With increasing emphasis on climate change and widespread ambitious greenhouse gas emission reduction targets, startups are uniquely positioned to innovate and invade the vast white space in electric vehicle (EV) charging technology. Ranging from optimizing battery life and transforming charging capabilities, to gamified mobile apps and at-home, wireless charging, new technology is being developed to help spur widespread adoption of EVs.
Where does EV charging stand today?
There are a few key trends influencing widespread adoption of EVs, that startups are already capitalizing on:
Infrastructure Buildout vs. Sales Pace: A critical factor in widespread adoption is having available public chargers. In the U.S., EV sales have historically outpaced the implementation of much needed charging infrastructure, contributing to “range anxiety,” a sense from drivers that they would not have accessible charging.
Socioeconomic Influences: Public access to charging is not just critical along roads and highways as most EV charging is actually done at home. Residents of large multi-family complexes face more complexity as the infrastructure oftentimes does not cater to EV charging.
Fleet EV Charging Hurdles: Several factors are required to electrify fleets, including site/vehicle assessment, grid connection, installation, and variable costs associated with charging. Startups are on the move, creating charging infrastructure for transportation fleets, designing technology that integrates electric vehicles with buildings and the electricity grid, and optimizing operations for the traditional fleet shift to electric cars.
What does this mean for Cincinnati?
With consumer drivers as well as large commercial fleets to consider (such as Procter and Gamble, Kroger, and Total Quality Logistics), charging infrastructure will be critical to widespread adoption. Staying lockstep with the Biden administration’s focus on implementing the appropriate infrastructure, Cincinnati has implemented a number of initiatives to support the adoption of electric vehicles:
- The Cincinnati Green Fleet Initiative: This program aims to encourage the use of alternative fuel vehicles, including electric vehicles, by city employees.
- The Cincinnati Electric Vehicle Charging Station Program: This program provides funding for the installation of electric vehicle charging stations in the city.
- Cincinnati Electric Vehicle Charging Station Map: The city has created an online map that shows the location of electric vehicle charging stations in Cincinnati.
- Partnership with private sector: The city also has a partnership with private companies such as Duke Energy, who have been working to install charging stations across the region.
EV charging startup innovation in Cincinnati
Cincinnati will not have to look far for startups innovating in the space as there is a cluster of companies focused on EV charging and vehicle development right here in the city.
Launched in 2020, Electrada offers charging-as-a-service to fleet owners, government/public entities, residential areas and workplaces to maximize charging capabilities. The company offers strategic consultation in addition to customized infrastructure deployment for its clients, enabling users to truly transform the way that they are charging their vehicles. While they’ve partnered with local organizations such as the Cincinnati Zoo and Northern Kentucky University, Electrada has also secured key partnerships with companies on a national scale.
Most recently, Electrada partnered up with Duke Energy and Daimler Truck North America (DTNA) as a founding participant in Duke Energy’s new EV fleet electrification center. The first-of-its-kind performance center will accelerate the development, testing, and deployment of zero-emissions fleet vehicles. Electrada’s 360 Charging-as-a-Service solution will provide the program with secure and seamless EV conversion for fleets that ensures grid integrity and eliminates electric fuel price volatility.
Named a top startup to watch in 2023 by Purpose Jobs, another burgeoning startup in the EV charging space is Edge Energy. The company offers direct current (DC) fast chargers – these are critical to adoption as they can fully charge a vehicle in as little as 40 minutes, while typical chargers can take hours, or even require charging overnight. Edge Energy caters to a variety of clients, ranging from corporate fleets, retail space, and even rural customers, which is critical to combatting “range anxiety” of drivers that live in areas that may be miles away from highways and other charging networks.
Just last month, CincyInno highlighted another local EV startup, EVentures Rentals, which offers rental electric vehicles for personal and business uses, and enables drivers to determine if purchasing an EV is right for them. The company launched in Cincinnati in 2020 at the height of the pandemic in Cincinnati, expanded Dayton in 2022, and recently announced their third location in Forest Park.
So, where do we go from here?
As always, startups in Cincinnati are not just aware of the EV charging trends, but they’re at the forefront of innovating around the needs and desires of their consumers. Stay engaged as the evolution of EV charging is molded and shaped by startup innovation. As government funding continues to drive charging infrastructure throughout the U.S., Cincinnati is already gaining strong momentum needed for mass adoption through startups like Electrada, Edge Energy and EVentures Rentals.
These Cincinnati born, EV-focused startups are growing. From expanding their service footprint to partnerships with Duke Energy, these technologies are finding adoption here.