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Charging Your EV While Off The Grid? This Russian Startup Has a Solution
Dmitry Lashin has been involved in building greenhouses in Russia for decades. In 1991 his father and uncle founded the FITO company, which specializes in the automation of processes in greenhouses. They quickly became service providers for over 40% of the Greenhouse industry in Russia.
Dmitry joined the company in 2001 after receiving his PhD in IT and automation. After 12 years, FITO decided to not only produce equipment for Greenhouses, but to also build their own Greenhouses, for vegetable growth. In just 7 years, their business has grown from their first 4.3ha greenhouse into one of the largest greenhouse holdings in the world.
In the same time, Lashin had built energy facilities with power in excess of 500 MW, which is enough to power double the illumination of a 6-lane highway from Lisbon to Moscow. In 2020, FITO completed a $500 million deal to merge their greenhouse holding with ROST Group.
Using this expertise, Lashin and his team are now working to develop tech solutions to revolutionize how people charge their electric vehicles (EV). His startup L-Charge seeks to develop a scalable network of superfast EV chargers.
Bridging the gap
L-Charge is working to develop technology solutions that will allow owners of electric vehicles to charge their cars outside of the electric grid. This way, the startup is developing a product that is bridging the gap between the gas-powered fueling infrastructure and still the underdeveloped EV infrastructure.
Despite an acceleration in the shift from cars powered by the internal combustion engine (ICE) to electric vehicles in recent years, the EV infrastructure is still pretty underdeveloped. Major traditional carmakers, namely GM, Volkswagen, BMW, Toyota, and others, have joined the EV pioneer Tesla in planning for the future without ICE cars.
In this context, L-Charge emits 7.05 kg of CO2 per 100 km of charge, which is 68% less than Diesel vehicles. This is one of the main reasons why Lashin decided to channel his energy, knowledge and experience in making transport and mobility more environmentally-friendly.
“The infrastructure that we are building with LNG-powered EV chargers could be easily transformed into hybrid use or hydrogen-powered. That is, our EV chargers can run not only on Liquified Natural Gas but also on hydrogen. Technically, this is already possible,” Lashin said.
Major global energy companies, such as Total, Shell, Gazprom, BP, and ExxonMobil, have already presented strategies to decrease their dependence on oil and instead focus on the development of renewable energy solutions.
The fact that there are not enough charging stations across the globe, even in the most developed countries such as the United States, means that EV owners are limited with their travel options.
If you aim to visit a country or a popular travel destination that is in a remote area, and not connected to the electric grid, the fact that you own an EV becomes an issue, rather than a benefit.
This is where L-Charge and its next-gen products come in. The Russian startup aims to solve this problem with a superfast off-grid EV-charger, providing 100% mobility in charging infrastructure. This means people can install the charger anywhere they like, not only where electricity is available.
Users will be able to find the nearest charging station as well as have an option to reserve a time and place for changing that is convenient for them. Once they arrive at the station, all they need to do is connect the charging cable and wait for their car to be charged sufficiently.
A startup plans to provide two different types of charging stations: “stationary charger” and the “mobile charger”. The former is designed for highways, gas stations, and parking lots, which also makes it a tool for generating new revenue streams for businesses located outside the power grid. On the other hand, the latter is a game-changer as it offers fast, easy, and safe charging for your EV.
The stationary charger, which charges batteries in 10 minutes for 24-50 kWh or for 120-250 km of mileage, requires no external electric grid connection. On the other hand, the mobile charger - a liquefied natural gas charger with a minivan base - can be charged in 10 minutes by 25kW or for 120 km of mileage.
Given strong demand for solutions developed by L-charge, the startup is working around the clock to launch its products in the coming months in Moscow, while it aims to target a much wider geographical area with super-fast chargers available for ordering around the world.
Looking forward, L-Charge aims to continue working on the optimization of their chargers to fit all types of electric cars, as well as increase the charge capacity to allow commercial and cargo vehicles to be charged at the same rate as light electric cars.
In this sector, they will be facing strong competition from ChargePoint, PlugShare, Shell recharge, Electrify America, and other major players.
This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or the management of EconoTimes