And formed electric cars approximately 6% of all new cars sold in the United States in 2022, an increase of 3.1% from the previous year, and that number will continue to grow over the coming years. While it’s still a young industry, the ecosystem surrounding electric vehicles — from charging and installing EVs to insurance and parking products — is shaping up to be a somewhat disconnected and complex one.
So say the founders blue dot, a banking and rewards platform for electric vehicle owners aimed at enhancing the after-sales experience. Here’s how it works: Individual owners or fleet managers sign up for a Bluedot debit card, which they’ll use for all car-related purchases, but mostly for EV charging. Bluedot is currently offering customers a flat fee of $0.30 per kWh of charging with participating EV charging stations, and 20% cash back on charges with non-participating charging networks. Customers find stations and pay directly for fees with partner shipping companies on the Bluedot app, saving them the need to download multiple apps.
Bluedot users also get 5% cashback on all car spends, plus another 2% cashback on all other spends. In addition, the company provides users with rewards at nearby shopping and dining locations. So while waiting for their car to be shipped, the customer can go to their local Starbucks for coffee and get 10% cash back on that purchase, or do some shopping at Whole Foods and get another 15% cash back, for example.
The startup, which will join Y Combinator’s winter 2023 group and recently closed a $2 million pre-seed, is initially focused on charging stations, in part because it’s an industry about to explode with federal and state funding. Inflation Reduction Act, which President Joe Biden signed into law in August 2022, gives all states access to more than $1.5 billion in funding to facilitate electric vehicle charging projects. This may end up looking like a big push to install infrastructure without much coherence.
Bluedot won’t specify which charge companies it works with to offer its flat fees, but the startup said customers can start charging through the Bluedot app at about 60% of all charge stations across the US. To grow its partner network, Bluedot is targeting smaller, newer shippers that You may not have the resources to create your own payment platform and apps.
“New electric vehicle charging companies are looking for solutions like ours to increase visibility and accessibility for drivers, improve checkout processes, and improve charging station utilization,” Selenay Velez Parlak, co-founder and CEO of Bluedot, told TechCrunch. “Bluedot is integrating financial technology to help these companies make their charging stations more viable and available to drivers.”
Currently, usage in most charging station networks ranges from 5% to 8%. Bluedot aims to raise this rate above 15%. We started with small charging station companies, but our goal is to bring together all brands and fintechs for users,” Parlak continued.
Bluedot’s main customers today are individual drivers who built the startup through partnerships with car dealers and ride-share companies. Parlak says Bluedot’s next target is fleets to help them manage expenses and freight and get better deals.
“For example, one of our partners is a rental company that leases cars to a group of delivery drivers who are managed by a fleet manager,” Parlak said. “They want to offer a larger charging station ecosystem that’s easier to bill and then pay off, which we’re offering. They also want to get better deals around electricity.”
Bluedot also manually pulls data for customers about their charging habits, how much they spend, how much energy they use, top charging locations, how much CO2 emissions they’ve prevented with an EV, and so on. In the future, the company wants to automate this task to make it smarter and more scalable.
During YC, Bluedot wants to focus on growth and product development.
“Our goal is to build partnerships and make deals leading up to the show day,” Ferhat Babacan, CEO and co-founder of Bluedot, told TechCrunch. Specifically, we aim to secure partnerships in the areas of car dealership, freight network, and car-related expenses. In addition, we plan to start beta tests of the Bluedot Fleet Card.”