Autonomous tech / Startups / Transportation

Could HEVO be Brooklyn’s next unicorn?

Having to charge electric vehicles remains a hurdle to widespread adoption. Jeremy McCool's Red Hook startup is racking up some early wins in its quest to make EVs the norm.

3F commissioner Adam Tope is taking steps to improve his ANC's transparency. (Photo courtesy of Adam Tope)

Jeremy McCool believes he has seen the future.

In that future, electric vehicles will be able to drive from coast to coast without stopping to charge. Energy will be more widely available and energy prices will be more stable. Flying cars will be able to charge wirelessly at pick-up locations.

This will all be possible, he says, thanks to HEVO Power, McCool’s Red Hook startup that creates the technology to allow an electric vehicle to wirelessly charge itself.

“Eliminating humans from the equation will make this technology ubiquitous and foolproof,” said McCool, a former Army captain. “That’s the final hurdle to widespread electric vehicle adoption.”

When Technical.ly last spoke with HEVO, McCool was in the process of beginning manufacturing for the HEVO power station. The power station is a surface embedded in the ground that transmits electricity via radio waves to a receiver on the underside of a vehicle when the vehicle is on top of it. The driver can see how their vehicle is doing on power via a mobile app. The idea has proven so revelatory that McCool says he has been able to strike deals with several major automotive manufacturers and utility brands around the world to begin outfitting their products with his technology.

HEVO’s biggest challenge now is ramping up production to meet demand.

“If we can meet production requirements, this will be a multibillion-dollar company in the next three years,” McCool said. “Every single company involved in e-mobility, autonomy and energy distribution is betting on electric vehicles because they are the key to unlocking the unlimited potential of renewable energy.”

Sarah Kaufman, assistant director at the NYU Rudin Center for Transportation, says easing requirements for electric vehicle ownership will be key to widespread adoption. “Making the mechanism for charging less cumbersome will go a long way in getting people out of their gas-guzzling cars,” Kaufman tells Technical.ly. “We need to make that threshold easy to cross.”

That’s where HEVO might move the needle.

By 2021, McCool says HEVO systems will be included as a standard option on many electric vehicles. In addition, HEVO will supply enough power stations to utility providers to outfit entire cities, eliminating the need for wired charging stations.

“Wireless charging would allow for a more universal charging scheme,” NYU’s Kaufman said. “But there will need to be a significant number of public-private partnerships to provide cities with the proper infrastructure.”

A rendering of HEVO's wireless charging mat. (Courtesy image)

A rendering of HEVO’s wireless charging mat. (Courtesy image)

So what’s the selling point for utility providers?

Widespread electric vehicle adoption can enable a system called “vehicle to grid,” where electric vehicles communicate with the power grid to either supply or siphon energy based on need, stabilizing energy costs and flow. By 2023, McCool hopes to implement dynamic charging, where roads are outfitted with power strips that charge vehicles as they drive over them.

“We can provide systems where buses or delivery trucks can opportunistically charge along their routes, eliminating the need to ever stop,” McCool said. “Commuters will drive over power strips that will provide them with enough energy to go another five miles until they pass over the next power strip. This provides electric vehicles the true freedom of travel.”

HEVO is also working with a flying electric vehicle company to create launch pads that can wireless charge aircrafts between take-off and landing. In the nearer future, McCool sees his product as a natural fit for autonomous vehicles.

“You could have your vehicle park and charge itself,” McCool said. “That’s the whole enchilada.”

HEVO’s mission is to become the global standard for wireless charging. By manufacturing its own product, McCool believes HEVO has an edge over competitors such as WiTricity and Qualcomm, which license their wireless charging technology.

HEVO is set to begin full production of its systems in January 2019. The company hopes to be producing thousands of units by 2020, which will be sold at $2,500 a pop. McCool also has plans to triple the size of his 10-person team in the coming months, and open additional offices in the Netherlands, California and Asia. HEVO is currently raising capital for a Series A. The company has operated on a $4.5 million budget raised through angel investors and grants for the past six years.

McCool does not hold back when discussing HEVO’s lofty potential: “This is the company you only find once or twice in your life as an investor.”

Series: Brooklyn

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