BMW invests in start-up for better EV-charging and Mercedes promises EV with 1,000 kilometres of range

BMW i Ventures, the venture capital provider for innovative and high-performing start-ups in the automotive sector, is investing in the Munich-based start-up HeyCharge, which promises to simplify access for charging electric cars.

The PV Europe informs us that with its patent-pending technology “SecureCharge”, HeyCharge makes it possible to charge electric cars in underground garages and parking garages independently of an Internet connection. In total, the start-up raised 4.7 million US dollars for its seed funding.

“The market for electric vehicles will grow rapidly in the coming years, requiring greater expansion of charging infrastructure worldwide,” said Kasper Sage, Managing Partner at BMW i Ventures. “HeyCharge is the first company to enable smart charging of electric vehicles without an Internet connection. This is key to making charging stations commercially viable regardless of location.

Cost-effective and scalable solution

Usually, smart EV charging stations need an Internet connection and an app or RFID card to be activated. But most underground or multi-storey parking garages do not currently have a good Internet connection. Chris Cardé, former Google software specialist and founder and CEO of HeyCharge, recognised the problem when he could not charge his own EV in the underground car park of his Munich apartment building. As the number of electric vehicles on the road increases – virtually every new car sold worldwide could be an electric vehicle by 2040 . So, there is a great need for scalable charging options for e-car drivers.

The aim of HeyCharge is to offer consumers and companies a cost-effective, scalable solution that is suitable for everyday use and also works reliably without the Internet. HeyCharge is also particularly suitable for building operators who are looking for a convenient solution for user billing.

Existing charge points can be upgraded

The patent-pending technology behind SecureCharge enables communication between chargers and the HeyCharge app or software development kit (SDK) via Bluetooth – eliminating the need for an Internet on location connection. The technology minimises latency between phone and charger while maximising system availability. In combination with the HeyCharge charger, the Access Point, the total costs for hardware, installation, communication and service can be reduced by up to 80 percent.

The HeyCharge Access Point also offers an intelligent solution for access control and consumption billing, based on the so-called Mode-2 charging architecture. The advantage of this solution is primarily that existing charge points can be upgraded with little effort and in a short time. In just a few minutes, the operation of the infrastructure can be ensured and new business models for partners and customers can be made possible.

With the Vision EQXX, Mercedes-Benz has presented a new electric vehicles concept. According to internal simulations, the EV should be able to go for around 1,000 kilometres on a single battery charge in real-world road traffic. Some of the electricity comes from the car’s own roof.

This would take the futuristic runabout to a new level in terms of range. Accordingly, the engineers have taken a holistic approach: starting with the improvement of all components of the electric drive train as well as the use of lightweight and sustainable materials. Added to this are further efficiency measures. These include low rolling resistance tyres, improved aerodynamics and modern software.

The energy consumption should be less than 10 kilowatt hours per 100 kilometres, promises Daimler CEO Ola Källenius in his presentation. The motor generates 150 kilowatts of power. “The Vision EQXX has a range of more than 1,000 kilometres on a single charge – powered by a battery that would fit in a small car.” The power is also to come from the car’s own roof. 17 solar cells are supposed to provide around 250 watts of output – a number which will hopefully go up in the future.


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