Enabling a smart charge and power balance


Since e-mobility became a growing force in the economy and business, many new start-ups and companies have been set up in Lithuania. One of them is the Lithuanian start-up In Balance grid, UAB. BBQ interviewed its co-founder and CEO Simonas Stankus.

By Leon Kilian Baran Schiefer

When was Inbalance founded and what was the thinking behind the decision?

It was in 2019 when we, the three co-founders of Inbalance, started the whole thing. We established the company and received a preseed round of investments from local investors and business angels, including the co-founder of Vinted Mantas Mikuckas. The decision was made because one of us at that time, Aurimas (co-founder), already had an electric vehicle, and the other co-founder Nerijus and I wanted to buy one too. But we faced huge problems and difficulties, as it was not so easy to build or find chargers in the places where we lived. There was a huge bureaucratic and technical issue, so we decided that we needed to simplify this process. We needed to create a service to help electric vehicle owners build their own chargers at home. Another issue was that the current grid was not made for such a huge number of electrical vehicles, also the lack of knowledge among the business community and the government was problematic. We found out that the energy sector was not adding new technologies to the grid, even though there were plenty of opportunities to improve it. We basically turned our personal problem into our business strategy.

Can you give a short overview of the main tasks of your company?

We are working in the field of e-mobility, or green energy. Basically, we manufacture AC charging stations for electric vehicles. Those AC charging stations can supply up to 22 kW power. We also have a strong software team and all our chargers have computers inside, so we can program the computers remotely and make them work as smart chargers. We do not only work as a charging point operator, but also offer different business models to our clients and those models now include us, as a charging point operator at your locations, and licenses for our software. We make our sockets here – they are all assembled in Vilnius. We receive and process different parts from various countries, mainly in Europe. Since we don’t have our production line ready in terms of the economy, we are forced to outsource the main parts. If we get bigger in the future, we might even be able to produce everything locally.

In which direction are we moving in terms of grid development in Lithuania?

The current electricity grid was not made for a so many chargers, and we could invest billions of euros to renovate the grid, or we could split some parts of the investment to support measures and enable the current grid to balance the needed energy distribution through smart solutions. After all, we always have access to petrol and diesel, which can be supplied almost everywhere. It is necessary to have a similar supply of chargers in urban areas. Therefore, we should be able to recharge at our favourite shopping mall, near our home, our workplace and at certain destination chargers. Destination charger means that we should build chargers everywhere our cars spend most of their time. We do not need to renew the grid, we just need a smart distribution of charging points. That is why we should spend more money on supporting people’s electric vehicle purchases and investing in smart balancing solutions.

What is the main advantage of your technology compared to other COPs and charging systems which can be found in Lithuania?

One big point is that we manufacture everything by ourselves and we have our own R&D team. The other thing is that we supply a solution based on power balancing and therefore the name of the company is Inbalance. This means that our charging stations can be installed at lower power, yet still distribute maximum AC that charges up to 22 kW by balancing the available power of the grid in real time. I mentioned our software solutions inside the hardware, and they really help us to save on costs for expensive power reservations and grid updates or expensive grid renovations. As a result of this, we can also prevent any reconstruction-related environmental pollution. The main aspect of our concept is the first level of balancing – the distribution and use of power from one socket to another. Remember that an AC standard destination charger could supply up to 22 kW. However, a smaller EV could only take about 7 kW, while the 22 kW is still reserved on this socket, no matter if the vehicle only takes 7 kW. So, what we did was to take the remaining 15 kW and distribute it to another socket. We have a 22 kW reservation on the next one and 15 kW on top, where a large EV can charge, taking at maximum of 11 kW. So, we still have 26 kW left which we can distribute to another charger. With limited power consideration, we can charge a greater number of chargers. These balancing solutions allow us to have an optimized power supply based on demand and that’s only the first level of balancing. Now we are working on levels two and three of balancing. Talking about the second level of dynamic load management (DLM), the building level, which means, if we already took the maximum power that was reserved for chargers in the first level, the system would demand additional power from a building, which has a huge general reservation that is never used completely. We are cooperating with PALINK, for example, and are working on retail stores that have the perfect locations in neighbourhoods where people would like to charge their cars at night. During that time, retail stores have plenty of spare power which could be used for charging. In this case, both the retail store and the EV owners would benefit from this development. We hope that our cooperation with PALINK and the study case of 1st and 2nd level DLM will lead us to the REWE group so we can pitch our ideas there. The third level of grid balancing is at a district, city or even country level, which could also integrate a large share of renewable energy into the transport sector.

What are your next big steps regarding the development of your company?

We recently opened our first location in Latvia in Riga. Quite soon, we will have more charging points in Latvia. We will soon be ready to set up our first installations in Estonia, mainly in Tallinn and Tartu. Another of our target markets is Poland, which has a huge potential to become one of the leaders in terms of electrical vehicles in the region. They have already started to establish businesses there which partnered with us, and we pitched our solutions to retailers and real estate funds.