Dr. Jörg Heurer, CEO and CO-Founder of Ecog.
© Ecog

Ecog wants to set new standards for charging electric vehicles

Since 2017, Ecog has been helping manufacturers of charging stations to develop their solutions cost-effectively and scale them profitably. In this interview, CEO and CO-Founder Jörg Heurer explains the successes his company has achieved so far and what the future holds for Ecog.

Munich Startup: What problem does Ecog solve?

Jörg Heuer, CEO and Co-Founder of Ecog: Ecog is a global IP and technology company working on the rapid expansion of a sustainable charging infrastructure for electric vehicles. With our charging controllers, reference designs and software, we enable companies to bring products and services to market quickly and scale profitably.

Munich Startup: How has your solution developed since the founding of the company?

Jörg Heuer: Ecog was founded in 2017 as a spin-off of Siemens AG as part of the Techstars Mobility Accelerator with the support of Siemens and Next47 in Detroit. From the very beginning, our goal was to set new standards in electric vehicle charging and drive the mobility revolution forward. A short time later, we relocated to Munich. This was mainly due to the rapid development of the electric mobility market in Europe.

Since then, things have gone from strength to strength: in 2018, Ecog was accepted into the Accelerator in Oslo and in 2019, the Universal Core, which is based on patented technologies and special operating systems, was launched on Siemens charging stations.

The challenges of electromobility, in particular the reliability of the charging process, have led us to launch the first global reliability index for charging stations, the Ecog Charging Reliability Index, in 2023. The Ecog CRI provides insights into critical factors that influence charging efficiency.

This year, we developed a reference architecture for bidirectional wallboxes together with Infineon. We see great potential for bidirectional charging as part of the energy transition.

“Ecog grew four times faster than the market last year”

Munich Startup: What have been your biggest successes so far?

Jörg Heuer: In 2022, we achieved a market share of 15 percent for DC chargers for electric vehicles in the EU, making us the market leader. Two other major successes in 2023 were our market entry in India in 2023 and the publication of the Ecog CRI. With this index, we are setting new standards in testing the reliability of electric cars during the charging process. Currently, one in four charging processes is faulty. So you see – the need is there.

This year, we are particularly proud of the opening of our location in Detroit, which was subsidized with 1.5 million US dollars by the State of Michigan and in which we ourselves are investing over 14 million US dollars.

Our operating system now runs on 40 different charger series, from wallboxes to megawatt chargers, and we currently have more than 20 well-known customers, including Siemens and one of the world’s largest filling station equipment suppliers.

In the past year, Ecog has grown four times faster than the market and we are really proud that our commitment and innovation is being recognized: Twice in a row we were listed among the Deloitte Top 50 companies in 2022 and 2023 and were recently awarded the German Innovation Award.

Munich Startup: And what challenges did you have to deal with?

Jörg Heuer: Amajor problem is the expansion of the network expansion and its speed. The infrastructure geared towards combustion engines urgently needs an update. The infrastructure sector is still divided: many players want to help shape the expansion. However, it is particularly important that interoperability is as high as possible – i.e. that all cars really can be charged – so that the charging network is attractive for all electric vehicles. After all, only a good charging network will increase the motivation to switch to electric vehicles.

We are also concerned about economic developments in Germany. The switch to electric vehicles has currently stalled. This urgently needs to change again so that we can achieve the mobility turnaround.

Catalyst for charging infrastructure

Munich Startup: What lessons did you learn as a founding team?

Jörg Heuer: Together with Johannes Hund and Manuel Heckmann, I founded Ecog based on our many years of experience in electromobility. I worked at Siemens in the field of telecommunications and network infrastructure, Johannes in the field of IoT, and Manuel in the field of venture capital – so we pooled our expertise in Ecog. It was super exciting for us that we had to think as a startup but know the corporate world well in order to be able to serve our market. To drive innovation in infrastructure, you have to support each other, especially within the industry. That’s why we see ourselves as a catalyst for charging infrastructure.

Munich Startup: What role did the Munich ecosystem play on your path?

Jörg Heuer: Munich is already being referred to as Silicon Valley for IoT – as an international scale-up, we can only agree with that, we feel very much at home in this technology hub. In addition, the major car manufacturers in the area offer good opportunities for cooperation, which also drive forward the latest technologies. However, we not only benefit from the strong economy, but also from Bavarian politics, which is very supportive of the location. In the future, we would also like to pilot charging in Munich, as the city now wants to make it easier to set up the charging infrastructure.

Munich Startup: What is your company’s vision?

Jörg Heuer: Our name actually sums up our vision: ‘Ecog’ is made up of the words ecological, ecosystem and energy and illustrates our goal of helping to shape the charging infrastructure and grid expansion of the future and making both more integrated, more sustainable and more profitable.