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Centrica invests in software for electric vehicle charging

Investment will help Centrica provide a fully managed electric vehicle charging service for businesses

The incubation arm of utility firm Centrica has put money into Driivz, an Israeli startup specialising in software for electric vehicle (EV) charging.

Ombu Group, an investor in advanced industrial technology companies, co-led the investment, which forms part of a £9m funding round.

Driivz’s cloud-based EV charging operating system is used by more than 200,000 drivers across the globe.

The company said its platform offers charging network operators, car manufacturers and utilities a way to manage all aspects of EV deployment, from charging, account management and driver billing through to onsite power management that allows businesses to optimise output to chargers in line with site energy demand and costs.

The investment has been made by Centrica Innovations, established in 2017 to identify, incubate and accelerate new technologies.

Centrica said the Driivz platform will be integrated into its new intelligent EV charging service for businesses, which will be provided by Centrica Electric Vehicle Services (CEVS).

According to Centrica, the fully managed service has been developed to meet the needs of organisations that want EV charging facilities for their employees and/or their depot-based fleets.

Jonathan Tudor, director of technology and innovation strategy for Centrica Innovations, said: “With 14 million EVs expected on UK roads by 2030, there can be no doubt that e-mobility will have a significant impact on how we manage the delicate balance of supply and demand to the grid.

“This investment is a key opportunity for Centrica to support growing customer demand and work in partnership with Driivz to explore new offers for customers that connect home, work and on-the-road car charging, while also evaluating the role of EVs and potential vehicle-to-grid applications as part of the future energy landscape.”

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Centrica said CEVS builds on the company’s experience as an installer of more than 4,000 workplace chargers, including Transport for London’s £18m EV charging scheme, which aims to install 300 fast-charging points in the capital by 2020.

Since it was established last year, Centrica Innovation has been looking to invest in new business areas that its parent company can grow into.

As Computer Weekly has reported previously, last year Centrica acquired Rockitt Astra, a US software company specialising in using machine learning to understand data. This company is now part of Centrica’s Io-Tahoe division, which provides data discovery software to support General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance.

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