- Big companies EVgo, Electrify America, and others often get the spotlight in the EV-charging space.
- But plenty of other startups aim to play a role in the future of charging.
- Meet 14 entrepreneurs hoping to disrupt the world of EV charging.
The innovators behind electric-car-charging companies EVgo, ChargePoint, Electrify America, Volta, and Blink — some of the largest infrastructure and service providers in the market — claim much of the spotlight.
But more entrepreneurs and startups are popping up in the small but growing field, looking to gain traction in various parts of the charging business — an industry that could hit $207.5 billion by 2030, according to Guidehouse Insights.
From mobile charging to station repair to payments, the charging infrastructure needed to support the next wave of EVs isn’t just about juicing up. It’s everything else related to the EV owner’s experience, too. And it’s a critical time, as automakers like GM, Ford, VW, and a host of startups like Rivian and Lucid — not to mention Tesla — bet their futures on batteries.
Here are 14 power players working to lead in the future of electric-car charging.
Kameale Terry, ChargerHelp
One of the biggest challenges for EV drivers is arriving at a charging station only to find it’s not working. Non-electrical issues like vandalism, firmware needs, and busted parts can be difficult for charging-station providers to stay on top of, and it can be hard to get stations repaired if they rely on busy electricians to fix them.
Kameale Terry is CEO and cofounder of ChargerHelp, a startup developing an app to commission on-demand repair of EV charging stations. The company, based in Los Angeles, was founded in 2020.
Terry’s focus is largely on workforce development. ChargerHelp trains and helps license its workforce to be prepared for a variety of issues that a charger could have, not just electrical.
Terry was previously the director of programs at station network provider EV Connect.
Matt Teske, Chargeway
Drivers unfamiliar with the experience of plugging in often have questions about public and home EV charging, cost, ease of use, and more — and they typically steer these questions to dealerships.
Chargeway is a startup that helps dealers explain charging to customers new to EVs. CEO Matt Teske founded the company in Portland, Oregon, in 2017.
Through the Chargeway “Beacon” retail kiosk, the app, and its partnerships with dealerships and utilities, Chargeway’s software educates customers about where, what plug type, and at what power level they can find EV charging.
Hilary Taylor, SparkCharge
SparkCharge, a mobile charging startup based in Somerville, Massachusetts, is working to bring charging directly to an EV using its Roadie portable charging system. The company hopes to bolster EV adoption and accessibility by reducing “charging deserts.”
Customers can hail charging on the company’s app, Currently — not unlike calling an Uber — to be delivered to their EV via delivery technicians, regardless of the business or residential location.
The company’s currently servicing Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, and Dallas.
As director of engineering, Taylor leads a team of engineers in the development of portable charging solutions. Her entire career has been spent in the EV-charging space.
Will McCoy, Vehya
McCoy is CEO of Vehya, a platform to help businesses and residential customers select the best EV charger for their needs. Vehya, though still in its early days, will then connect the buyer with electricians to streamline the installation process.
Vehya was founded in Detroit in 2020.
McCoy is prioritizing workforce development. The company is working with school systems, adult-education programs, and pairing students with electricians to emphasize the importance of this workforce for future EV adoption. Vehya’s target is to train 100,000 new EV-charging professionals by 2030.
McCoy spent time in real estate and dealership operations before Vehya.
Q Johnson, PlugZen
PlugZen’s focus is developing, manufacturing, and distributing accessible EV-charging infrastructure. The Detroit-based, pre-revenue startup says its modular charging stations will be able to charge up to 10 vehicles, and can be upgraded to wireless once that technology is more ready. The solution can be cheaper than those of most competitors, given that the initial cost of installation drops with each additional charger added to a PlugZen station.
Before Q Johnson founded PlugZen in 2020, he spent several years at Ford and working in the EV space.
With PlugZen, he is planning on targeting Detroit first, and then expanding to New York and Los Angeles this year.
Aaron Fisher, EVPassport
Fisher founded EVPassport in 2020 after experiencing firsthand the challenges of charging an EV on a road trip.
As it stands, a different app is needed to operate many of the different charging providers, which can be confusing and time-consuming for new EV owners. And that’s if the infrastructure is functioning and accessible to begin with.
EVPassport is a charging network that doesn’t require an app or an account and allows drivers to scan a QR code, pay using their preferred method, and start charging. Based in Venice, California, EVPassport provides brandable hardware and software that enables organizations to integrate the EV charging experience directly into their existing consumer-facing applications and services.
Fisher is a former management consultant.
