Volteras aims to be the connective tissue between electric vehicles and everything they might touch — from chargers and home batteries to energy retailers and mapping apps.
While flying under the radar for three years, the London-based startup tells TechCrunch that it has raised about $2.9 million and hooked up with some big partners. They include Mercedes, BMW, Volvo and solar energy company Enphase.
“It’s really difficult to get data from electric vehicles and the surrounding ecosystem,” Volteras founder and CEO Peter Wilson said in a call with TechCrunch. The executive added, “Some [businesses] have access to EV data, but they don’t have access to chargers and energy storage. Others have access to charging data, but they don’t have access to EV data.”
Volteras aims to bring it all together in a way that’s similar to Plaid‘s work with banks. Volteras charges OEMs and energy retailers for API access, yet the startup promises not to harvest or hawk data for third parties.
“That was the business model before us,” explained Wilson. “There are a billion other companies that were all built around 2016. [They] were marketplaces and they bought and sold data from cars.” The CEO added, “Recently, they’re just getting absolutely pummeled, because everyone is switching to the more privacy-focused platform approach.”
Regulators, such as California’s Privacy Protection Agency, are showing interest lately in how automakers handle data. That’s for good reason. Modern cars are stuffed with cameras and sensors, which track drivers’ behaviors and location, among other sensitive data.
Volteras wants to provide more than just insights. Wilson said the startup’s API enables energy retailers to do things like load balancing — such as deciding when to charge EVs — if customers opt in.
This is the kind of stuff Tesla’s building for its own ecosystem — linking together cars, powerwalls and solar arrays via one app. But Tesla has its limits. The automaker’s electricity plan, for example, is currently only available in Texas.
Not to be confused with charging firm Voltera, Volteras closed $2.9 million in seed funding almost a year ago. The startup’s investors include Exor (a major stakeholder in Ferrari and Stellantis — convenient!), early-stage VC Long Journey Ventures and Crunchie awardee Scott Banister.
Volteras’ seed round valued it at around $12 million, Wilson said.