More Than Just a Buzzword.
More Than Just a Buzzword.
The future of mobility extends beyond electric vehicle (EV) charging, but for early EV adopters, efficient charging solutions remain a paramount concern. The automotive industry is undergoing a transformative shift toward electrification, bringing forth a central challenge - how to charge the growing number of EVs efficiently. In response, entrepreneurs within Baloise's Mobility Ecosystem are pioneering customer-centric solutions, underlining the vital role of partnerships in driving innovation.
One innovative concept in the broader context of the EV market comes from the UK-based start-up Go Eve with a mission to simplify charging infrastructure. This endeavour seeks to break free from the established belief that each parking spot necessitates an individual charger, instead, focusing on the creation of a more accessible and efficient fast-charging network for EV owners.
"Up until now, most people believed that you needed to install one fast charger next to two parking spots,” shares Steve Greenfield, General Partner of Atlanta-based venture capital firm, Automotive Ventures. He goes on to illustrate, "We’re investing in a British start-up that’s abstracting away from that idea and working on a solution where one fast charger can accommodate up to 20 vehicles that can all be plugged in simultaneously.”
Fast charging is pivotal for mass EV adoption, and this innovative idea promises both convenience and sustainability. As Steve notes, "The aim is to boost consumer confidence and make transitioning to electric vehicles a no-brainer." This is just one example of how venture capital can fuel customer-centric innovation.
«The aim is to boost consumer confidence and make transitioning to electric vehicles a no-brainer. This is just one example of how venture capital can fuel customer-centric innovation.»
Customer-centricity is more than just a buzzword; it forms the basis of effective mobility solutions that deliver value to businesses and their customers. Steve Greenfield asserts, "In a rapidly evolving industry like the automotive sector, it's imperative to prioritize the customer.” He further emphasizes, "It's not merely about adapting to market trends; it's about shaping those trends to meet customer requirements. It’s easy to say and appears straightforward and intuitive, but the finest solutions always put the customer first."
To breathe life into innovation, start-ups need to have a clear understanding of market demands. Steve sheds light on the issue, saying, "We frequently encounter start-ups brimming with ideas but lacking focus on the market. In such instances, drawing from our experience, it’s highly probable these companies will falter in bringing their innovative solutions to the market."
With the Go Eve case in point, Steve elaborates on how the true value emerges from asking a basic yet radical question: why limit one charger to one vehicle? He adds, "They challenged the status quo, and that's precisely what the industry needs. It's invigorating to witness a start-up that not only thinks outside the box but creates an entirely new paradigm. At its core, it’s a simple idea, yet it has the potential to speed up the adoption of electric vehicles by making fast charging more convenient. Why no one thought of this earlier remains a mystery."
As the industry continues to evolve, venture capital remains a vital catalyst for addressing customer pain points in mobility. It serves as the bridge that connects pioneering ideas to practical applications. An example of this in action is Baloise's recent investment in a young German start-up, TRONITY. Beyond gaining a new partner, the collaboration shows the company’s commitment to customer empowerment, by nurturing a solution that empowers EV users with knowledge and valuable insights about their vehicles.
Today, car buyers harbour numerous questions when contemplating electric vehicles, and these uncertainties are amplified when they consider purchasing a used electric vehicle, for it is impossible to draw upon prior experience or make comparisons. In such cases, they ponder the state of the battery, wonder about the vehicle’s overall condition compared to its peers, and can only guess at the overall running and servicing costs. It is in the heart of the Baloise Mobility Ecosystem that TRONITY shines as a beacon of customer-centricity.
«TRONITY nurtures a solution that empowers EV users with valuable insights about their vehicles. It is in the heart of the Baloise Mobility Ecosystem that TRONITY shines as a beacon of customer-centricity.»
"This is our time," proclaims Torsten Born, CEO of a software start-up, reflecting on the company’s inception. "As we observed the automotive market transitioning from the garage to the software engineer's desk, we seized the opportunity to contribute to a sustainable change in the industry."
TRONITY represents a new generation of software engineers who are redefining the automotive landscape. Founded in 2020, the team was driven by a profound commitment to sustainability and a desire to unravel the complete cost of EV ownership. "Our mission," Torsten explains, "is to ensure that owning an EV is straightforward, transparent, and tailored to individual needs. We aim to provide drivers with a user-friendly platform for complete vehicle oversight."
EV drivers are at the core of the company’s mission. Their Mobility App converts raw data into actionable insights, streamlining access to information about electric vehicles. This empowerment allows drivers to assess performance, monitor costs, and maintain a digital, tax-compliant logbook without the need for supplementary hardware. Until november 2023 the TRONITY Community has logged over 20 million trips and more than 6 million charging sessions. Intensive collaboration with the community and a consistent feedback loop drives continuous product enhancement.
"Our focus remains steadfastly on EV drivers, whether they are private individuals, part of a corporate vehicle fleet, or self-employed," Torsten affirms. Users can register with TRONITY, granting automatic updates of vehicle data, encompassing trip information, and charging details, to an online dashboard accessible through an app or the website. “This dashboard,” Torsten says, “provides a comprehensive overview of running costs and the vehicle’s battery status.”
Commenting on the partnership, Patrick Wirth, Head of the Mobility Unit at Baloise, is convinced TRONITY offers more than just innovative data usage: "EV’s unlock possibilities that simply aren’t feasible with traditional transportation methods, such as utilising energy from the vehicle owner’s solar panels, transforming the car into part of a decentralised energy storage system, and even trading greenhouse gas reduction quotas." Patrick sees it as a perfect fit within Baloise’s Mobility Ecosystem: "Their business model truly enhances our value as an insurance company, enabling us to offer unique solutions not only to our insurance customers but also to our strategic partners in the mobility ecosystem."
In a world rife with hype surrounding venture capital investment opportunities, Patrick Wirth believes Baloise’s approach goes beyond providing capital. “Venture capital, customer-centricity, and partnerships are the forces driving the mobility sector's evolution.”
To wrap up, Steve Greenfield neatly sums up how the mobility sector can best address the challenges ahead: "It can’t just be about financial metrics; it has to be about fostering an environment where start-ups can thrive and are able to explore innovative solutions for sustainable transportation. In this dynamic landscape, investment hypotheses must evolve, and success fundamentally relies on understanding the market and the customers."