NEXT ICON: CHARGEHYVE®
To embrace e-mobility, introducing electric vehicles alone is not enough. The infrastructure must also change with it. After all, electric driving will only become an appealing alternative if there are enough charging points available - for any vehicle. With the ChargeHyve, RecycleWell is committed to optimizing that infrastructure for e-bikes. Their first product, ChargeHyve, allows people to store and charge their e-bike battery in a firesafe and theft-proof system. CEO Jorg Wellink talks about his innovation.
This story was first published in the Next Icons Magazine. You can read the entire magazine here.
First of all, why do we need the ChargeHyve? Is charging your battery in a regular outlet not adequate?
Jorg: "Indeed, you see that happening a lot now. And what you also often see is that batteries catch fire when using regular outlets. So, of course, you don't want to charge it next to your laptop on your desk. Or even more distressing: that your battery catches fire next to 10 other batteries that are connected by three extension boxes. And such situations really do occur. That's why we designed a smart locker where you can safely charge your battery. You can compare it to phone charging lockers, but they’re firesafe. There are several chargers in each of the lockers so there is always a charging box with your plug type. And because of the fire lockers, any fire is confined to the individual locker and does not spread to the other batteries or the rest of the building. If one battery ignites in a locker, the damage is limited, although this often results in evacuation of the entire company. But that is another story. We prevent that."
I'm sure the fire department is going to be happy about that. Besides being firesafe, what impact do you want to achieve with the ChargeHyve?
Jorg: "The impact we really want to make is encouraging people to take the bicycle to work. For example, we have statistics that show people's car use decreases from the moment someone purchases an e-bike. And all those daily drives to work really save in emissions. But charging your e-bike battery at work is now often a nightmare: the places where it can be done are limited and usually not theft-proof. Because we offer a user-friendly charging system for businesses, it encourages people to cycle to work. This means we are contributing to the transition to electric transportation."
What role does innovation play in this context, in your opinion?
Jorg: "To innovate is to differentiate. To me, that doesn't mean that innovation is always a eureka moment, because you don't always have to develop something new to arrive at something new. In our case, innovation is based on combining existing techniques. How do you make things come together so it is more than the sum of its parts? That is exactly what we are doing with the ChargeHyve. No one has been crazy enough to build a firesafe locker for e-bike batteries. It is about solving a problem. Innovation creates new value; without innovation, you can't make a difference."
You make enough of a difference to earn the title Next Icon. What have you done in the past year to get here? And what else lies ahead?
Jorg: "Last year after Next Icons, I said: 'Next year, I will be on that stage again.' We then started the Advanced program, which gave us a big boost. Before, I was somewhat skeptical of Incubase. But the community feel and that cross-pollination between entrepreneurs is magical. A highlight of last year is that we secured a substantial investment that allows us to demonstrate a problem-solution fit. This is based on pilots at large companies such as Demcon and Gasunie. In addition, we were able to grow our team. We now have a team of nine people from many different backgrounds, from Mexico to Malaysia. That diversity is our strength and is going to help us cross borders. In Europe - and perhaps even worldwide - we certainly want to be able to offer several products that support the transition to sustainable mobility. So ten years from now, I see us as a leader in this field. If we can even slightly accelerate the transition with our products, that would be a huge impact for me."
"“Innovation creates new value, so without innovation you cannot make a difference.""
Jorg WellinkCEO RecycleWell
In 2018, Jorg Wellink saw that the rapid transition to electric mobility and renewable energy was not accompanied by a sustainable charging infrastructure. So in 2019, he founded their company with a mission to meet this challenge. In 2022, they proudly launched their innovative solution, the ChargeHyve®.