Charging solutions for the mobility revolution

It needs to be reliable, ubiquitous and user-friendly. However, poor charging infrastructure is currently one of the biggest obstacles preventing electromobility from breaking through to the mass market. Luckily this is about to change.

An ID. BUZZ concept car charging on an IONITY quick-charging station.

An electric car is plugged into every charging station. An hour later and they are all fully charged. And yet, the cars stay exactly where they are, taking up a charging space when they don’t need to. Pretty inefficient, right? That’s what ChargeX founders Tobias Wagner, Johannes Engeln and Michael Masnitza think, too.

Why not use one charging station to charge several cars at the same time? This idea inspired the Munich-based start-up to develop a product that could add a number of other charging points to a single main station using a plug and play solution. This allows multiple electric cars to use one charging station – without anyone having to move. And because the Gläserne Manufaktur is promoting start-ups with ground-breaking mobility concepts, the young entrepreneurs have been given the chance to develop their innovation to market-ready status at the Volkswagen Future Mobility Incubator in Dresden.

The modular multi-use socket reduces costs and installation work for every charging point. “We give underground parking lot operators, such as those who run employee parking lots, the option to expand their charging infrastructure in line with their needs and, most importantly, at an affordable price,” says Michael Masnitza, explaining ChargeX’s business model. However, the fact that multiple cars are connected to a station at the same time does not actually mean that they are charged at the same time. In the worst-case scenario, this would cause the fuses to trip, explains Wagner. “Instead, we have developed a self-teaching algorithm that can charge vehicles based on their needs and based on the user’s daily journeys.”

e-Golf: Power consumption in kWh/100 km: 12.7 (combined); CO2 emissions in g/km: 0 (combined); efficiency class: A+

 

The ChargeX founders Tobias Wagner, Johannes Engeln and Michael Masnitza (from left to right) have developed a modular multi-use socket for charging stations.

The team had the chance to improve the charge management algorithm during their time at the Incubator in the Gläserne Manufaktur in Dresden. The charging solution enables fleet parking lot operators and underground parking lots to add an extra six charging points to a standard 22 kW wallbox. Wagner explains that this is an essential development in the mission to make the vehicle sector less dependent on fossil fuels. "Electromobility will help us to reduce emissions, particularly in urban areas."

The We Charge app enables users to find stations and pay for services.

The availability of charging points also plays a key role on Volkswagen’s mobility platform, WE. Customers can use the platform’s We Charge service to locate stations and pay for services. Volkswagen is aiming to equip all of its dealerships with charging stations for public and customer use by 2020. Volkswagen employees already have access to 1,000 charging stations, a figure which is set to be increased five-fold in the next two years.

The founders of ChargeX have already received countless awards for their work. In addition to the Automotive Cluster Prize, which has a €7,500 prize fund, and the €15,000 overall prize for the IQ Mid-Germany Innovation Prize, they also received the 2018 Special Prize in the Digital Innovations Start-Up Competition. The theme of the award – which is run by the German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) – changes from year to year and has a €10,000 prize fund. The young entrepreneurs are planning to put the money to good use. “To bring our plans to life, we have to expand, so we are planning to employ more engineers and software developers,” says Wagner.

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