Project image
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CHF 1,959
pledged of 50 000 CHF pledged of 50 000 CHF goal
33
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Mon, February 8 2016 10:59 PM UTC +00:00
Last updated February 8, 2016

WeCharge - charging at every corner

We want more electric vehicles! But where to charge them? Share your access to the energy grid and earn money.

WeCharge - charging at every corner

We want more electric vehicles! But where to charge them? Share your access to the energy grid and earn money.

CHF 1,959
pledged of 50 000 CHF pledged of 50 000 CHF goal
33
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Mon, February 8 2016 10:59 PM UTC +00:00
Last updated February 8, 2016

About

Electric cars are awesome: cheap to run and fun to drive. Until you need to 'fill-up'

Exchange Electricity for Money - easy in theory
Exchange Electricity for Money - easy in theory

Theoretically, to charge your car all you need is access to the electricity. In reality, you have to pay and this means measuring consumption. This is where WeCharge, a smart internet enabled power socket comes in. It lets people share energy. 

Plug it in, scan the socket’s QR code with your smartphone and charging starts. Scanning identifies the socket and turns on the juice! 

The tricky part of this crowd-based network idea is the payment. 

Automate the boring bits
Automate the boring bits


 

With integrated micropayment, charging is a breeze. Instead of paying each provider separately, WeCharge takes care of the whole process. Charging time and effort for both the vehicle owner and socket provider is minimized. Even the smallest transactions can be processed without extra cost. Using WeCharge is as simple as downloading an App and creating your account.

In other words: "WeCharge is a peer to peer energy sharing and payment tool!" Yeah... a lot of buzzwords, and we haven't even added "cloud", "IoT" and "smart". But that is what it is.

If you ever need to find a socket - your phone will help out
If you ever need to find a socket - your phone will help out

The WeCharge App not only can display the sockets near your position, but also their availability. If you want to grab a coffee whilst charging, the app helps locate a place that serves up finest Arabica beans and provides electricity. 

If you want to become an energy provider, all you have to do is buy a WeCharge socket. Once it's installed and connected to your power supply, you can use the app to set-up the internet connection. 

Key benefits for socket owners:

  • You can earn money with your energy
  • People who need energy can find your socket through the App
  • You still use your socket for free. WeCharge prevents others from stealing your power. They can only buy it.

If you own a shop, the benefits are even greater. Providing your customers electricity for their vehicles sets you apart from the competition. Large companies like IKEA already do it for free. For small businesses, WeCharge is the only solution. 

What's more you can set up special deals and offers. Customers drink a coffee and get their charging fee reduced. Eat a meal and perhaps they get their charge completely free.

It is the perfect tool to attract people, provide incentives and generate some income for yourself, while helping other people out with some "electrons".

To charge an electric vehicle, you need two things: power and time. A gasoline car takes minutes to fill up. Electric ones require up-to ten hours for much less range. Even a scooter needs two to four hours for a full charge. 

Electric vehicles require a change in mind-set: where we once refuelled as a one-off task now we need to integrate it into our daily lives.

Nearly everybody has enough time to charge a car or scooter several times over during the day
Nearly everybody has enough time to charge a car or scooter several times over during the day

What is missing is the opportunity to do it. Popping into a store to buy something? Charge your vehicle. Stopping at a restaurant to grab a bite? Charge your vehicle. Electric power is already available at those places, it just needs to be accessible: this is where WeCharge comes in. 

Unless you're a taxi driver, your car stands still most of the day
Unless you're a taxi driver, your car stands still most of the day

Our focus is on building the charging infrastructure. Apart from the hardware, this also means a lot of digital service infrastructure. Transactions need tracking and recording, used power needs measuring, customers need guiding to the nearest free socket. Thanks to our know-how in mobile payment and software design, we can offer a streamlined user experience. 

All communications are encrypted via the server; no personal information is transmitted to Sockets or third parties.

We do take "every corner" literally
We do take "every corner" literally

Our unique sockets are the key. The first version will be available for 110V and 220V grids, with the socket standard depending on the country. 

The WeCharge Socket includes:

  • wireless connection to the internet via Wi-Fi
  • OTA capabilities
  • fully encrypted communication
  • integrated power metering for invoicing
  • wirelessly activated switch

With the constantly decreasing cost of IOT (internet of things) electronics, we can offer the socket for a price low enough to build a high density-charging grid. The dream of electric mobility becomes reality.

For the grid to work for cars, we have to think big - this is the next step. Whilst a household socket can charge a scooter, it takes quite a while to charge a car. 

A car compatible version needs an upsized power switch, metering unit and housing. The communications-hardware and server infrastructure stay the same. This flexibility allows us to cover any standard the automotive industry might throw at us in the future.

The beauty of our approach is the ease with which it can be scaled. If you offer expensive, centrally run public charging sockets you can only build so many until budgets run out. Only energy providers or governments can afford this. Our WeCharge socket costs a fraction of this price, so  everybody can share access and profits. 

Looking at current concepts all have one thing in common: they are centrally controlled and funded. Car manufacturers like Tesla create a network of free speedchargers for their car models whilst energy providers thinly scatter charging stations over cities. 

Charging stations nowadays

  • 1. Hard to install, expensive
  • 2. Network not dense enough
  • 3. Only energy companies or government profit

WeCharge

1. Easy to install, cheap

2. Could be ubiquitous

3. Whoever provides WeCharge sockets profits

More grid for less money - the smart solution

These ideas work for our current low number of electric vehicles. But imagine the number of electric vehicles reaches that of our current gasoline cars. Free charging for a few premium cars might be sustainable, the economics don't add up for a hundred times more low-cost vehicles.

