Solar car park operator 3ti hit its initial £500,000 investment target in the opening hour of its first crowdfunding round.
Funding will accelerate the roll-out of the world’s first pop-up mini solar car park and electric vehicle charging hub, Papilio3, enable expansion of the 3ti team, and underpin continued clean energy technology development. The initial target on Crowdcube was exceeded within an hour, but the funding round will remain open for 28 days.
Launched in May 2022 at the Surrey Research Park, hosted by the University of Surrey, Guildford, Papilio3 can be deployed within 24 hours and provides up to 12 electric vehicle (EV) charge points. It integrates three technologies that are normally considered independently – solar electricity generation, battery energy storage systems and EV charge points. Crucially, Papilio3 harnesses solar power, battery storage and grid energy to optimise the reliability and carbon intensity of EV charging, particularly for drivers who are not able to charge at home.
Tim Evans, 3ti founder and CEO, said: “Almost instantly achieving our initial investment target demonstrates a public belief in 3ti’s technology, our vision for renewable energy solutions and the team behind the two largest solar car parks in the UK.
“The funding round provides investors with an opportunity to back a company committed to decarbonising the UK transport industry and buy into a dynamic, exciting and unique product: Papilio3. It is expected that 14 million EVs will be on UK roads by 2030. To optimise the environmental benefits of these vehicles replacing polluting petrol and diesel alternatives, it is crucial that an efficient, reliable and sustainable charging infrastructure is in place.”
With an emphasis on sustainability, Papilio3 is built around a recycled shipping container and overcomes many traditional SCP barriers to entry, such as long lead times caused by complex planning and grid approvals and investment requirements. It is envisaged that Papilio3 units will be owned by 3ti and provided to customers on a monthly rental basis. The modular units support 36 solar panels and have battery storage capacity of up to 250 kWh, providing 12 fast EV charge points at 7, 11 and 22 kW.
Evans continued: “If we could capture it all, the solar energy that falls on the planet in just one hour is enough to power the whole world for a year. Yet currently, around 40% of UK electricity is still generated from fossil fuels.
“If EV drivers are rapid charging at peak times, then this carbon-rich, expensive electricity is what’s being used to replenish their batteries. This doesn’t need to be the case. Further investment in 3ti through our Crowdcube campaign will enable us to accelerate the deployment of Papilio3 units and inspire a change of mindset for EV drivers. Since launching Papilio3 a month ago, we have received over 100 enquiries worldwide and aim to have at least 30 units in operation by the end of the year.”