How do you plan your route in your car? You punch in your destination in your choice of satnav (whether its the integrated one in the car, or on your smartphone connected to your car using Airplay or Android Auto), maybe pick the best route from a few options, and then off you go. Simple, right?
Do you ever consider how much fuel (petrol/diesel) you have in your car before you set off? No, you most likely don’t. You take it for granted that there would be many refuelling stations along the way, should you ever need one. And also you would only need to stop for a few minutes at these refuelling stations, so you don’t really add too much buffer to your journey times for any incidental refuelling needs.
With electric vehicles, you don’t have the above luxury, not today at least. With EVs, the driving range of vehicles (at least mid-range ones) is lower than their equivalent combustion engine versions — and more importantly, charging an EV battery takes much longer than refuelling petrol or diesel. It takes 30–50mins to charge an EV battery on a fast charger, and up to 4 hours on a slow one.
So now consider planning your route in an EV. What information would you need in order to get to your destination, and to get there in optimum time? You would want:
a) the route calculator to know how much battery state of charge (SoC) you have left, and calculate your route taking the charge into account
b) the route calculator to chalk out a route that has charging stations along the way, if it deems your EV doesn’t have enough battery charge to do the full route.
Now, imagine planning the route for 10s or 100s of EVs! This will be the big challenge for fleet EVs, such as delivery vehicles, service vans (such British Gas utility repair vans) etc. The fleet manager would need the SoC information for all the EVs, and then be able to decide which van to send on which route or jobs, whilst building routes that have EV charging stations along the way.
In my days of working at Nissan as the EV product manager and selling to fleet operators/managers one of the first electric vans in the market — the e-NV200, my biggest challenge was to figure out with those fleet operators/managers how or if those e-vans could fit into the routes done by the existing diesel vans — as there were no EV solutions in fleet management software, nor were there many chargers along most routes.
If the world needs to switch to using EVs quickly, and reduce the carbon footprint of mobility, then it needs to start the process with switching fleet vehicles to EVs — which can be switched en mass, taking multiple combustion engine vehicles off the roads at a time, instead of trying to switch each individually owned car. And for that to happen, the challenge of EV route planning needs to be overcome first.
Fleet operators usually use software to manage and monitor everything about their fleets. However, these fleet management software haven’t yet added the complex management of EVs to their product features.
Enter the missing piece of the puzzle — Volteum. Founded by four engineers Zsófia, Dávid, Kornél and Krisztián, who have been working on their solution — algorithms that predict vehicles’ energy needs, calculate optimised routes based on EV charge, location of EV chargers etc. — since 2019. Their algorithms take into account outside factors like the weather, altitude, or the occupancy of the chargers ahead. They also provide a fully equipped platform for the fleet operator to be able to monitor and interact with its vehicles.
Volteum received their first success by integrating their solution into the world’s leading fleet management solution and telematics provider Geotab. So if you’re a Geotab customer, you can avail of Volteum’s solution by purchasing it on the Geotab Marketplace.
As electric vehicles become increasingly important in the switch to clean mobility, and to fight climate change, I truly believe that Volteum will be leading and facilitating this change.
I’m proud to invest in Volteum alongside some very notable investors such as Day One Capital, Techstars, Oktogon Ventures, Fiedler Capital and angels like Jared Schrieber, Emilio Cosso, Achilleas Kotrozos and the founders of SEON and Bitrise.
There’s one more reason that makes me a proud investor of Volteum. Its the first female led startup I have invested in, and I really hope its the start of many more to come.
I wish Zsófia and the team the very best in making Volteum a huge success.