With 1,100 charging points Munich is the leader among German cities in terms of electric mobility — but the network, like in many other cities, lacks high-power chargers. The startup Jolt Energy tackles this problem with its own flexible, mobile charging stations. The founders explain how this works in an interview.
Munich Startup: Who are you and what do you do? Please briefly introduce yourselves and your business!
Jolt: We are a Munich based e-mobility startup founded in 2018 by ten industry professionals under the leadership of Maurice Neligan aiming to bring mobile fast charging downtown. Our international management team brings decades of senior management experience in diverse industries to the business, coming e.g. from Siemens, MAN and other major companies in the electrical engineering and IT-industries.
The planned network is based on our custom-developed Merlin high-power charger which works like a huge power bank for e-cars: A battery-pack is charged in an energy center and can then be deployed practically anywhere, e.g. in front of restaurants, shopping malls or in gas stations to charge up to ten e-cars at max. 150 kW DC.
Mobile charger and energy storage in one
Munich Startup: But that’s nothing out of the box!
Jolt: Our USP is clearly that the chargers can be deployed anywhere and do not need access to the grid. So no time is lost for planning or administrative approval or digging up the ground. It also avoids having to upscale the grid as our energy centers are typically located in industrial areas where medium voltage cables are available. Furthermore, our Merlins can be charged whenever the grid is ready for it. In the opposite case, they are also able to feed power back into the grid thus stabilizing it (so-called primary control power). We feel that with the growing portion of green energy the grid stability will become shakier and it will thus be more important to even out any surpluses or shortcomings in the grid to avoid blackouts. Here lies also one of our four revenue streams, besides the sale of power, charging as a service and commercials on our screens.
Munich Startup: What was your biggest challenge so far?
Jolt: Quite frankly, our biggest challenge is money. We have good ideas, a wonderful team, and strong support from all industrial partners but, of course, to bring the first Merlins onto the streets we need money. Neither banks nor public institutions have helped so far so that up to now we are relying on private investors.
Munich Startup: Now let’s get down to the nitty-gritty: How is business going?
Jolt: Well, that question is a bit premature as there is no business now. We are planning to start our first pilot project in Q4 of this year and deploy a total of 16 Merlins near the “Mittlerer Ring” in driver convenient areas; details are not yet fixed.
Jolt is testing in Munich
Munich Startup: What does Munich mean to you?
Jolt: Munich is, of course, our home base and we are actually planning to start our first project here. If you bear in mind that up to now there are just two fast chargers deployed in Munich we feel that there is (or will be) good demand once the number of e-cars picks up. We are already in good contact with the city of Munich which aims to become one of the spearheads of e-mobility in Germany and we are really proud to be part of that story.
Munich Startup: How will your startup become the next unicorn? Or will we be seeing you at an Epic Fail Night soon?
Jolt: After the first project we are planning to roll out the network to all major German cities with over one million inhabitants. Our business model is perfectly scalable so we can evolve it in line with the e-mobility market. We are also planning to set up shop in other European countries and the U.S. where e-cars already have a higher market share.
Munich Startup: Hiking or beer garden?
Jolt: As we are ten founders from different countries all kinds of leisure activities can be found but as a team we mostly enjoy the beer gardens in and around Munich.