GRAND HAVEN — A West Michigan-based startup in the early stages of raising capital wants to lower the cost of and better manage energy storage and electric vehicle charging in homes.
Founded last year by Joshua Bylsma, Grand Haven-based Tradion LLC seeks to integrate recycled batteries with home electric vehicle charging stations to better manage when electricity is pulled from the grid and distributed back to the car. The idea is to draw power from the grid during off-peak hours when rates are lower. The car could in turn draw power from the storage system if it needs to charge during peak hours.
“We’re essentially creating a microgrid, or a virtual power plant inside people’s houses,” Bylsma, the company’s CEO, told MiBiz. “For anyone who wants to have an electric vehicle, instead of just being a consumer of energy, they become a manager.”
The company plans to initially focus on the residential space before potentially scaling up to commercial and fleet-level systems.
Home battery and electric vehicle charging systems are widely available on the market, but Bylsma says Tradion is unique by offering a subscription-based service. He noted that popular home battery systems and connection costs can range from $20,000 to $60,000, which customers would own and be responsible for repairs.
“That’s not practical for the average consumer,” he said. “Our approach is to do zero cost upfront to the consumer, and the consumer has access to resources on a subscription model.”
Tradion also plans to repurpose “second life” batteries from older electric vehicles to get another five to 10 years of life out of them.
“The driving motivation is to do better with what we have — we don’t necessarily create more and more stuff,” Bylsma said. “If we use the stuff we have and do better, we can be better managers of our resources.”
Tradion is in the seed stage and is actively raising capital from investors. Bylsma said the company as of early this month had raised about $200,000. The company expects to have a product available on the market by the end of 2022 to align with major electric vehicle releases from major automakers.
However, the supply chain around securing second-life electric vehicle batteries is in its early stages across the U.S., Bylsma said. The forecasted growth of the electric vehicle market over the next three to five years will hopefully help sort out these supply chain questions, he added.
“It’s kind of the chicken and the egg thing,” Bylsma said. “We believe we need the second-life space and they need us. We need to come together.”