OmniPotential Energy Partners’ Legislative Success
Published By: The Delaware SBDC
The minds behind OmniPotential Energy Partners have made strides to address a common challenge among would-be electric vehicle or “EV” owners. EV ownership is functionally limited to those who can conveniently “fuel” one – while “Fast” charging remains inconvenient, inaccessible, and time-consuming, the more convenient way to be sure your EV is ready to roll is residential charging. Americans with shared (on street or lot) parking at home outnumber those with private parking about 2 to 1 – this parking option prevents them from installing private charging facilities, so even as electric vehicle pricing is becoming more manageable, the majority of Americans cannot utilize at-home charging options. Unsurprisingly, this problem affects communities with lower home values more frequently making EV charging and ownership an energy justice matter.
OmniPotential has developed an EV charging fee-for-use service platform, Curbstar, engineered to be installed curbside in virtually any residential community. Curbstar has its own electricity feed directly from the utility, so any EV owner can pull up, use the app to quickly identify their active account, and enjoy convenient on-your-street EV charging in communities with shared or private parking. Curbstar has two plugs and can service an entire block of EV owners. Best of all, their innovative and relentless focus on manufacturing cost reduction allows them to install Curbstar at their expense. So consumers never pay hardware or installation fees. Their modular fabrication method is patent-pending and allows them to deploy a multiplicity of future fee-for-use services from the same curbside device after initial deployment (such as wide-area broadband internet, or air compression). Any consumer can use the product at the same affordable monthly rate, erasing the charging barrier for lower home value communities.
Their competitors are pursuing two market segments representing about 1/3 of potential consumers: 1) Hardware sales to families with private parking & 2) Commercial location-based fee-for-use public charging. While there are numerous companies in both spaces, OmniPotential Energy intends to be the first business focused entirely on curbside, residential fee-for-use EV charging.
To build their business they plan to identify existing, or would-be EV owners, without the ability to charge at home and provide Curbside, Residential EV charging service to them with a Curbstar unit. Once Curbstar is placed, their expectation is that non-EV owners in the vicinity will be induced to purchase an EV based on the conveniently available charging on their street. These consumers will become defacto customers of the already placed Curbstar unit. If the unit grows too popular to handle the charging needs of the community, they will solicit users of that busy device for a recommendation on a new placement in the nearby area. They refer to this approach as a “viral charging oasis”. They believe that EV adoption in these communities will be well in advance of the national average.
The primary barrier to their innovative EV charging solution is a widespread lack of municipal permitting processes/policies for curbside, residential electric vehicle chargers. City leaders have been hesitant, or even fearful, that communities could be negatively impacted by parking restrictions at curbside residential EV chargers, utility theft from unprotected chargers, and more.
In response, OmniPotential Energy Partners drafted legislation and worked with their elected officials to introduce SB1-87, requiring large municipalities in Delaware to design and make available a permit for curbside electric vehicle chargers. SB-187 passed in the house in 2021 and is expected to easily pass through the House within months for enforcement on 1/1/2023. More importantly, they have delivered the message “Curbside electric vehicle charging MUST happen.” Even prior to passage, the mere existence of SB-187 has provoked municipalities to begin hiring consultants to develop curbside electric vehicle charging permits.
Developing two working prototype Curbstar products, Omnipotential Energy’s team is are hard at work completing the design of their third, production-ready Curbstar. They have nearly locked in their supply chain and have added the owner of an established Wilmington fabrication company to serve as a co-founder. They are preparing to build their first pilot group Curbstar units for deployment.
“We have received substantive mentorship from SBDC business leaders and constant encouragement. The reliable availability of an EDGE grant ‘just around the corner’ has been the fuel to our fire encouraging us to continue to advance our tech and advocacy work to build an even better solution. We believe 2022 is the year that we are ready to answer that calling.” – Cora Castle (CEO & Founder)
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