Plugs, accounts, tariffs: Peaq wants to eliminate chaos at charging stations

Plugs, accounts, tariffs
Peaq wants to clean up chaos at charging stations

The spread of electromobility is also linked to trench warfare over charging stations. Peaq is working on the solution with blockchain. With their solution, Leonard Dorlöchter, Max Thake and Till Wendler want to ensure more price transparency and independence when charging e-vehicles.

Mr. Dorlöchter, what is one of the greatest challenges in terms of e-mobility?

Leonard Dorlöchter: In Germany we have a very fragmented charging infrastructure. That means we have different charging station providers and different automobile manufacturers. This is why there is often no compatibility, as you have different plugs, accounts and payment methods to charge cars. That prevents many people from buying an electric car.

What approach are you pursuing?

Dorlöchter: Of course, no manufacturer wants to use the other’s platform. We therefore want to create a neutral, uniform platform. Using blockchain technology, every station should be compatible with every electric car – everyone gets their own, sovereign identity so that they can communicate with each other.

How did the idea for Peaq come about?

Till Wendler: I came into contact with the topic of blockchain for the first time through a scholarship in Silicon Valley and have been working on it since 2014. At the end of 2016 I met Leo again after a long time and a short time later I decided with him that we also want to build a kind of blockchain and use it to solve problems.

Dorlöchter: When he first told me about blockchain technology and the potential for improving things, I was fascinated. So much so that I haven’t done anything else since.

You are working with a large automobile manufacturer that you are currently not allowed to reveal. At the same time, the idea should work independently of the trenches of the individual manufacturers. Is not that a contradiction?

Dorlöchter: The mindset of this manufacturer is such that it only makes sense if it is open and everyone can participate. We were actually selected for the European Gaia-X project to specifically establish identity and data sharing as a standard for the automotive industry in a consortium. So this is a perfect political framework to be able to speak to each other on neutral ground, because of course the whole large corporations often have compliance problems. You can never talk about what you are working on. So the timing and the charging project fit perfectly. In the future it would be conceivable to do a lot more based on these identities.

How did the cooperation with the automobile manufacturer begin? What does it look like in concrete terms?

Peaq founders Leonard Dorlöchter, Max Thake and Till Wendler (from left)

(Photo: Peaq)

Dorlöchter: We actually got a call from the engineer in charge of the project. He’s told us what he’s up to and we should please make him an offer. After we prevailed in the selection process with several teams, the first thing was to prove the technical feasibility. That took half a year, we had to increase resources and in the end we got a framework contract. Of course, it all took a lot of time because the mills in large corporations grind a little more slowly. The first project phase was successful, so that it went into series production. Now we are working with two engineers and it is extremely helpful that they know the internal structures and decision-makers well to move the project forward.

What can you take away from this collaboration? And vice versa?

Wendler: Above all, we can learn to work on projects of this magnitude and also to think about everything that goes with it.

Dorlöchter: That’s a good point. Easy to understand and learn what it really takes to make and move great things. And above all, that is time. What they can learn from us is to be agile. They always call us speedboat, because startups can be extremely fast and react.

You are currently benefiting from the change and the questions that the automotive industry is asking itself.

Dorlöchter: I think we’re definitely at the forefront when it comes to novelty. Of course we’re also lucky with the timing and zeitgeist.

Take us with you into everyday life once your charging solution has established itself on the market – what does it look like?

Dorlöchter: At the end of the day, you can fill up with any electric vehicle at any charging station. The solution will therefore not be visible directly because it is running in the background. Another advantage is that private charging points can then also be made accessible to the public or visitors in the future. So here other users can also pay for the electricity that they fill up with others – that is not possible nowadays either.

What time horizon are we talking about for this project?

Dorlöchter: That is a very good question. In fact, the development goals of the automobile manufacturers are very long. Next year it will be possible to test the concept on a large scale. The project within Gaia-X alone takes three years. In the end, the market launch will probably take three to five years.

Is the stereotype that new technologies are lagging behind in Germany? Or, in your experience, is that outdated?

Wendler: You can tell that we can keep up relatively well in terms of development and that there is also a certain degree of openness. But of course it often takes longer than one would hope for. Where it really fails sometimes is when it comes to investments. In the US, for example, other startups are supported with hundreds of millions of dollars in funding without even writing a line of code. We had to fight our way through here to get two to three million euros. Now there is another slightly larger round, but there are already differences.

A little more visions: What other options would arise if your solution with the charging stations prevailed?

Dorlöchter: In general, this is a huge opportunity for blockchain technology. Another connection point is a decentralized energy grid. For example, households could generate energy using solar panels and then sell it to the power grid when this electricity is not needed itself. This just as a spontaneous idea, there are a lot of use cases that are about the democratic potential of technology – and about making the future better.

Elena Berchermeier spoke to Leonard Dorlöchter, Max Thake and Till Wendler

The interview first appeared at Business punk

Source:, The kick for the e-revolution ?: Startup Peaq is tackling the chaos of charging stations