Before starting Electric eraQuincy Lee was one of the chief mechanical engineers at Space X. He got bored of doing space stuff when the climate crisis was happening here on Earth and decided to do something about one of the biggest challenges with the adoption of electric vehicles : Distributed infrastructure for high-speed charging.
“I spent seven years at SpaceX cutting my teeth on rockets and satellites. As I watched a rocket launch from SpaceX Mission Control in 2018, I saw the Earth shrink in size as the rocket flew off into the void of space. WTF, I thought,” says Lee, the company’s founder and CEO, in an interview with TechCrunch. “Why am I spending all my time sending tech away from Earth when humanity is about to burn to the ground from climate change. That’s stupid.”
The company just raised $4 million (bringing its total raised to $8 million) to address this challenge with fast-charging EV stations, specifically with the goal of installing them in and near stores. This makes them eligible for President Biden’s National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Formula (NEVI) program, allowing it to tap into the $5 billion program.
The business model makes sense: 7-Eleven says it does is preparing to install charging stations at 500 of its locations by the end of the year and last year Shell claims it wants to add 500,000 charging points by the end of 2025. The market can be ready for some consolidation soon, come to think of it.
Electric Era announced that it has secured its investment from Proeza Ventures, Blackhorn Ventures, Liquid 2 Ventures and previous strategic investors including Remus Capital. The company also added another SpaceX veteran to its payroll — Sam Reinemann, who served as lead mechanical engineer at the Musk-driven company. He joins as CTO of Electric Era to help accelerate production and delivery of the PowerNode platform to customers.
“Joe Montana’s Blackhorn, Proeza and Liquid 2 ventures are outstanding. They are deeply technical and top level climate investors. They are super intense about deep decarbonization, fundamentals thinking and outstanding business strategy, Lee said. “The PowerNode platform is the most affordable EV fast charging solution. We’ve designed it to avoid expensive network search and upgrade fees, making it the perfect choice for shops – especially those looking to qualify for NEVI grants.”
The idea is that the platform reduces network requirements and search fees by a third while maintaining fast loading speeds. The result is that this allows stores to replicate the gas station experience while optimizing revenue and minimizing the cost of fast charging, keeping them in the game in a new round of competition with gas stations and charging infrastructure.
“Our technology allows us to build Tesla SuperCharger-like stations at every gas station in America in weeks instead of years. We are focused on having 10,000 PowerNode charging stations installed by 2030,” asserts Lee, painting a picture of aggressive market expansion going forward: “Electric Era was founded to make EV fast charging ubiquitous and affordable. In 10 years, you’ll be able to autonomously charge your Rivian or CyberTruck on every street corner in America at our charging stations.”
Not a moment too soon; EV charging is desperately needed for a business model, as Tim explored in a recent postand inviting EV drivers into convenience stores and fast-food restaurants may be the tipping point.
The company faces fierce competition as a slew of EV charging companies have raised money in the past year, all trying to take different parts of the same market. Loop with a lasso for $60 million, Bump charged ahead with $180 million, Monta climbed a mountain of $30 million in cash and Copperfield made $5 million appearjust to list a few from recent rounds.