Bluedot’s Debit Card for EV Owners Offers Cheaper Charges, Cashback • TechCrunch
Electric vehicles take up nearly 6% of all new cars sold in the US in 2022, up from 3.1% the year before, and that number will continue to grow in the coming years. While it’s still a nascent industry, the ecosystem around electric vehicles — from electric vehicle charging and installation to insurance and parking products — is shaping up to be an unconnected and steamy ecosystem. complicated.
So say the founders of Bluedot, a banking and rewards platform for EV owners that enhances the after-sales experience. Here’s how it works: Individual owners or fleet managers sign up for a Bluedot debit card, which they use for all car-related purchases, but mostly for EV charging. Bluedot is currently offering customers a flat fee of $0.30 per kilowatt-hour of charge with participating EV charging stations and 20% cash back on charges with non-participating charging networks. Customers find stations and pay their fees directly with partner companies that charge on Bluedot’s apps, eliminating the need to download multiple apps.
Bluedot users also get 5% cash back on all auto expenses, plus another 2% cash back on all other expenses. In addition, the company offers users rewards at nearby shopping and dining locations. So while waiting for the car to charge up, customers can walk to their local Starbucks for a coffee and get 10% cash back on that purchase, or shop at Whole Foods and get 15% more cash back. term.
The startup, which will join Y Combinator’s winter 2023 cohort and recently closed a $2 million seed round, is initially focusing on charging stations, in part because it is The industry is 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. That can end up looking like a big hit to installing infrastructure without much coherence.
Bluedot didn’t say which charging companies it partnered with to offer the flat rate, but the startup says customers can start charging through the Bluedot app at around 60% of all charging stations across the country. USA. To grow its partner network, Bluedot is targeting smaller and newer charging companies that may not have the resources to create their own apps and payment platforms.
Selinay Filiz Parlak, co-founder and CEO of Bluedot, told TechCrunch: “New EV charging companies are looking for solutions like ours to increase visibility and accessibility for riders. vehicle, optimize the payment process and improve the utilization rate of charging stations. “Bluedot is working on integrating financial technology to help these companies make their charging stations more viable and accessible to motorists.”
“Currently, usage in most charging station networks ranges from 5% to 8%. Bluedot aims to raise this ratio above 15%. We started with small charging station companies, but our goal is to bring all the brands along with fintech to the users,” continued Parlak.
Bluedot’s main customers today are individual drivers who have founded startups through partnerships with car dealerships and ride-sharing companies. Parlak says Bluedot’s next goal is fleets to help them manage costs and the billing process and get better deals.
“For example, one of our partners is a car rental company for multiple delivery drivers managed by a fleet manager,” says Parlak. “They wanted to provide a larger, easier to bill and then reimburse charging station ecosystem, which we offer. And they also want better deals on electrification.”
Bluedot is also manually collecting data for customers on their charging habits, how much they spend, how much power they use, their top charging locations, the carbon dioxide emissions they’ve prevented. blocking using electric vehicles, etc. In the future, the company wants to automate that task to make it smarter and more scalable.
In YC, Bluedot wants to focus on product growth and development.
“Our goal is to establish partnerships and execute deals before the rollout date,” Ferhat Babacan, CEO and co-founder of Bluedot, told TechCrunch. “Specifically, we look forward to securing partnerships in the areas of auto dealerships, charging networks and auto-related expenses. Additionally, we plan to begin pilot testing for the Bluedot Fleet Card.”