Alfie Toh (47), Darren Tan (46) and KM (45) are all educated engineers, and have been within the auto business for nearly all their profession lives.
The three of them first crossed paths 18 years in the past via work. KM was a younger govt within the automotive business then, and Alfie and Darren — founders of Mach Equipment — had approached him to suggest their vacuum-molding know-how for totally customised equipment to maintain minimal order portions (MOQs) low.
In addition to Mach, Darren and Alfie additionally helm a number of different firms, and all three of them have individually invested in a number of startups too.
Their working relationship quickly blossomed into an eventual enterprise partnership collectively, once they co-founded Energy Up Tech (P.UP), which gives Singapore’s first cellular EV charging service.
Growing a “moveable powerbank” for EVs
Issues had been getting a tad staid as this business was one of many final to be disrupted in any vital approach. So when electrical autos (EVs) and autonomous driving got here into its present accelerated part, we had been very excited [and] every stored our eyes open for alternatives.
I had simply began driving an EV and got here into contact with many house owners throughout varied nations. All of us mentioned the identical issues: the autos had been nice, however the vary and charging was actually a ache. It jogged my memory very a lot of the sensation we had once we bought our first smartphones.
– KM, co-founder of P.UP
He mulled over these ache factors for a number of weeks and at last referred to as upon each Alfie and Darren to construct “moveable energy banks”, however for EVs. The 2 of them thought that it was a superb thought, and 9 months later, the primary prototype arrived in Singapore.
“They’d used Mach’s assets to incubate and develop the concept, in addition to run the analysis and improvement. I instantly booked a flight again to Singapore and we arrange P.UP,” elaborated KM.
P.UP’s purpose is to “supercharge the EV way of life” by eradicating all tethers to each charging in addition to possession.
As an EV proprietor himself, KM understands firsthand the woes of EV charging. He finds it a pity that EV house owners solely get to make use of their car for under half the time — “the opposite half, you have to go search for charging stations, queue for them, wait on your charging to complete et cetera.”
“It is a fixed problem, particularly in case you dwell in a city-state like Singapore, the place solely 5 per cent of households are fortunate sufficient to remain in landed properties the place they’ll set up a private charger,” he mentioned.
He additionally famous that this hole between the variety of EVs and the supply of charging will all the time exist in high-density cities, the place land is extraordinarily valuable and current infrastructure limits the free deployment of chargers.
“A great instance is the deployment of sluggish chargers, small footprint, and never costly to deploy. Nevertheless, the land on which the car must be parked for at least seven hours for the automotive to be totally charged is extraordinarily costly.”
“That’s why we got here up with cellular charging — not solely to allow customers, however to minimize the burden on our authorities, by extending the protection and availability of charging to each nook of the island.”
How does it work?
In essence, P.UP supplies energy on demand just about anytime and anyplace.
On its web site, it said that their service is on the market in Singapore from Monday to Saturday, between 9am to 9pm, and reserving is required not less than a day prematurely.
“Simply contact us and we’ll go to you wherever you might be. Easy as that. The one restriction is to have your car parked in a correct parking house for security causes,” defined KM.
All our P.Uppies (their affectionate time period for his or her EV cellular charging transport) are totally electrical, together with the provider. We are available in varied styles and sizes, however the widespread one we’re utilizing in Singapore now’s our van sort.
All P.UPpies are outfitted with a few of the quickest DC chargers, with a mean charging time of 30 to 45 minutes [for up to] 80 per cent [charge].
– KM, co-founder of P.UP
Just like cellular plans supplied by telcos, P.UP additionally gives varied plans to swimsuit completely different existence and driving utilization.
For its worth packages, they cost S$0.54 per kWh — the price per kWh is much like the costs at business speedy charging stations throughout Singapore.
“With P.UP, EV house owners haven’t any trade-offs. They don’t pay a single cent extra in comparison with public business mounted chargers, [and] we’re as quick or quicker than any business mounted chargers. However the distinction is we go to you, wherever you might be, and everytime you wants us,” added KM.
