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HEVO Founder Jeremy McCool on Accelerating Electric Vehicle Adoption

Introduction

Electric vehicles (EVs) seem to be the future of the automotive industry. Governments are working to accelerate market adoption of EVs, and automakers are racing to adapt and innovate. However, charging EVs today is far from convenient when compared to filling vehicles up with gasoline. Charging stations aren’t always easy to find — and charging an EV can take anywhere from 30 minutes to half a day

HEVO is building a wireless EV charging network. Its core product is an integration of hardware and software called Rezonant E8. The hardware consists of wall- or pole-mounted power stations, wireless power pads embedded in the ground, wireless vehicle pads, and battery adapters for any EV. The software provides station reservation, bill payment, charging analytics and route planning. We reached out to founder and CEO Jeremy McCool to learn how his current position relates to his military experience in Iraq and why HEVO considers competition a good thing.

Note: This interview was conducted over phone and email. It has been lightly edited for clarity and length.

Inez Sanjaya

In your own words, how would you describe your company?

Jeremy McCool

HEVO is the leading developer of wireless EV charging technology that will accelerate mass adoption of EVs by addressing many of the friction points associated with plug-in charging. HEVO’s wireless charging technology meets the universal safety and performance standards for wireless EV charging established by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). As a first mover introducing a commercially ready wireless EV charging platform featuring seamlessly integrated hardware and software, HEVO is well positioned to dominate the rapidly expanding EV charging marketplace.

Inez Sanjaya

What inspired you to take the leap and start this company?

Jeremy McCool

During a 15-month surge combat tour in Iraq in the mid-2000s, my unit was tasked with restoring power to civilians in our area of operations. The challenges associated with this mission made me conclude that the world must end reliance on fossil fuels.  Upon returning to the US, I found EVs were beginning to emerge, and I viewed them as the first step in reducing total emissions by reducing the widespread operational emissions of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. The second step involves sourcing renewable energy to power those EVs. I began to investigate what factors would accelerate the mass adoption of EVs. In particular, I spoke with fleets that were looking to electrify. The biggest pain point was that at the end of the work day, EV fleet drivers were failing to plug in vehicles so that they would be ready for operation the next day. Many fleets abandoned plans or went back to ICE vehicles. When asked what would solve this problem, the fleet operators stated they wanted wireless charging. 

Inez Sanjaya

Who is on your team and how did you come together?

Jeremy McCool

JP Yorro is our CFO. We met more than a decade ago while in grad school together at Columbia University. JP went on to work in energy investment banking, energy private equity, and then co-founded an electric aerospace company. He has followed HEVO’s progress closely since inception, and we have spoken on and off over the years about the right time for him to join. Following HEVO’s UL certification and SAE qualification, the transition from research and development (R&D) to commercialization was the right time to expand the management team. 

Sameer Rashid is our COO. I met Sameer many years ago while HEVO and another startup that he was involved with were co-located at the same accelerator space in Brooklyn. Sameer became a big fan of HEVO and personally invested in the company. Similar to JP, Sameer joined the company during the transition from R&D to commercialization.   

Inez Sanjaya

What is the state of the market right now in terms of universal standards and practices?

Jeremy McCool

As mentioned, UL and SAE have set the universal safety and performance standards for wireless EV charging, and HEVO tested to those standards in 2020.  To HEVO’s knowledge, no other company has managed to meet these standards.

Inez Sanjaya

How is HEVO transforming the EV charging industry?

Jeremy McCool

HEVO’s mission is to accelerate mass adoption of EVs to reduce reliance on fossil fuels. There are two primary roadblocks to widespread adoption. The first roadblock is price. Not everyone can afford a Tesla or a Rivian. The automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are now doing their part making significant investments in EV development. We are already starting to see dozens of EV makes and models at different price points. 

The second roadblockwhich HEVO can impact directlyis the EV driver experience. For mass adoption to take place, charging an EV must be at least as easy as finding a gas station to fill up an ICE vehicle. Static wireless charging at home and at public charging locations is only the beginning. Static wireless charging eliminates more than half of the steps required to charge an EV using a plug-in system. 

But HEVO is going even further. HEVO is partnered with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and is the commercialization partner for wireless R&D funded by the Department of Energy coming out of ORNL. Together, HEVO and ORNL are working on high-power charging (up to 1.5 megawatts), vehicle-to-grid dynamic in-road charging technologies. These technologies will bring static wireless charging times down to minutes, allow people to charge while driving, and ensure that the energy sources utilized to power EVs are renewable while also creating grid resiliency.

Inez Sanjaya

What does the competitive landscape look like, and how do you differentiate?

Jeremy McCool

To HEVO’s knowledge, no other company has been able to meet the universal safety and performance standards established by UL and SAE. This means that HEVO has an advantage when marketing its product to automotive OEMs and tier 1 suppliers. No automaker would risk adopting hardware onto vehicle platforms without these benchmarks. 

There are several competitors, namely WiTricity and Momentum Dynamics. WiTricity has developed a licensing model whereby the company licenses its intellectual property out to other companies. However, none seem to have been successful in developing a viable charging platform. Momentum Dynamics has done some limited pilot projects but, again, has not met the universal standards. In the end, HEVO believes in an ecosystem that consists of more than one player. From a risk perspective, automakers cannot rely on only one supplier for any type of technology. HEVO estimates that the company has a 12-to-18-month lead in discussions with OEMs over competitors.

Inez Sanjaya

What stage are you in with your direct consumers? What does your pipeline look like?

Jeremy McCool

We have shipped six units in the fourth quarter of 2021 and first quarter of 2022 for projects on three continents and are accepting/prioritizing orders for the next 10 units, followed by an additional 50 units in 2022. These units will be going to a mix of certified partners that install charging stations for their customers, fleets, automotive OEMs, and automotive tier 1 suppliers. Some of these units will be used for evaluation prior to much larger orders. Two global OEMs in particular have been expressing interest in much larger purchase orders with initial year (2024) volumes of 20,000 to 50,000 units, followed by hundreds of thousands in subsequent years. In 2022, we will begin working with dealerships to offer hardware aftermarket retrofits to individual drivers.

Inez Sanjaya

How do you intend to use the money you raise this round to scale the business?

Jeremy McCool

A portion of the capital raised will be used to recruit additional software and production personnel to support our ramp-up, in addition to a business development executive and chief revenue officer that can drive the pipeline. The capital will also be used to outfit a larger manufacturing facility to include tooling.

Inez Sanjaya

What do you want potential investors to know about you and/or your company?

Jeremy McCool

We have been at this for more than 10 years and have met the UL and SAE safety and performance standards with far fewer personnel and a fraction of the dollars available to many of our competitors, who have yet to meet those standards. This is a testament to the talent of our team, which we know is best-in-class.

Inez Sanjaya

As you think about the business 5-10 years down the road, what do you see exit opportunities looking like? Have you set any future goals for the company?

Jeremy McCool

Our goal is to go public via initial public offering within the next few years. Broader participation in HEVO as a public company is in alignment with our mission of democratizing eMobility, accelerating the adoption of EVs, and providing ubiquitous wireless EV charging solutions for all.

We look forward to seeing where Jeremy and his team take the company. HEVO is currently raising on Republic.

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About: Inez Sanjaya

Inez's background is in the startup ecosystem, which she is very passionate about. Inez has experience working in a startup, a Google-backed accelerator, and lastly in Plug and Play Tech Center. Prior to this, she was a part of VU Venture Partners doing deal sourcing and conducting due diligence. Inez graduated from the University of California Berkeley with an Economics degree.

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