Electric cars are gaining ground due to economic and environmental developments. However, our electricity grids are not designed for these developments. Because the electrification of transport increases peak demand and causes additional costs, inefficiencies and environmental pollution in the electricity grids. In addition, electricity grids have difficulties integrating renewable energies due to interruptions and a lack of disposition control, which leads to fluctuations in the grid. Our startup of the week, Bia, has addressed these issues and developed machine learning solutions for them. Today we talk to Anne-Lise Laurain, Head of Product Strategy at Bia, to learn more about the startup and his idea.
Hello Anne-Lise! Thank you for taking the time for us today. We’ll start with the first question right away. What are you doing at Bia?
At Bia, we develop software solutions to transform electric vehicles and distributed storage into core components of clean and resilient power grids. We control the charging process of electric vehicles so that the entire flexible capacity is available for grid operation, while fleets and individual EV owners have constant availability, cheaper charging and healthier batteries.
That sounds very exciting! How does the whole thing work in detail?
Our software platform provides tools for optimized interoperability between e-mobility and utilities. It reduces power costs and minimizes battery degradation for EVs by optimizing the charging process while maintaining the customer experience. In addition, our software is able to remotely control charging and forecasting flexibility. This provides network operators with new tools to manage peak loads from EVs and facilitate intermittent renewable energy integration.
Our first service offering, Analytics for Insights, includes data analysis to identify the flexibility value, a simulation model with optimization scenarios, and a proposal for implementation. When we implement an optimized EV charge, our customers save money, conserve battery power and have the opportunity to participate in grid services.
We also have optimisation software called Opti. It includes customizable options such as incentive regulation for high power generation times. Finally, the consolidation and optimisation of these storage facilities becomes a valuable network service, enabling new revenue from peak loads, demand sponsoring and additional services, and providing valuable data sets and insights for network operators.
At the moment many people are working on the optimization of store networks, what distinguishes you from their ideas?
Our platform is based on an asset-agnostic cloud architecture that can be used for a wide range of distributed storage resources and is designed for large-scale deployment. Our machine learning algorithms analyze and predict EV behavior. Then our optimization and aggregation models find the highest value in flexibility, renewable consumption and participation in carrier markets.
Unlike most of our competitors, we do not focus on hardware development, but on the development of scalable and hardware-independent software.
In addition, we strategically include the untapped market of light EV fleets, which only very few companies consider. “Analytics for Insights” provides data analysis services that simulate optimization opportunities for customers before they decide to implement our software.
Our pilot projects in the emerging energy markets offer the opportunity to validate a wide range of applications, from charge optimization to V2G capabilities, while we establish Bia as a global platform with positive impacts on rural communities and mini-networks to centralized systems in the most advanced environments.
We are a “world positive” company with the conviction that Zero Carbon Grids are not only possible, but that they are robust, reliable and accessible to all.
How do you integrate your cloud solution including the various services into one business model?
We have various opportunities to generate sales. First, Bia generates revenue through data and simulation services with consulting contracts under Analytics for Insights. This is calculated at a fixed project price, which varies depending on the size and quality of the data set and the volume of the fleet or loading infrastructure capacity.
First, we generate revenue from a monthly fee with Opti implementations as EV operators and charging point owners benefit from lower electricity bills, optimized battery life and participation in grid services.
As an aggregator, we will generate revenue from participation in demand management, load shifting and the provision of ancillary services.
For utilities, we can offer flexibility forecasts, visibility behind the meter and data services for real-time and future planning requirements for a flat annual fee.
In which markets are you represented?
We are focusing on Europe and the US as we see the potential in opening the markets for EV growth and demand response. Based on expected EV growth in the US and Europe and Cenex research from network services, the combined market size in Europe and the US will be at least $50 billion by 2030.
We also see significant opportunities in emerging markets, as the growth of light EVs and renewable energy will exponentially increase over the next few years. Overall, we see a global market opportunity of $100 billion.
Where do you stand at the moment with the development of Bia? Is your cloud platform already usable?
7 months ago we officially founded ourselves and are a member of the Telefonica Accelerator Program. We are also involved in several other pilot projects and programs. For example, we have a LEV2MG (Light-EV 2 Minigrid) pilot project in Bangladesh in cooperation with SOLShare, which owns and operates 18 micro-networks throughout the country. We see great potential in emerging markets to validate our technology, train our AI and test commercial strategies. We are also working on a new pilot in Uganda to monitor and optimize the battery change stations for electric motorcycles.
Our current focus is on using our MVP in the commercial environment and integrating our customer pipeline through Analytics for Insights, which provides data and optimization services.
We are now in a seed financing round and are looking for angel investors, public funds and grants to generate our first revenues.