In 2016, Mark Hulsbergen, Gideon van Dijk, Andreas Sansano and Pieter Waller founded Chargetrip. Pieter: “Our intuitive navigation tool simplifies long-distance electric driving and makes it more enjoyable for consumers. For companies, Chargetrip offers interesting opportunities to move into a more electric-focused and cost-efficient work environment.”
Long-distance travelling demands mandatory circuitous journeys for owners of an electric vehicle (EV). “It impedes the large-scale adoption of electric driving and the sustainable energy transition which we ardently subscribe to,” says Pieter.
What is Chargetrip?
“It’s an intelligent navigation platform, specifically intended for electric mobility. Pumping gas is always easy, yet the charging ecosystem for the new way of driving is flawed. Apps that run on the Chargetrip platform ease the way for consumers and companies to switch to electric driving. The fear of ending up with an empty battery and the necessity of having to plan ahead are the main obstacles to adopting electric driving that we take away.”
Why and how did you start this company?
“Mark was driving his diesel car from his home in Oslo to Sweden and wondered halfway why he wasn’t using his electric car for this trip. He realized that travelling long-distance with an electric car is a hassle that requires around six different apps. Even in Norway, the most matured electric car market in the worldwhere 23 percent of cars are electric.”
When did you know Chargetrip was viable?
“In June 2017, we launched our navigation tool in collaboration with our launching partner Norsk Elbilforening, the Norwegian organization for people with an electric car. In less than two months, we had approximately forty thousand EV drivers actively using our application, which equals 2,5 percent of all EVs globally.”
How does that work in practice?
“Chargetrip shows you the best places on the road to charge your car, based on your car’s characteristics, your personal preferences, and external factors such as weather, temperature and topography. Think of a charging point at a park or playground if you have young children in your car, or at a supermarket when you still need to get groceries. For now, the app is only available in Norway; we are looking for launching partners across Europe.”
And for companies?
“For fleet managers with, for instance, five hundred trucks or a thousand buses, charging is often disastrous for a good operating business. Those companies benefit from knowing that we can optimize routes based on electricity prices. The Chargetrip-API integrates all our data, algorithms, and models with logistical systems. This lets the manager decide when and where each part of the fleet needs to charge, while also keeping in mind the cargo, destination, availability on the charging network, and the spot price of electricity.”
What do you expect from your participation in the AIA18? What prompted you to register?
“Accenture is a company with an enormous network. We hope our participation in the AIA will help us meet potential new partners, clients, investors, and other start-ups. And of course, we want the eternal glory that comes with winning the AIA. At the start of the year, we won Essent’s innogy Mobility & Energy Track, and we presented Chargetrip on SXSW.”
What challenges do you face?
“The consumer market is very young and people bide their time. In the B2B market, it takes time and patience to help big corporates take part in the energy transition and convince them of the added value of Chargetrip. The lines between different responsibilities are often unclear. Sales cycles are five to seven years in the automotive- and energy sector, which is extraordinarily elongated. Of course, there are exceptions where things go faster. For Porsche, we are momentarily working on two routing pilots for their first electrical car: the Mission-E.”
What trends do you expect to see in the market for Chargetrip in the years to come?
“Bloomberg calculated in their Electric Vehicle Outlook 2018 that there are 2.5 million EVs around the world, and they project to see this number rise to 560 million by 2040. In that same year, 55 percent of all sold cars and 33 percent of the total car supply will be electric. We are at the dawn of the maturing of electric driving, and the challenge is to accelerate this process.”
How exactly does Chargetrip do that?
“We have noticed charging stations can become crowded during rush hour in the late afternoon. People then sometimes need to wait up to two hours. Chargetrip’s data on charging and queues are used to make intelligent, predictive models, allowing us to accommodate rush hour traffic by promptly indicating alternative, more efficient routes.”
What is your golden advice to entrepreneurs?
“Do something you find intrinsically enjoyable!”