Electrical Vehicle(EV) charging stations had huge shortcomings when it comes to scalability, usability and utilization of charging assets. Freewire creates cloud connected battery systems to provide OnDemand charging to anywhere, anytime. Tapping into $3B+ new market of EV charging, Freewire engaged Simform to help them reach a product-market fit and scale under high uncertainties.
“Our software is the face of our business when it comes to drivers, so it's critical that it both look and perform to the high standards we expect. Simform has been and continues to be a fantastic partner that saves us from having to build out a full in-house software development team.”
The software plays an important role in this project and is the face of business to end-users.
Presence of both “soft” and “hard” real time systems required a lot of attention to fit in properly.
To provide large scale electric vehicle charging, the app required to perform.
App needed to communicate with Eurotech’s Hardware endpoint API.
We started by understanding how both users and Mobi charging attendants would interact with this app. By iterations we made sure that location marked by an app’s user was easily visible to an attendant.
The product is yet to reach a product-market-fit, and would require many iterations throughout the way. We built iOS and Android apps on MVP and MVVM patterns, respectively. This increases code reusability and compatibility for future UI changes, rendering Freewire highly adaptive to changes.
Holding onto objects in Android usually results in memory leaks. We defined and implemented lifecycle callbacks to release reference objects at appropriate times.
Our research revealed that just limiting a user to mark EV charging location in parking lot creates friction in customer servicing. We then decided to add a chat functionality, that allowed app user to directly speak with attendants.
The app required precise location marking in order to allow an attendant to locate it perfectly. To implement this we utilized Google Maps API, highly optimized to even differentiate between two locations marked in a close proximity.
The app puts charging requests in a queue, which allows the attendants to better plan and optimize the vehicle queue
Freewire’s app allows users to directly tap a button and start charging their EVs from the mobile.
A user gets notified when an attendant starts or stops charging their electric vehicle. Further, they can view the charging status, percentage completion and cost of the charging sessions as well.
The app architecture was connected to the Hardware APIs to ensure that basic operations like start/stop charging, charging status and costs can be carried out using mobile app.
Freewire was a phenomenal success, their solution was successfully beta tested at Linkedin HQ. Backed by Mentors like Steve Blank, they were successfully able to raise $850,000, valued at $7 Million. Not only that, they later partnered with Siemens to provide large scale EV charging.