Is EV charging the next gig for the gig economy? SparkCharge thinks so – TechCrunch

Mobile charging battery company last week SparkCharge Announced A partnership agreement with AllState Which expands the company’s reach to vehicle services, propelling the company toward its goal of creating electric vehicles that charge the next gig economy job.

The company, which has developed, designed and commercialized a mobile vehicle charger, is in the process of closing a $ 5 million round led by Shark Tank investor Mark Cuban and others as it launches its new mobile charging device, called the Roadie Goes, brings it to market. .

SparkCharge’s 120 kW fast charger can be delivered through a network of on-demand partners that now include AllState and Durham, NC vehicle service startups, Spiffy. Customers can choose to top up between 50 miles and 100 miles using Roadie, the linchpin in an extensive charge network that envisions Joshua Aviv, the founder of SparkCharge.

Aviv said, “You can say that I want a charge in this place and in this time frame.” “You pay and the charge is given on a single app.”

So far, the agreement between AllState and SparkCharge has included four cities: Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Diego, California, and the insurance and roadside assistance provider has ordered about twenty portable chargers.

Working through companies such as Spiffy and AllState is one way to get into the market, but the chief executive of SparkCharge believes that independent workers can start their own businesses to deliver on-demand charges to customers.

According to Aviv, the on-demand charge costs about 50 cents per mile and a customer can get a significant charge of as much as $ 10.

“We are basically building a new [charging] Network, ”said Aviv. “This is not a network which means stopgap. It is a network that is always available, always available and is better and faster than this [traditional chargers]… We don’t need permits, we don’t need construction. With our unit, you take it out for the box that you plug into the car that you press a button and start charging. With us, every parking lot, every location – which is now a charging station. It is a much better network than legacy. “

Folks who wanted to offer charging services would pay about $ 450 a month for the equipment and this would give them the batteries and equipment they would need to start their on-demand EV charging business.

“It’s a business designed to serve people EV owners,” Aviv said.

Summerville, Mass. The company was born out of frustration with Aviv’s own charm and the current state of the electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

As noted by the Wall Street JournalThe lack of charging infrastructure is a major hurdle that electric vehicles have to overcome in order to gain mass adoption.

in A survey of 3,500 electric vehicle drivers, Cited by the Journal, which was organized by the advocacy group in September and October of last year Plug in americaMore than half of the respondents had public charging problems. Those problems are worse for drivers who do not own Tesla.

Whatever may be true of the EV may be true that Elon created thousands of workers (along with additional innovators and company founders), with Tesla’s emphasis on an adequate charging infrastructure mostly to support its customers A huge dividend has been paid due to giving. And other carmakers, retailers, and standalone charge service providers are just beginning to catch up.

From shells like Volkswagen to oil majors like automakers, who spent $ 2 billion to build an electric vehicle charging network As part of its chirnary disposal of diesel emissions, Built into the outside network or pipeline.

For Aviv, who has owned an electric vehicle since 2013 when they bought a Chevrolet Volt, the problem was obvious. He began working at the company in 2014 while still a student at Syracuse University. A professor and consultant at the university previously served on the board of the Environmental Protection Agency and was a major proponent of electric vehicles.

After college, Aviv continued to work on a business developing a portable charging station and then created a platform for distribution and sales and on top of that built a network of service providers. This is how SparkCharge was created.

In the early days, the company received support from groups such as the Los Angeles Clean Technology Incubator and groups such as Techstar Boston, Techstar, Steve’s Funds of the Rest Fund and their revolution investment firm, PEAK6 Investments and Buffalo, NY-based accelerators. With investors such as 46North, Cuba.

I saw that the current [charging] The infrastructure in which we have a lot of flaws, ”said Aviv. They include downtime between maintenance of charging infrastructure, time it takes for the charge network to grow and lack of maintenance and support for the charger.

“There is a huge push to move these chargers,” he said. This is an interesting tug-of-war that is going on that we are about to come to the fore and consumers can be more persuaded to drive EVs [with SparkCharge] Because not only can you distribute the range, but you can also deliver it on demand. “