BMW has led a major investment in a German tech start-up that is aiming to make it easier to install charging stations in areas with limited or no internet connection.
Most current smart charging systems rely on a driver connecting their smartphone with the charger via the internet. But HeyCharge, which was founded in 2020, has been developing a new system called SecureCharge that means smartphones and chargers can communicate via Bluetooth.
HeyCharge claims the system will tackle the problem of being unable to charge due to internet connection issues, allowing for chargers featuring SecureCharge to be placed in areas with poor or no internet. It is particularly targeting 'semi-private' environments including apartment buildings, offices and hotels.
The firm claims that the lack of reliance on the internet means that SecureCharger-enabled chargers are also quicker and cheaper to set up, enabling them to be installed at scale faster. HeyCharge is working on its own charging hardware called Access Point. It says a combination of that and SecureCharge could reduce the lifetime costs of the units by 80%.
BMW I Ventures, the German car brand's investment arm, has led a £3.4 million funding round in HeyCharge. Other firms involved in the investment push include Statkraft Ventures.
HeyCharge says it will use the new investment to significantly scale its produce to new markets.