Biggest differentiator from other providers, according to founder and UT student, Pol Torras Casablanca, is cost and user-friendliness. 'AXAL Power offers a basic charging station for 349 euros, while other suppliers do it for double the price,' says the student Industrial Design Engineering. ‘And all with the same quality and power.’ Torras’s mission is to make electric vehicle charging accessible to everyone. ‘By designing a simpler, better and user-friendly product.’
For the product idea, AXAL Power put the customer at the centre of the design process. 'The most important thing we did was to listen to the end users. We interviewed people who charge their cars at home. What problems did they encounter, what would they have liked to see different and what were they satisfied with?'
Based on the input gathered, the company comes up with a new design for the market. 'Which is super simple. We omitted all complexity and focused only on efficiency. That resulted in the homeplug®. A basic charging station. For people who want just a bit more, such as charging from the app or setting it at certain times, there is the homeplug® PRO.'
According to Torras, the installation work is easy to do and low in cost as well. 'Anyone can do it. You need a cable and circuit breaker. Then it's done in two minutes, where other parties take between two and eight hours.' For those who do not dare to install the charger themselves, an installation package is available.
Competition is fierce, agrees Torras. 'There are certainly several providers and the market is developing. But home charging at these prices and with this quality is not there yet. We have sold 500 units in pre-sales. We are expected to sell five thousand charging stations next year.' The plugs will soon be available at web shops like Bol.com and Amazon, but also at electrical shops like Expert. 'We are in full dialogue with companies.’
Together with seven other UT and Saxion students, Torras runs the company. 'We all have different cultural and study backgrounds, but share the same mission: we want to take action for a cleaner world. We came together at the right time and place here in Enschede. We started to make a change. And every month new students to join us because they want to contribute and do something. That also says something about the company.'
Today, the product 'really' goes to market. With a launch event. 'We hold a presentation, we have showcases, our partners give a talk and there is a networking drink. All new and exciting.’