Most countries around the world are adopting electric vehicles as the preferred mode of public transportation. While this move lowers the impact on our environment, it comes with its own set of challenges. From deciding when to charge a vehicle to estimating how much distance it can safely travel, there are multiple aspects of an electric transportation system, which need to be taken care of.
This is where Amsterdam-based cleantech startup ViriCiti comes in. It aims to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles by offering an all-in-one solution for full-electric as well as mixed fleets. The company has made notable leaps recently and has now revealed that over 65 percent of electric buses used for public transport in the Netherlands now use ViriCiti’s telematics systems. Here’s all you need to know about the rising startup.
ViriCiti: The first true all-in-one telematics solution
In a conversation with Silicon Canals, ViriCiti’s CEO Freek Dielissen says,”ViriCiti offers an online platform that assists public transport operators in optimising the energy management and maintenance of their electric and non-electric bus fleets. We do so by providing real-time data analysis and actionable insights. Using our own custom-built hardware solution, we can read and send the complete vehicle data from the vehicle into the cloud, where we can analyze the data and enrich it with external sources such as weather, route- and traffic information as well as driver behavior.”
Unlike other telematics providers, ViriCiti establishes itself by offering a true all-in-one solution. The company integrates all technologies such as electric, hybrid, hydrogen, and diesel. It accommodates multiple vehicle manufacturers and can be used for gathering data on both vehicles and chargers. It enables all of this in just one single dashboard. In addition, parameters, alerts, and reporting can be set as per a user’s needs. “We pride ourselves with the reliability of our (independent) data, the usability of our dashboard, and our customer support, three of the reasons why our customers choose us,” adds Dielissen.
Electromobility is on the rise
WIth a global push for alternatives to fossil fuels, it doesn’t come as a surprise that electrification is the go to sustainable energy method for vehicles. “Worldwide, cities are working hard to comply with climate objectives mandated by the government. Diesel buses are rapidly being exchanged for electric buses and mixed fleets with diesels and electric buses is becoming the standard; no longer the exception. This new ratio comes with a set of new challenges for transit operators.” comments Dielissen.
“According to SustainableBus, a world leading e-mobility magazine, in 2019 the European electric bus market set a new record tripling the figures of 2018. Nearly 12 percent of city buses registered in 2019 were battery-electric. But things are going to get even deeper, very soon: Interact Analysis forecasts that ‘approximately 40% of new city buses registered in Europe in 2025 will be battery-electric’.”
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Dealing with the pandemic and next steps
The coronavirus pandemic affected every sector in one way or another. ViriCiti’s clients were able to employ the company’s solution to optimise their operations, even from their home. “We are busier than ever improving our products and developing new ones, to be sure we stay on the front line of this exciting acceleration towards sustainable transportation,” says Dielissen.
“With many cities under lock-down or with strong social distancing rules, the public transport field has definitely been affected by the pandemic. While we have seen a slowdown in our industry, it wasn’t as severe as in other sectors. At a macro level, we see many countries around the world looking at the e-mobility sector as an engine that could help restart their economies, with many allocating large funds towards this sector.” adds Dielissen.
As for ViriCiti’s future plans, “We are developing a couple of new products and functionalities and will reveal more about it later this year. At the same time, with our new VP of Sales joining last month, we are looking forward to developing our presence in the US, where we opened two additional offices in Greenville, South Carolina and Los Angeles,” reveals Dielissen.
COVID-19 couldn’t hamper ViriCiti’s growth
Coronavirus could not slow down ViriCiti’s growth. The startup has more than doubled its team and went from around 25 to 70 members across all of its offices. “While the pandemic slightly slowed down our recruitment efforts, we still have some open vacancies. A few of our new colleagues also started their journey at ViriCiti remotely, during the lockdown, including our VP of Sales. And these weeks we’re onboarding a few new members as well. We’re very happy to see our team grow,“ says Dielissen.
The Amsterdam-based startup ViriCiti was founded back in 2012 by Alexander Schabert, Freek Dielissen, Jan-Willem Heinen and Simon Rijk. The company is currently focussing on its core markets of Western Europe and North America and is also a market leader with over 3500 buses and chargers connected to its platform. ViriCiti is also working with over 200 OEMs and fleet operators worldwide. The startup raised €6.25 million last January in a funding round to expand its services to the North American market.
Speaking of funding, ViriCiti CEO says the company is always exploring new opportunities but there’s no information to share right now.