top of page

Has This Little-Known Company Solved EV Charging’s Biggest Problem?

Frank Markus

Mar 1, 2024

Xeal EV chargers sidestep the biggest cause of failure by eliminating the need for a constant cloud connection.

Public charging an electric vehicle largely sucks. Film at 11. A study last year noted that the leading cause of a charging stations failing to initiate a charge was connectivity. Charging networks don't profit much from selling electricity, so they're keen to ensure they can bill customers for the energy they're dispensing—as are gas stations. But while a gas station might connect all its pumps to the internet via a more robust ethernet connection, EV charging stations located far from their host's building typically rely on far less robust cellular connectivity.

Who Is Xeal?

Launched in California in 2019, the company focuses primarily on installing level-two EV chargers for multi-family apartment or condo complexes, university residence halls, and other mostly private spaces (though some management companies can choose to list their chargers on local mapping apps). Retail environments are a recent focus of new installations, and in fact The Grove in Los Angeles will soon be getting a bank of public Xeal chargers.

The Apollo Mission

In 2021, Xeal introduced a distributed-ledger technology called Apollo. Here's how it works. A Xeal user downloads an app while connected to the internet, entering identification and payment information. The app delivers a cryptographic token that then resides on the smart phone. When visiting a charger, the user touches the phone to the charger, and the token on the phone authorizes the charging session (each token is good for one session). To end the session, the driver taps phone to charger again.

This time the charger imparts a "distributed ledger" to the phone, with details of how much electricity was used, the fees, etc. The next time the user's phone connects to the internet, it transmits the ledger information to Xeal, which bills the credit card in exchange for a charging token good for another session. Even if a user backed over and crushed their phone before ever connecting to the internet again, info about that charging session would be included in other transmissions to other users' phones, so the credit card would still be charged, but no new token would be granted until and unless the user associated a new phone with the account.

Not Quite Blockchain

The functionality is quite similar, in that other drivers receive data about transactions from multiple other charging sessions for redundancy, but there is no group validation (a key tenet of blockchain), and the cryptographic tokens are completely private and individual.

What About DC Fast Charging?

There is nothing about the Apollo communications protocol that limits it to level 2 charging; it just so happens that Xeal has focused its marketing on real estate management companies to provide residential-type charging. We have high hopes that one or more of the larger DCFC networks considers licensing Apollo technology to eliminate, once and for all, the connectivity problems that are responsible for half or more of all charging-session faults.

bottom of page