Enabling the Next Decade of EV Fast Charging: Our Investment in Electric Era
Blackhorn Ventures is proud to announce our latest investment in smart EV fast charging storage provider Electric Era Technologies, with participation from Proeza Ventures, Liquid 2 Ventures, and previous strategic investor Remus Capital.
The unprecedented acceleration of EV growth has created an urgency to build affordable and accessible charging infrastructure: 145 million electric vehicles (EVs) will be on the road and require fast charging by 2030. Recent federal and state policy, such as the Inflation Reduction Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, provide incentives and funding to switch to EVs, while President Biden’s National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Program includes $5 billion dedicated to deploying public EV charging infrastructure. While federal leadership is welcome, states across the US are also passing historic policies – California and New York recently mandated that all new vehicles sold be either electric or plug-in hybrid electrics by 2035. Making fast charge EV infrastructure ubiquitous is a generational opportunity.
The EV landscape is growing quickly, but installing fast EV charging today accentuates key grid challenges, resulting in higher costs for site owners, utility ratepayers, and EV drivers.
Electric vehicles are expected to demand nearly 60X more electricity by 2040 – from 11 TWh in 2022 to an estimated 655 TWh in 2040. Even if utilities drastically increase their investments into grid upgrades, it’s unlikely they’ll be able to source equipment and deploy capital quickly enough to accommodate forecasted EV growth. Public site hosts – such as convenience stores, gas stations, and retail chains – recognize the need to install EV fast charging to remain relevant, but face two major challenges: 1) Expensive and time-consuming grid upgrades, and 2) higher expected energy costs for site hosts and EV drivers that are subject to volatile peak energy prices depending on their time of use.
Electric Era’s behind-the-meter smart EV storage solution gets fast EV charging infrastructure built quickly – without needing to wait for grid upgrades.
Electric Era builds modular EV battery and smart charging systems that are easy-to-install and adaptable with any EV charger. Its PowerNode solution includes a 120 kW/60 kWh battery pack and a smart power management platform. This enables site hosts to discharge power to 4 separate fast chargers via one centralized location while using just 120 kW of power from the grid rather than the 600 kW required with a direct grid connection (see image below). Its small-footprint, power-dense solution uses 10X less energy storage than alternatives and is the most affordable EV fast charging solution today. Importantly, the PowerNode platform enables convenience store owners to meet eligibility requirements for the $5 billion in federal NEVI funding, minimize costs, and still support fast EV charging speeds.
Source: Electra Era Website
To reduce peak energy demand costs for site hosts and consumers, Electric Era’s solution includes an AI-driven smart software to predict and optimize charging.
Electric Era’s patent-pending smart software solution enables battery and charger site control, predicts expected power load and peak demand charges, monitors utility tariffs, and manages power load and delivery to ensure the optimal and most economical charging for site owners and consumers. One existing DC fast-charge site host and Electric Era customer noted that their utility costs exploded after installing fast chargers directly. With Electric Era’s PowerNode system, they were able to save thousands of dollars each month as its smart software filled the battery pack when energy prices were low to avoid peak demand charges while still ensuring EV fast charging was available whenever needed.
By enabling affordable and accessible fast EV charging, Electric Era will help us accelerate towards a clean transportation future.
The transportation sector makes up 27% of US greenhouse gas emissions due to the burning of fossil fuels – the most of any sector. According to BloombergNEF’s lifecycle analysis, EVs produced in 2030 will emit 70% to 90% less carbon dioxide than equivalent internal combustion engine vehicles. We need smart hardware plus software charging solutions today to enable the electrification and decarbonization of the transportation industry and reduce our global emissions footprint.
Electric Era’s team has the right mix of engineering and business skills to lead us into a new era of transportation.
The Electric Era team has an exceptional background: CEO & Founder Quincy Lee, CTO Sam Reineman, VP of Software Sith Dharmasiri, and Director of Build Development Eoghan Kyne all worked together previously at SpaceX. Lee and Reineman were Lead Mechanical Engineers there, where they led the engineering design, development, rollout and business outcomes for the Starlink Gateway Antenna Ground Stations. These engineering heavyweights are complemented by Director of Business Development Will Hersey, who previously led go-to-market sales and strategy, fundraising, and business operations at an early stage clean energy company. With their collective skills and experience, the Electric Era team stands out within the EV charging space, and we’re excited to be on this journey together.