Mobile EV Charging Robot Unveiled by Brite Company; Looking at Manufacturing Sites
WARREN, Ohio – EV Safe Charge, a Los Angeles-based provider of flexible electric vehicle charging technology, is scouting sites in the Mahoning Valley to manufacture its mobile EV charging robot prototype that the company unveiled Tuesday morning.
The robot, trademarked ZiGGY (pictured above), is designed to bring EV charging to parking facilities, shopping and entertainment centers, hotels, fleet operators and property owners. The company touts the product as cost-effective EV charging that overcomes the limitations of stationary EV chargers and eliminates the need for costly electrical infrastructure.
EV Safe Charge is a portfolio company of Brite Energy Innovators, which has been working with the company for more than a year, said Rick Stockburger, president and CEO of the Warren incubator.
“We helped to get them investor ready,” Stockburger told The Business Journal late Tuesday.
As he explained, that included “getting their pitch ready, helping them with videos and some prototyping work as well. Now their demonstration projects are turning into launches.”
And now, Stockburger and economic development partners and agencies across the region are making their pitch.
“We’re looking at manufacturing opportunities in the Mahoning Valley for them,” he said.
“We wouldn’t be working with them if we didn’t think that was going to happen.”
Among potential locations is the former RG Steel site in Warren, according to Stockburger. The land is owned by the Western Reserve Port Authority but the adjacent building was purchased in 2020 by MegaJoule Ventures LLC through its real estate entity, Valley Properties.
MegaJoule, based in Cleveland, invests in and starts companies in the advanced energy and sustainability field. Last August, the company proposed a partnership with the Western Reserve Port Authority to redevelop part or all of the former Republic Steel site for the advanced energy sector.
Caradoc Ehrenhalt is the founder and CEO of EV Safe Charge Inc. and the inventor of the robot.
“Strong EV sales and emissions reduction goals are creating a more sustainable future, but EV charging infrastructure isn’t keeping up,” he said in a statement. “ZiGGY is a flexible and simple solution for virtually any office, mall or apartment complex to help meet growing charging needs of its tenants and guests without expensive, time-consuming infrastructure and installation investment.”
In addition, ZiGGY’s digital ad server can generate advertising revenue for the facility and display customized information, which makes it the first company to bring to market a mobile EV charging solution featuring communication, according to the launch announcement.
In unveiling its robot, EV Safe Charge said it has secured funding from angel investors, including Sand Hill Angels, described as one of the largest early stage investing groups in the United States.
“Sand Hill Angels makes seed-stage investments in disruptive, scalable technologies that we believe can become highly profitable businesses,” said Drue Freeman, Sand Hill Angels board member.
“We invested in EV Safe Charge because we believe that the acceleration of electric vehicle adoption will result in a growing shortage of readily available fixed-charging capacity, even as industry and government invest massively in infrastructure,” he said. “The cost of retrofitting existing parking structures for EVs can be prohibitive for operators and landlords, and it will be inefficient to install enough fixed-charging capacity to meet demand in every parking lot.”
Added Carl Norman, president of Capstone Financial Group, an international investment bank in the automotive/mobility space, in a statement: “We are thrilled about ZiGGY and feel it will be well received by the market because it represents a cost-effective alternative that simplifies EV charging infrastructure.”
EV Safe Charge said it would lease ZiGGY to facilities and provide ongoing technical support and maintenance. Facility operators would have the option to direct vehicle owners to the app for payment or to provide charging as an amenity.
The robot would be summoned to an EV via mobile app or in-vehicle infotainment system and arrive at the vehicle’s parking space, ready to reserve the spot for plug-in charging. ZiGGY is able to return to its home base for recharging from grid, battery or solar energy, or a combination of these, the company said.
ZiGGY is scheduled to enter production in 2023, the company said. It began taking reservations Tuesday.
Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.