including Mark Cuban, Tale Venture Partners, and rapper Pusha-T. In 2020, Aviv inclined SparkCharge on ABC’s “Shark Tank,” where Cuban and Lori Greiner teamed up to pledge $1 million for a 10% equity stake in the company.

Investments currently value SparkCharge at around $110 million, Aviv says. The company has already partnered with major brands like Kia Motors, Hertz and Uber, and is on track to generate $10 million in revenue this year, Aviv adds.

How does it work

SparkCharge subscribers in 121 US cities you can schedule a charging appointment with the click of a button.

At your appointment time, a technician brings portable Roadie charging units to your car, whether you’re parked at home, your office, or just about anywhere else. Service cannot be called if your car dies on the side of a road, according to the FAQ page for the SparkCharge application.

You don’t even have to meet the technician in your car, as long as they can access the car’s charging port.

Roadie units can offer up to 100 miles of additional driving range in less than two hours, charging at a rate of about a mile per minute, Aviv says. The service can only charge your car to 80% capacity, so SparkCharge is confident the convenience pays off.

Subscription packages range from $5 to $30 per month. In the least expensive tier, you pay $0.69 per kilowatt-hour (kWh). That price drops to $0.51 per kWh with the most expensive subscription.

The average cost of 16 gallons of gasoline is currently almost $50, according to AAA. Charging a 40 kWh EV battery to 80% capacity would cost up to $22.08, at the highest rate advertised by SparkCharge.

‘We can cover the whole city with energy’

Aviv came up with the idea for mobile electric vehicle charging in 2014, when she was studying economics at Syracuse University. during a environmental economics classhis professor announced to the room, ‘If you want to solve a big problem for the world, solve the problem of infrastructure for electric vehicles,'” Aviv recalls.

The teacher invited students interested in taking on the challenge to meet up after class.

“I was the only person who showed up and met him,” says Aviv.

The idea for a portable charging system ultimately landed Aviv a spot in Syracuse’s Blackstone LaunchPad innovation program. In 2017 he received his first financial support, earning $4,500 in a college pitching contest to build prototypes of what would become the Roadie cargo units.

A year later, SparkCharge won $1 million in the annual pitch competition hosted by tech accelerator 43North.

The company spent the next few years perfecting the Roadie’s designs and began deliveries in mid-2021. This year, it says it’s on track to deliver more than 1 million miles of battery power to customers.

Aviv expects to expand to more cities, including San Diego, Phoenix and New York City, in 2023. The company’s mobility helps it establish a presence in a new city in a matter of weeks, it adds.

“We can be up and running in a city in less than 14 days,” says Aviv. “We can cover the entire city with power.”

Disclosure: CNBC owns the exclusive off-network cable rights to “Shark Tank.”

Register now: Get smarter about your money and your career with our weekly newsletter

Do not miss: How the 40-year-old founder of Liquid Death turned “the dumbest name” and a Facebook post into a $700 million worth of watermark

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *