Enterprise Europe Network

Powering electric cars with a portable power source

Steering French innovation on the road to global success with help from the Enterprise Europe Network.

EP Tender

In 2011 French fund manager Jean-Baptiste Segard was working in Switzerland and thinking about buying an electric car. He loved the idea of clean mobility, but was discouraged by the fact that the vehicles couldn’t travel long distances.

While he didn’t invest in the car, he was inspired to come up with a practical solution – a towable power source that electric car owners could rent. Determined to take his idea forward, Jean-Baptiste started a company called EP Tender – EP for Electric Power or Extended Play, and Tender like the fuel car hauled by steam locomotives.

Researching the market

With the technology nearly ready, Jean-Baptiste needed market analysis and practical advice to turn a great invention into a viable international business model. This meant information on the electric-car market as well as insights into buyers’ expectations and geographical locations.

Lacking the funds to do his own research, he turned to the Enterprise Europe Network branch at BPI France in Maisons-Alfort that provides tailored support services for small ambitious businesses like his own.

He discussed his rental network aspirations with Network expert Clémence Le Corff. Clémence and her team then prepared a report and action plan recommending that Jean-Baptiste:

  • consider rental spots in strategic areas such as motorways and petrol stations
  • ensure his intellectual property rights were protected
  • explore funding opportunities under the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, in particular the SME Instrument – which is designed to help SMEs take breakthrough innovations to the international market.

With financial support from BPI France, Jean-Baptiste was able to hire an expert to help him prepare an application for an SME Instrument grant which was accepted and yielded €942,200. He’s using the money to launch a test rental network in France between Poissy and Rouen before expanding the network internationally, targeting €6 million in turnover by 2020.

"We are very proud of having such prestigious backing for our project, with the help of the Enterprise Europe Network," said Jean-Baptiste. "France, California and China will be our initial target markets, and from there we will expand in Europe, North America and China."

Photo: © EP Tender

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