Recurrent, a Seattle-based startup concentrating on analyzing and providing reports for electric vehicle batteries, announced today that it has raised an oversubscribed $3.5 million seed round. The seed round was led by Wireframe Ventures, with participation from PSL Ventures, Vulcan Capital, Prelude Ventures, Powerhouse Ventures, Ascend.VC and AAA Washington.
One of the biggest problems consumers face when buying a used electric vehicle is not knowing the state of health of the battery. Quite often, the only metric they have to go on is looking at the range estimator and comparing that to what the EPA-rated range was when the vehicle was new.
However, any EV owner will tell you that's not really the best way to judge the condition of the battery. That's because in many cases the range estimator isn't all that accurate, and you could end up with less battery than you thought you had.
Recurrent is attempting to take that concern away from perspective used EV buyers with its battery monitoring and diagnostic software. Think of it as a CarFax report that is specifically designed for EV batteries. Dealerships can have the report ready at the point of sale to demonstrate that the battery in the used EV they are selling is in good condition. In fact, Recurrent already has 10 dealerships testing out the service.
There's currently no universal comparison to what Recurrent is doing. Manufacturers have the ability to check the state of health of the cars they sell, but not necessarily the batteries in used EVs from other brands that they get as trade-ins and sell as pre-owned vehicles.
However, even when dealerships have the ability to offer battery state of health reports, they rarely do. A service like Recurrent could force the entire industry to address this problem if consumers refuse to buy a used EV without some kind of battery health report.
Not only for used car sales
Recurrent also provides free monthly battery reports for EV owners that sign up and allow them to access data from their EV. Recurrent wants to collect the vehicle's state of charge, its charging status, the mileage, and the car's range estimate. The owner shares their vehicle's data and they get the monthly reports, which they can then use in the future when they sell their EV.
Recurrent collects the data from participating EVs up to three times per day and uses it to form profiles for each different make and model of electric vehicles. Recurrent then uses the data to train its machine learning algorithms to predict future battery performance and the expected driving range of used EVs.
“Used car sales are at least double new car sales every year. With the third anniversary of Tesla’s Model 3 and the rapid introduction of new electric models across all vehicle makers, used EV sales are about to grow substantially,” said Paul Straub, Managing Director of Wireframe Ventures, who is joining Recurrent’s board. “The timing is right for a first mover with a strong data and technology advantage to bring confidence and transparency to these transactions.”
Recurrent has collected over 1 million data points from over 2,500 EV owners enrolled in the program and are seeking more volunteers. You can learn more about participating in Recurrent's program and get free monthly battery reports from the Recurrent website.
We think this is an excellent idea and one that can really help consumers that are in the used EV market. There's really no universally-accepted method to report the condition of a battery in a used EV, and that has definitely been an obstacle. It's also likely contributed to why most EVs have very low resale values. Customers basically buy the used EV and hope the battery is in good condition and that's not a sustainable practice.
We'd like to know what you think of Recurrent's business plan. Are you charged up, or pulling the plug on the idea? As always, let us know in the comment section below.