The number of charging opportunities necessary to supply a whole city of electric vehicles is inconceivable. Go through a city; count the parked cars and scooters. If one (or several) companies were tasked with building a network of charging outlets, how much would it cost? You can guess who is going to pay these costs in the end - you. Or if you're unlucky enough to live in a place where only one provider is prevalent, you can forget getting a fair price. 

Our team consists of people with diverse background: from bicycles, electric drivetrains, mechanical watches to large-scale software systems in e-commerce and via mobile payment and the IoT world. We are fascinated by innovation and by the transition from carbon fuels to an electric future. 

Electric mobility is a change you will fall in love with once you've experienced the beautiful silence, the exhilarating torque and the warm, slightly smug green feeling.

In short - we are infected!

The desire to lead this transformation made us think. Why hasn't it happened? As with all solutions it is necessary to understand the problems first.

Conventional wisdom says we need stronger batteries and faster charging to make electric mobility reality. But our experience shows that we already have enough range, enough time to charge and energy all around us… BUT accessing the grid is the real challenge.

Sometimes it's just about the right time to put things together. 

Building infrastructure has always been daunting. Be it the railroads or Trans-Atlantic Internet cables. Today's challenge is energy distribution. Only with a dense charging grid will electrified transportation become reality. 

It would be naive to believe that we can just run a Kickstarter campaign, collect some cash and make WeCharge happen. It isn't a project to pitch a bunch of investors for a fast return and clean exit. But in the long run electric charging will become a billion-dollar market.

Making infrastructure used to be just for large corporations or governments. But in today's disruptive, sharing economy with upstarts like UBER and AirBnB, why not also apply this philosophy to (re-)building our charging grid?

We want to make this thing as collaborative and democratic as possible right from the start. You can help us build the grid, as you will use it.

Our team is truly global. This gives us fundamental advantage in achieving the best solutions. We are at home in Switzerland, Taiwan, Germany and Hong Kong. Making stuff and solving problems is our daily bread.

Yu-Lin, Andi, Markus, Billy, CC Lee, Jack, Tzuyu, Tony
Yu-Lin, Andi, Markus, Billy, CC Lee, Jack, Tzuyu, Tony

Yu-Lin Chen: Considering his night-working superpowers one might think Yulin is a software nerd. Nope… he's an ambitious, young industrial designer. Graduating from Royal College of Art, he snatched the highly coveted Helen Hamlyn Design Awards with “WeCharge” before starting his career. (Website

Andreas Felsl: CEO of B-Labs AG, eternal visionary, hard-core innovator and IP expert. Co-Founder of SiteOS software, Bionicon bicycles, the BrandCloud, HORAGE watches and a lot more. Connecting dots where others do not see any. (LinkedIn | Facebook)

Markus Lindstedt: Is not Swiss but you could call him the Swiss army knife of engineering. Ask him something, often he knows a solution, if not he will find one pretty soon. His creative day usually starts with a dog walk, a poppy seed pastry and a decent brew.

Billy Yan: Our lead software engineer with many years of experience in large-scale application development across borders and cultures. Likes to walk the Appalachian trail and once in a while you'll find him knee deep in the Japanese powder snow. (Facebook)

CC Lee: App development – runner, road cyclist and Chinese dumpling maker

Jianhua Wang: Software engineer - Diving deep into the code …

Jack Hsu: Former Vice President of engineering at Foxconn and our window to large-scale manufacturing, the critical voice when things do not move fast enough.

Tzuyu Huang: Our beloved boss - manufacturing and supply chain expert – chief strategist and star chef

Clemens Maucksch: The moviemaker and animation guru – Ski and cycling nerd (Website)

Sébastien Lienhard: Creative supporter in all situations when it comes to industrial design (Website)

Tony Wu: Founder of Enertron Technology - electrical engineer with decades of experience in firmware and hardware development (Website)

Like every big project the outcome and timing of WeCharge is unpredictable. But every business starts small and this is why we turn to Kickstarter to get the buzz going and add some cash during this critical phase. 

We decided to split our reward system into two stages 50.000,- CHF is the first goal and to achieve this we're offering some pretty nice t-shirts. If we fuck it up you helped to try and save the world and at least you've got a stylish shirt.

The money we can raise in this first stage we will use to build more prototypes as well as the software landscape itself.

F**k Oil | Switch to the better world | Join the transportation revolution
F**k Oil | Switch to the better world | Join the transportation revolution

At 150.000 CHF we reach our first stretch goal, as this is enough money to start opening tooling and get the basic hardware done for our smart socket. When we reach this level we will add a reward, which includes the smart WeCharge socket. Backers can then upgrade to the socket and the shirt. 

Backers will also get some stickers so you can mark the places around you where you think a socket might fit well. Perhaps the owners of these places start to think about joining our transportation revolution. Of course only after asking the owner of said place for permission. I mean we would never ask people to vandalize other peoples property, obviously ;-)

"Stick" it to the man (with this WeCharge Sticker)!
"Stick" it to the man (with this WeCharge Sticker)!

Risks and challenges

We are experienced enough in big projects to know there are no fortune-tellers. We don't know how many people will want to contribute and help us change the world. There's nothing worse than asking people to invest into a piece of hardware, which fails due to lack of resources or poor calculations.

We will start this project no matter if we fail on this campaign, reaching 50k, 150k or a million…. it is just a matter of time and every cent raised helps.

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Support

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    “Ideas are a dime a dozen. People who implement them are priceless.”... Thanks

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    1 x t-shirt (any style)

    In case we do not reach our stretch goal at 150k to release an additional reward upgrade including a socket, you can happily wear this nice t-shirt... helped to make the world a better place... and wait until we made it....

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    For organisations that want to operate in a better world!

    Helping to make the world a better place is usually not a matter of getting things cheaper... but as we are humans and as we save some shipping fees and packing time, we do it in this case;-)

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Funding period

- (49 days)