Mark LaNeve, Charge Enterprises
Charge Enterprises is a portfolio of businesses looking to fill a niche different from competitors in the charging space.
Businesses and entities looking to install charging stations need engineering, design, installation, and maintenance. Charge wants to handle all of that, from electrical work to sourcing and long-term repair needs, by acquiring key players in the space that can provide these services.
LaNeve is president of the three-year-old startup, which is based in New York. He is a veteran of the auto industry, having served in marketing executive roles for Ford, GM, and Volvo.
Amy Barzdukas, WiTricity
WiTricity was founded in Watertown, Massachusetts, in 2007, with the vision of allowing vehicles to autonomously navigate to a parking spot, wirelessly charge, and be ready to go when needed.
The company licenses its magnetic-resonance wireless-charging tech to auto-industry suppliers that build the component needed for vehicles to pick up the charge. It debuted on the Hyundai Genesis GV60 in South Korea last year.
Barzdukas leads global marketing as the company’s technology becomes commercially available. She has more than 25 years of B2B and marketing experience, and spent time at companies like Omnitracs, Hewlett Packard, and Microsoft before joining WiTricity.
David Slutzky, Fermata Energy
Fermata Energy is a bidirectional-charging startup headquartered in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Also known as vehicle-to-grid technology, bidirectional charging allows drivers, businesses, and entities to return energy stored in electric-car batteries to the grid. This can be helpful in times of peak energy demand or in emergencies and power outages. EVs can give back power as a way to stabilize the grid.
Slutzsky, the president and CEO, founded the company in 2010. He has also worked as a senior policy advisor at the White House and Environmental Protection Agency.
Aaron Gillmore, Wave
Wave is a wireless-charging company targeting commercial EV applications.
Headquartered and founded in Salt Lake City in 2011, Wave’s inductive charging technology uses a power supply to push energy from a charging pad through the air to a vehicle. This could be especially useful for fleet operators of trucks, transit buses, and large utility vehicles.
The company was acquired by Ideanomics for $50 million in 2021.
Prior to Wave, Gillmore spent time at truck manufacturer BYD Motors and Tesla.
Jordan Ramer, EV Connect
EV Connect was founded by Ramer in 2010 and is based in El Segundo, California. Some of the startup’s biggest customers include GM, Verizon, Marriott, and Hilton.
The company helps site owners, fleet operators, and companies with the setup, management, and optimization of charging stations. EV Connect’s open dashboard means commercial, education, government, and hospitality facilities can monitor and manage their charging stations using a variety of hardware companies. Many other platforms lock customers into using company-specific infrastructure.
Ramer previously spent time at NanoH2O and AeroVironment.
Vic Shao, AMPLY Power
Shao cofounded AMPLY Power in 2018 and serves as CEO. The company provides charging management software, start-to-finish charging-as-a-service operations, and maintenance services.
Its customers include transit agencies such as the Anaheim Transportation Network, Solano County Transit, and Tri Delta Transit, and the utility Hawaiian Electric.
The startup, based in Mountain View, California, was acquired by gas giant BP in December.
Shao was previously founder and CEO of energy storage company Green Charge Networks.
Lynn Ames, Nuvve
Nuvve, a San Diego-based startup founded in 2010, is another developer of vehicle-to-grid technology. Its goal is to transform EVs into mobile energy-storage assets and network battery capacity to support evolving energy needs across the globe. The company says it has already deployed bidirectional charging projects on five continents.
Nuvve went public via a
merger with Newborn Acquisition Corp. last year.
As vice president of partnerships, Ames manages the startup’s portfolio of partners across the globe, including working with automakers and infrastructure manufacturers, utilities, developers, and more. Ames also leads human resources, investment, and contracts at Nuvve.
Before joining Nuvve, Ames spent time at several other tech startups in California.
Thomas Speidel, ADS-TEC Energy
Speidel, the CEO, founded the company in 2017. Its parent company, ADS-TEC Group (Speidel’s family business), has long been focused on battery-storage systems for commercial and industrial uses. The Energy business now develops ultrafast EV charging, battery storage, and battery management systems and uses “battery-buffered” technology — which can reduce the impact of charging on power demand.
Based in Germany, ADS-TEC Energy is expanding into the US, and recently signed a deal to deploy more than 200 charging stations in Florida with investor Smart City Capital. The company is also planning to build its first North American plant for production and distribution.
It went public via a SPAC merger with European Sustainable Growth Acquisition Corp. in December 2021.
Speidel has led ADS-TEC Group since 1998.