They’re working with NEVC to construct a framework of requirements
When P.UP first began its pilot trial, clients had been curious and skeptical about their enterprise providing, with many questioning its security and effectiveness.
“Two months into the trials, we had been pleasantly stunned on the response. We had not carried out any advertising and word-of-mouth [about P.UP] had quickly unfold,” shared KM.
“After we lastly launched in June, the response was so good that we needed to intentionally sluggish issues down in order that our tools ramp up might sustain.”
Particularly, he recounted one heartening suggestions from a buyer, who’s an energetic Seize driver. On account of her excessive mileage, she engages P.UP’s providers on a regular basis and because of them, she is ready to save two hours on a regular basis as a result of she didn’t should search for charging factors.
Regardless of the optimistic response from customers, the startup didn’t have a simple time rolling out their service, particularly since they’re a pioneer on this house.
The principle problem stays the shortage of correct customary regulating cellular charging in Singapore, thus inflicting a sure diploma of insecurity, particularly amongst potential company clients. That is primarily as a result of comparatively small measurement of the Singapore market and the truth that P.UP is the one one in Singapore to have a full working mannequin of this service.
– KM, co-founder of P.UP
As such, P.UP proactively engaged abroad labs to certify all their chargers based mostly on Worldwide Electrotechnical Fee (IEC) requirements though it was not required.
In actual fact, it’s presently partaking with Nationwide Electrical Automobile Centre (NEVC) — arrange underneath the Land Transport Authority — to share the certifications they’ve obtained, and work with the labs in Singapore to construct a framework of cellular EV charging requirements.
As P.UP works intently with NEVC to assist put Singapore forward of the world in EV cellular charging, KM is assured that Singapore can, and must be, the “template and customary” for EV options and enterprise fashions, particularly for ultra-high density cities.
One other key enterprise problem for P.Up was COVID-19, which precipitated delays in tools improvement and manufacturing.
“Until now, we’re speeding deliveries of our P.UPpies in order that we are able to serve extra clients,” mentioned KM.
The “Uber of EV providers”
In keeping with KM, P.UP has acquired “loads of consideration” from potential companions in different Asian nations, which has fuelled their plans to broaden regionally. In keeping with this enlargement plan, the startup is making ready for Collection A funding someday subsequent 12 months in order that they’ve sufficient capital to assist the enlargement.
To date, funding has not been a problem for the startup because the three co-founders had sufficient money to assist the enterprise. Moreover, based mostly on Mach’s monitor file and their enterprise reputations, they may safe sufficient business funding for P.UP to easily broaden operations in Singapore.
“When it comes to operational margins, we’re already within the black,” revealed KM.
Nearer to residence, P.UP has additionally acquired nice curiosity from native condominiums and is presently within the midst of drawing up proposals for them to see how they’ll greatest enable condominium residents to conveniently cost their EVs.
“It doesn’t should be contained in the condominium [premises] — so long as the consumer is a [condo] resident, she or he may have entry to our EV charging providers on the particular charges which have been agreed upon.”
Whereas KM admits that this can be a “new space” for them, he’s assured that they will help alleviate EV charging issues for a lot of condominium residents. In any case, the most important draw about P.UP’s service is that it doesn’t require customers to put in something.
We imagine that EV house owners ought to have a greater way of life than inside combustion engine (ICE) drivers. They need to deal with having fun with their autos totally with out having to commit time particularly for charging and different possession chores. P.UP exists to allow that.
For P.UP, [EV] cellular charging is [only] our first step. … Our cellular P.UPpies not solely be certain that your EV has sufficient juice, however sooner or later, we can be your “butler” for all different mundane chores regular house owners must carry out for the automobiles. … We would be the ‘Uber of EV providers’ for house owners.”
– KM, co-founder of P.UP
Featured Picture Credit score: Energy Up Tech