How Enode and VOOL are empowering customers to manage their energy usage and get more value from the grid
VOOL is switching up the way we charge our EVs. No longer an expensive, inconvenient process, VOOL enables EV owners to easily optimize their charging to make it affordable – and even profitable. Known for their beautifully-designed EV chargers, VOOL promises a smooth and overload-free charging experience. It’s no wonder VOOL’s one of Estonia’s fastest-growing companies.
VOOL was founded by Juhan Härm, Sander Vahtras and Hindrik Kilter when they realized that around two thirds of power generated by the grid is unused. Rather than literally wasting energy, the founders looked for ways to get the maximum value and utility from it, and VOOL was born. And they’re not only revolutionizing EV charging: the VOOL team is already set on creating other household products that help everyone make the most of the grid.
Accessing real-time EV data is an engineering challenge
Lauri Laineste, a Senior Product Manager at VOOL, works with a small but mighty team of ten engineers and two designers. “My primary role involves ensuring that our designs resonate with user needs, and discerning the most critical features for our customers.”
One of the biggest challenges Lauri’s team faced was the complex nature of energy itself. Customers knew they wanted to utilize energy more efficiently, but understanding and managing their usage was hard. Different EV models, chargers and protocols required different processes, juggling multiple apps, and significant manual effort. It put the carbon and cost-cutting potential of EV ownership out of reach for many.
“Our aim at VOOL is to demystify energy consumption and foster effortless interaction with it,” explains Lauri. “We want to simplify energy management for the common person. By making it more accessible, we believe we can overcome barriers to entry and welcome more people into the EV market.”
Making energy management accessible to as wide a market as possible meant VOOL would need to build an application that worked with every EV make and model. It soon became apparent that this would be an enormous engineering challenge. A separate integration would need to be built and maintained for each EV make and model, eating into the limited time and resources of Lauri’s team. It would pull their focus from building the critical features customers really wanted, and the superior user experience that made them easy to engage with.
“We initially built direct integrations to 5-6 EV brands,” says Lauri. “But doing so took significant development resources and effort, and in turn, limited our platform's reach. We began searching for a partner that could speed up our time to market.”
Enode enables VOOL to connect to more energy devices – and more customers
Lauri spoke to two companies: Enode and Smartcar. The key criteria was breadth of energy device coverage. The more brands their partner enabled them to integrate with, the wider the market VOOL would be able to service.
“There was no contest,” says Lauri. “By partnering with Enode, we were able to increase our reach to virtually every EV owner on the planet, speeding up the product development process and freeing our engineers to work on other projects.”
Using Enode’s API, VOOL can integrate with more than 25 EV brands through a single integration. It means Lauri’s team can securely access comprehensive and normalized EV data, upon which they can build the use cases and experiences that drive value back to customers. And it means Lauri’s team can simplify their system architecture, cut engineering complexity and take those use cases to market faster.
Smart energy management creates value for VOOL customers
One of the market-leading use cases VOOL has built is its unique automatic price detection feature. It reads data delivered via Enode’s API to identify when electricity costs are at their lowest, and automatically shifts EV charging windows to align. VOOL customers who have activated the feature have already cut their EV charging costs by up to 90%.
The energy management use cases Lauri’s team is building not only empower customers to cut their energy costs, but to make money, too. VOOL allows businesses and users to make their chargers public, effectively renting them out to other EV drivers, turning their charger into an income stream.
The VOOL team isn’t stopping there: they already have plans to expand their product line to include other household products designed to optimize grid usage.
“We're excited about the transformative journey we've embarked upon, and we're committed to promoting the efficient use of our energy resources,” says Lauri. “Thanks to Enode, there are now limitless opportunities for us to build understandable solutions that will impact many other aspects of our customers’ lives, wherever electricity is used.”