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Team OpenGrid Technologies | Urban EV Fast-Charging Made Easy

School Affiliation: Georgetown University

Description: For EV users living in urban multi-family housing where personal charging is inaccessible, OpenGrid operates a network of proprietary design chargers to provide urban EV drivers subscription-based electricity packages through innovative, fast-charging technology.


In the US, along with unprecedented government funding and incentives entering the EV industry, cheaper and better new EV models are coming out every year, and consumer interest in EV ownership is at an all-time high. By 2030, over 50% of new cars sold will be EVs. As demand for EVs increases, so does the need for charging. However, public charging operators are not incentivized to build urban fast-charging networks due to uncertainty in demand, no access to prime locations, and power availability issues. Private charging is not feasible either – less than 10% of multi-family buildings have electrical access for EV charging. As a result, 40 million urban dwellers are left behind by the scarcity of public charging infrastructures in the electrified era.


Our unique approach brings the Uber magic to urban EV charging. With a mix of dedicated and partnership charging stations, we sit in the middle of EV drivers and the urban environment. Thanks to the proprietary design of fast charging stations (lithium batteries integration) and an innovative subscription model, urban EV drivers can confidently top off their day in minutes with cost stability in place. Our dedicated locations and the no-cost partnership program with local businesses ensure us access to prime locations that serve the drivers best. Simply put, we are establishing a highly scalable urban EV charging standard of speed, cost stability, proximity, and driver experience that can’t be matched. Imagine an EV driver living in Rosslyn, VA, who has a 20-mile roundtrip to work every day; she can stop at her favorite local shop for a coffee while her car is being fast-charged in 15 minutes, providing more than enough electricity to top off her commute.


The Total Addressable Market (TAM) is a worldwide figure estimated to be $78 billion by 2030 with a 30% CAGR. The figure is calculated by using the world’s estimated number of EVs, the percentage using public charging, the charging frequency, and the average cost. The Service Addressable Market (SAM) is $12.4 billion based on parameters similar to the TAM but only represents the US market. The Service Obtainable Market (SOM), a $86.4 million market, is calculated by estimating 3,000 station deployments with 20 subscribers per station.


We target a particular customer segment – the EV owners living in urban settings. Our research shows that large public charging providers overlook these customers. By providing our customers with a convenient and fast charging experience, we offer a uniquely defined value proposition different from the incumbents. Additionally, one can see us as a complementary service to fill the gap between cities and suburban public charging.

For fast charging networks (providers of DCFC or level 3 charging) such as Tesla, EVgo, and Electrify America, it’s difficult for them to set up stations in urban areas due to power availability and construction issues; it’s also costly to get the land needed in a city environment. For slow charging networks (providers of level 2 charging) such as ChargePoint and Blink, most stations are located in gated public garages, leading to low accessibility and unnecessary difficulties, not to mention that their charging speed is slow. If you ask a driver, they will tell you they can never find a charger.

We do have competitors, which are the personal chargers EV users install. Our service is less attractive if they already have a personal charger. However, only a fraction of urban EV drivers living in apartments and condos have such chargers, and most would require public charging like ours.

Value Creation:

Social impact: 40 million Americans live in multi-family housing. According to national research, rented homes have the worst electric access for EV charging, leading to severe charging inequity in the electrification era. Therefore, the social goals we set for ourselves are twofold. First, we want to support programs like Justice40 by leveraging our built-to-scale technology and symbiotic business model to equip disadvantaged communities with EV fast-charging capability. To this end, we will measure how many stations go to those communities and how many EV users we serve. Second, we want to help accelerate the adoption of EVs and race to a greener future by quickly building out an urban network of fast chargers. So we will measure how many prospective EV drivers we convert and the EV sales in a region through surveying users and working with dealerships.

Climate impact: We calculate how much kWh we deliver to EVs and how many tons of CO2 we help eliminate by allowing people to drive more EVs. As a mid-term goal, we want to partner with companies like AES Corporation as our supplier of renewable energy to increase environmental benefits even further. Additionally, we have participated in “The Future of Energy for Mobility” collaboration event organized by Plastic Omnium, in which we were recognized for how offering electricity in smaller sizes (e.g., 10kWh) can help reduce energy waste in mobility. Our usage-optimized model has shown its potential to decrease energy consumption while meeting the commuting needs of urban dwellers.

The Team:

Nanbo Liu, Co-founder, Georgetown University, MBA’ May ’24; Theo Hebblethwaite, Co-founder, Georgetown University, MBA Dec. ’23; Mike Wen, Co-founder, Temple University, PhD; Georgetown University, MBA May ’23

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