Clearing the road ahead for the charging point market
It has been estimated the UK will need to increase its number of electric vehicle (EV) charging points tenfold by 2030 to meet decarbonisation objectives. Vahanomy aims to help operators reach that target through data and risk analysis.
However, as CEO Arun Gopinath explained, he and his co-founders established the business in 2019 with the long-term goal of decarbonising transport through mobility as a service. He said: “Initially, our aim was to set up a charging point operator. However, as we explored the potential locations for electric vehicle charging points, we realised it was difficult to find data that would help you analyse the suitability, viability and risks of these locations.”
As a result, Arun and his colleagues switched focus in late 2020, becoming a data company that would provide analytics for potential locations for EV charging stations.
He said: “We now have two products. One is a tool that analyses the suitability, viability and risk of potential EV charging points. It is being developed after we carried out more than two years of research with stakeholders to understand the analysis needed about locations. The AI-driven tool uses 110 parameters to provide essential insights for charging point and mobility hub operators, as well as investors.
“We also operate an e-marketplace for the EV charging infrastructure ecosystem. CHRGR.io is a platform for matching property owners with charging point operators and infrastructure investors, and further matching them with service providers and product vendors in the same geography.”
Vahanomy is part of Cohort 6 of the AI Accelerator, delivered by the DDI Innovation Hub for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence, the Bayes Centre, and supported by Edinburgh Innovations, the University of Edinburgh’s commercialisation service. It is delivered in contribution to the Data-Driven Entrepreneurship programme. “This has been a great opportunity,” Arun said. “We’ve been able to access university resources and create working partnerships with academics. Being part of the AI Accelerator has helped us build networks and make connections in the private and public sectors besides academia.”
“We retain access to the Bayes Centre and work with different departments within the University, such as Informatics, University of Edinburgh Business School, Edinburgh Earth Institute and EDINA, the centre for data and digital expertise.”
Those advantages have strengthened Vahanomy as it enters a fast-developing market. Arun added: “Although we’ve just launched, we’ve generated positive interest and are speaking with many companies. There’s been encouraging progress and we hope to make announcements soon.
“However, analytics for EV charging infrastructure is just one part of our journey and we see ourselves as a company that will help to decarbonise transport through the use of data. We believe it can be used for mobility services deploying autonomous vehicles, and our analysis tool has potential for application in future fuels such as hydrogen as well as democratising access to location data analysis for small businesses.”
Vahanomy is one of many projects helped by six new data-driven innovation hubs at the University of Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt University, as part of the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal.
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