Electric car fleet charging start-up Evos has secured $1.7 million in seed funding from an unnamed ASX100 listed company and Brisbane-based cruise control company Autostrada in a bid to take advantage of a boost from government fleet targets.
The ability to charge fleets will become increasingly more important as the transition to electric mobility takes hold in Australia, something that is now being taken more seriously by state and territory governments, if not the federal govenrment, in recent times.
While a rollout of DC fast-chargers will assist drivers travelling between cities and regions and many homeowners charge at home from a wall charger, much like they do with a mobile phone, fleets will benefit from being able to use higher-powered AC chargers.
A new plan from the NSW, South Australian and Tasmanian state governments will see their entire fleets transitioned to electric vehicles by 2030. Likewise, Victoria has pledged to buy 400 new electric vehicles for its fleet by 2023 and the ACT government already has at least 300 electric vehicles in service.
The Evos founders are more familiar with DC fast-charging given they include former senior executives from Brisbane’s Tritium, but they are clearly not blind to the potential to claim a piece of the AC charging market.
The company is led by Evos CEO and chief commercial officer Marcelo Salgado, and Seshan Weeratunga, who has bagged the exciting title of chief experience and innovation officer, as well as CTO Chris Crossman, who was one of the first engineers at Tritium and previously hailed from Boeing.
The company is keeping tight-lipped about which ASX100 listed company has taken an interest in the start-up, but Salgado said in a statement that:
“We’re looking forward to using this investment to commercialise our products and deliver Australian businesses and the world an easy solution to their home and workplace charging needs.
“Australia has an exceptional engineering and manufacturing track record, and electric vehicles and charging offers the nation an opportunity to continue that tradition in a new sector. Our investors feel the same way, and we can’t wait to take our solutions to homes and fleets across Australia and into overseas markets.”
The start-up intends to produce 22kW AC chargers with a sleek design that could equally look good on the wall of a home garage, but sturdy enough to be installed outside and handle all weather conditions with an IP65 rating.
A “smart start” system would allow electric vehicles to use the chargers without the need for RFID cards or smartphone apps – echoing the “plug and charge” system introduced by Tritium.
“We’ve had significant experience in this space and one of the biggest challenges we saw for everyday drivers and fleets alike is not only a lack of charging infrastructure in Australia, but the fact that using chargers can be overly complex,” said Weeratunga.
“When a driver went to a charger, they might have to download a specific app simply to be invoiced. And from a fleet perspective the hassle and time it can take to manage multiple accounts for its fleet was a significant hindrance to EV rollouts.”
Evos’ AC chargers will be manufactured in Brisbane through Circuit Solutions, the manufacturing arm of Autostrada.
This article has been updated to clarify Crossman’s role at Tritium.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018, and has a keen interest in the role that zero-emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum. Bridie also owns a Tesla Model 3 and has it available for hire on evee.com.au.