Electric vehicles (EVs) have become an inevitable part of our future if countries are to meet ambitious energy and pollution goals, but there is a startlingly large amount of complexity behind simply plugging in and driving off, that startup Driivz aims to solve.
Managing networks of charging stations is not a trivial task – it is key to the success or failure of EVs.
Where the chargers are positioned; how to manage hundreds of different charging hardware systems; remote maintenance, administration, billing; and interfacing with utilities for best times to charge – these are some of the complexities that Driivz offers to solve for its top-tier clients.
"There is a lot to consider behind the scenes if you simply want to recharge your car," explains Doron Frenkel, Driivz founder and CEO, "We are very excited because we are sitting at the center of a revolution in mobility and sustainable energy that will make a significant contribution to a better future."
"We have focused on servicing the largest customers because when it comes to the smaller players, the industry will naturally consolidate into a smaller number of big organizations."
This strategy has worked well so far for the eight-year-old company. It offers cloud-based modules, such as network operations management, billing systems, energy management of more than 500 types of chargers, and driver tools, that allow organizations to add capabilities as they need them.
Large clients include Centrica Business in the United Kingdom, which is assembling an EV fleet of 14,000 vehicles. EVnetNL in the Netherlands is using Driivz to manage more than 3,000 charging points. And Afcon Electric Mobility operates Israel's largest EV charging network.
Driivz is also able to analyze troves of data that clients such as Volvo are eager to have for future product plans.
Its achievements have not gone unnoticed. Driivz was recently acquired in early February by Vontier, for an undisclosed amount.
Frenkel says Vontier was selected because it promised to preserve Driivz's independence and invest heavily in a major expansion of its operations, further development of its machine-learning technologies, and new tools for the management of EV resources.
Frenkel believes that Driivz can eliminate many of the myths about the future with EVs. The myths are that there isn't enough electric power available to support large numbers of EV drivers and that electric power is not green or sustainable.
"The batteries in the EVs could be used to load-balance the power to a household, or as part of a system that helps balance an entire power grid. And with energy management you can ensure that you can recharge your EVs with clean energy," Frenkel noted.
For example, power from wind and solar is completely dependent on local conditions, and much is wasted, but batteries in EVs could store power from these sources and release it when needed.
Similarly, office buildings could use batteries in fleets of EVs to load-balance and save significant energy costs.
And there are future potential uses by large power utilities for very granular power management capabilities that integrate the needs of EVs with the regenerating features that batteries provide for the entire spectrum of electric power users.
For Frenkel and his team, he says they are excited to be part of building technologies that can truly make a big positive difference to everyone's future.