Rebecca Hough, Chief Executive Officer at Evatran, has just been named one of Inc. magazine’s “30 under 30.” And no wonder, as this 27-year-old was instrumental in establishing Plugless Power, the world’s first wireless charging system for electric vehicles. Virginia Community Capital (VCC), working with Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses initiative, has provided capital to this dynamic entrepreneur to advance this new technology.
Hough was enticed away from a New York City-consulting gig to work with her father who founded MTC Transformers, manufacturers of larger electrical transformers visible on telephone poles. The two collaborated on a design to meet the growing demand of electric cars and created a system that transfers a charge to a parked car without any type of plug required.
“I told him he was crazy, of course,” recalls Hough of her father’s suggestion that a wireless component represented an ideal opportunity for MTC Transformers and a new partner, possibly led by her. “We talked about it quite a while before I agreed to make the switch and hop on board.”
When the younger Hough agreed to take charge of the next step, they created Evatran, which now employs 24 with offices in Richmond, production facilities in Wytheville, Virginia, and engineers working from Raleigh, North Carolina. Progress moved from concept to testing and then, market-ready. Plugless Power is available for purchase effective June 10 as an after-market product for the most popular electric cars, like the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt.
The current technology works as a static system, sitting in a garage or parking space, but is as effective as plugged-in or Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) systems. Evatran’s Plugless Power charges as rapidly as OEM systems and can easily be adjusted to charge during off-peak hours.
Arriving at this stage required lots of testing, prototypes, and re-dos. But Hough claims to love the entire process—victories and missteps alike.
“Very few people have been able to create their own product,” she explains. “This is exceptionally wonderful. I have been able to live this story of bringing the product from an original tiny glimmer of a thought and going through some days that might feel like defeat but offer clues to the next idea, ultimately bringing this technology to production.”
OEM components are the next step for Evatran. Conversations are already underway with major U.S. and German automobile manufacturers for a Plugless Power integrated product in 2015 vehicles.
The Evatran loan was secured by VCC in partnership with Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses initiative. The funding provides for acceleration of beta units to market supporting the purchase of equipment, parts, and inventory.
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