The beauty of new mobility is in the fact that it doesn’t just limit itself to how we travel, it looks at the grander picture – the overall commute experience. Now more than ever, technology is playing a huge role in revolutionising the commuter experience, which is why we’re seeing more and more Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) companies making a foray into this space.
Take the example of Israel’s Driivz, which provides EV charging management capabilities. The company has developed a platform for end-to-end management of large charging networks for electric vehicles (EVs), where it fashions itself as an operating system for charging networks and is used by the entire electric ecosystem.
Volvo Group Venture Capital has recently invested in the company. We spoke to Founder and CEO, Doron Frenkel, to find out more.
“Since founding Driivz in 2013, our core focus has been on providing a digital services software platform to major players in the EV market. With hypergrowth in EV charging infrastructure, we offer a scalable, intelligent, and integrated solution that enables our clients to effectively manage their networks and provide drivers with an exceptional EV charging experience,” says Frenkel.
“Driivz is at the center of two revolutions, the mobility and the energy revolutions. We are bridging the gap between these two revolutions and facilitating their dialogue. EV charging is a very complex market with multiple stakeholders, variety of industry standards and protocols and various technologies. Yet, at the center there are drivers/ EV fleet operators, who require a simple and easy to use solution.
“Driivz empowers major service providers that aspire to take a significant role in the e-mobility landscape with a market-leading, end-to-end EV charging and smart energy management software platform,” adds Frenkel.
Its customers include global industry players such as: EVgo, Volvo Group, ESB, Centrica, Gilbarco, ElaadNL, MOL Group, CEZ, Ennet Corporation and COPEC.
Operating in more than 20 countries in the U.S., Europe, and Asia, and managing millions of billing transactions per month for more than 700,000 EV drivers, Driivz is able to fix up to 80% of operations issues remotely. This saves the equivalent of more than 60,000 tons of CO2.
I wanted to understand how Driivz is helping players, across the value chain, and keep up with the EV revolution.
Frenkel explains: “We enable our customers to accelerate their market leadership by growing their charging infrastructure and delivering an exceptional charging experience, while optimizing operations, reducing TCO, speeding time-to-market and maximizing revenues. The company’s cloud-based platform spans EV charging operations; energy management; billing management; EV fleet management; and driver self-service tools. They can be used as individual modules or as a single, unified, open platform that integrates with existing infrastructure.”
“Driivz’s white-label solutions allow charge point operators, power utility companies, gas & oil companies, automakers and EV charging service providers to deliver a set of advanced yet easy to use solutions to multiple players in the ecosystem, such as electric vehicle fleets, charging stations hosts, municipalities, commercial and industrial buildings and MDUs,” he adds.
Developing Self-Healing Algorithms
Frenkel further discussed the challenges that EV charging operators face today and the role that Driivz playing in helping them tackle these challenges with its end-to-end platform.
“It may sound trivial that the EV charging infrastructure operates in a seamless manner as petrol stations do. But this is not always the case. The complexity and combination of multiple types of chargers, EV-related software, and the various business use-cases caused major network stability/reliability issues to EV drivers who ‘just want to charge their vehicles’. Our #1 mission is to develop self-healing algorithms to solve the issues remotely and automatically, and to deliver a seamless EV charging experience.
As EVs are becoming a more common, players such as charge-point operators, e-mobility service providers, EV fleet operators, power utility companies and gas and oil companies, are starting to face unique market challenges.
“The extremely rapid growth of EV charging infrastructure and networks, may cause performance degradation and high maintenance costs, thus, players are looking to optimize EV charging operations and improve network utilization. They need to cope with the complexities of the EV charging environment and evolving charging behaviours and standards,” says Frenkel.
Another major pain point is ensuring a balance between the power requirements for EV charging and the grid. EV owners expect a true ‘charge anywhere’ experience, says Frenkel.
“Making it happen smoothly is exceptionally complex. Customer-facing technology must address the eRoaming experience, with seamless delivery of charging points availability and locations, as well as tariffs and pricing.
“Our smart energy management solution enables optimal utilisation of the grid, energy and cost savings, and integration of EV charging with renewables, batteries, and building management systems. Driivz’ Smart EV charging enables to optimise the charging infrastructure by efficiently distributing the available power, including energy balancing among chargers, sites, campuses and in parking hubs.
“Leveraging advanced energy management algorithms and demand response, Driivz automatically shifts charging loads based on dynamic grid and renewable supplies, dynamic energy cost, preconfigured policies and the needs of vehicle owners. In other words, it ensures that the right amount of energy gets to the right power consumer at the right time,” he adds.
We work hard to transform the EV charging energy challenge into a solution to a bigger problem.
The company is not only help manage and save energy, its algorithms can tell you if the power you are using is green or not, or even manage 100% renewable energy powered charging networks.
Driivz is also working towards helping operators implement Vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technologies to help tackle grid overload.
“The average car is parked about 95% of the day—and EVs are no exception,” he says.
“Vehicle-to-grid (V2G) connectivity offers the potential to manage and optimize the grid by leveraging millions of EVs for energy storage with zero capital cost and zero operating costs. Driivz’s Vehicle-to-grid (V2G) and vehicle-to-everything (V2X) support and Smart EV charging capabilities allow using EVs as decentralized storage resources that can benefit the power system as a whole and minimize, or eventually avoid, grid reinforcements.
“The Driivz platform is ISO 15118-compliant and ensures eMobility providers have the capabilities to deliver on the promise of V2G. ISO 15118 is an international standard that defines the communications protocol between the charging station and the electric vehicle. Using the ISO 15118 interface, the EV identifies itself to the charging station, allowing for instant authorization for and the initiation of charging,” he adds.
As for the future, expansion to other geographies is definitely on the cards, as is optimisation and automation of operations.
“We work hard to transform the EV charging energy challenge into a solution to a bigger problem. We invest in making EVs, a distributed energy source, a balancing tool for the grid while reducing pollution dramatically,” says Frenkel.
“In addition to charging-as-a-service we see miles-as-a-service where, for example, electric bus operators are responsible for operating the bus, the charging infrastructure, cleaning, etc. We expect to see more services around EV charging, which will be provided by power utility companies, automakers, gas, and oil companies etc. Digital services platforms such as Driivz are critical to support these creative business models and ensure that these key players can optimize their operations and monetize their networks,” he concludes.