November 2, 2021

Our Investment in Monta: Powering the EV Ecosystem

Since investing in Monta in March, Casper, Anders, and their team have made remarkable progress, positioning Monta as a potential leader in the EV charging sector in Europe and beyond.

Martin Krag
Our Investment in Monta: Powering the EV Ecosystem

EV Adoption is at an Exponential Tipping Point

2020 was a clear inflection point for many things, including the electric vehicles industry. In Europe, EV sales grew by 142 percent year-on-year (despite total car sales declining), and the European-wide EV market share hit 10 percent. In the United States, EV sales have beaten every forecast by order of magnitude as well.

With increasing regulatory targets and automakers’ shift in production, it is clear that the EV adoption rate will be growing exponentially over the next few years. The European Union and the United States aim for an EV share of at least 50 percent by 2030. According to likely estimates, consumer adoption in Europe will exceed regulatory targets and reach 75 percent market share by 2030. Worldwide, the number of electric cars on the roads will increase five-fold over the next three to four years, totaling more than 50 million passenger EVs.

Such a rapid transformation of a massive automotive industry will put pressure on OEMs and supply chains as well as on the broader EV ecosystem, in particular concerning setting up and running the charging infrastructure and meeting consumer expectations.

Looking at a tectonic shift in one of the world’s largest industries, we face two problems: 

1) We need better charging infrastructure, and we need it fast

2) We need a better end-user experience and a tech-first approach

Problem #1: We Need Better Infrastructure, and We Need it Fast

What is already clear is that the current charging infrastructure cannot keep up with the growing EV adoption, and building charging infrastructure in sync with the EV fleet will be essential in the coming decade. One in four cars will be electric in 2030 in Europe, meaning 15,000 charge points will need to be added weekly!

While the first generation of EV drivers relied mainly on private charging, the next generation will increasingly rely on a healthy public charging network and, especially, semi-private charging network to reduce range anxiety and network congestion. 

While housing associations, workplaces, companies, landowners - and many others with enough space and incentives to put up charge points - will start to create semi-private networks it is still too complex and cumbersome for them to do. 

Beyond the installation, managing and running the charge points afterward will be a real challenge if you’re not an experienced player, knowledgeable about hardware, integrations, protocols, and software across the value chain.

Problem #2: We Need a Better User Experience and a Tech-first Approach

For EV drivers, the consequence is that the current charging experience is suboptimal. The average EV driver has a plethora of apps or RFID cards to find, charge, and pay for the charging (if they are not already locked in an inefficient subscription model or an inadequate network).

Four larger EV charging players and their user experience

One of the apparent reasons for the subpar user experience is a very fragmented EV ecosystem, with several players ranging from legacy utility providers, hardware manufacturers, old and new charge point operators, and network builders. 

Hardly any of these have the sufficient skills and knowledge to succeed with a tech-first approach with the end-user experience in mind. Even those who have the skills are not building horizontally and end up locking the user in a closed network for a suboptimal experience - mainly because managing integrations to a slew of different charge point hardware is notoriously difficult.

With the shift to EVs creating more than €91 billion of additional value in Europe over the next decade, the most likely scenario is that the space will continue to be fragmented as more and more players enter and try to win their share.

The many players in the value chain (i.e. hardware manufacturers, wholesalers, installers, site owners, and charge point operators) currently have no simple means of coordinating and cooperating to create the best experience for drivers. This sadly results in a massive loss of value for everyone involved.

Monta is Aligning Incentives Across the EV Value Chain

The solution to both problems - building charging infrastructure fast enough to meet demand and living up to user expectations - is evidently to align incentives across the fragmented EV charging value chain, making it easier for everyone to benefit. 

Monta is an end-to-end solution for the entire value chain, helping to expand the ecosystem and accelerate the rollout of charge points by aligning incentives for everyone. 

Their user-centric app allows EV drivers to charge their car anywhere, independently of underlying vendors, by providing the best access to all major public and semi-public charge networks and enabling peer-to-peer community-based networks (like Airbnb for chargers). Eventually, the user will have a full roaming experience, never having to worry about range anxiety or needing the right subscription or payment option. Just top up their Monta Wallet. The app handles everything from discovering charge points and payments to smart queuing and smart charging, letting you charge when prices are low and/or the electricity is green.

On a longer time scale, the Monta network will be an enabler for vehicle-to-grid technology and help manage network congestion during peak load periods.

Monta’s Charge Point Management System enables site owners and charge point operators to easily set up and manage commercial and community charge points with easy integrations to all the hardware providers (like Plaid for the EV industry). Acting as the software layer for the network, Monta lets customers monetize their site toward the public or by creating and running more semi-public subscription plans, managing everything from pricing, billing, and user control. 

Imagine a company who would like to set up charge points at their offices and industrial locations. With Monta, they can control who has access to the chargers during different times of the day, what the pricing scheme should be, control payments, and enable the company to pay for the employees’ charging at home. 

Or imagine a housing association who wants to secure charging for its residents. They will get access to certified installers who will help them to set up the chargers. They can then use Monta’s SaaS solution to create a subscription plan, invite and manage the users, and settle payments and billing. It will also allow the association to earn extra income by adding the charge points to the public network, monetizing them while they’re not in use by the residents. 

Further back in the value chain, the installers, wholesalers, and manufacturers gain by being able to offer a full-fledged solution of hardware, backend, and frontend to their clients (with “Monta inside”), securing even more business and adding new revenue streams.

In Sum...

Monta does not cease to amaze us, both in terms of product development and in the passion and drive seen in the team. If you're reading this and you're interested in joining their journey, then you're in luck. Monta is hiring for many roles. Check them here.

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Martin Krag

Martin is Partner at byFounders.

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