Newmarket electric vehicle software firm Spark EV in talks with major car manufacturers

Justin Ott at Spark EV

Justin Ott at Spark EV - Credit: Archant

A Suffolk start-up that develops software for electric vehicles is in talks with a number of car manufacturers about integrating its technology into on-board sat navs.

Newmarket-based Spark EV, which launched last year, makes a system that aims to improve the accuracy of predictions for the range of electric vehicles.

It analyses live driver, vehicle and other data, such as the weather and congestion, and involves a combination of sensor technology, cloud-based machine learning analysis software and a smartphone app.

The system allows fleet managers or drivers to enter their proposed journey and get advice on whether they will be able to complete it - based on the live data, experience from previous trips and charge point locations - and uses artificial intelligence to learn about an individual’s driving habits to further refine its results.

Spark’s CEO Justin Ott made contact with the car manufacturers last month after going on a trade mission to Detroit, the centre of the US car industry.

The week-long trip was organised by Innovate UK and the Department of International Trade who invited around a dozen businesses to cross the Atlantic to attend a trade show aimed at the autonomous and connected vehicles sector.

Mr Ott said he is now talking to three major car manufacturers about integrating his technology into their satellite navigation systems.

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“The discussions are in the very early stages but are progressing well,” said Mr Ott, who said he could not reveal the names of the companies he is talking to.

He added: “From a user perspective, our system will offer a more personalised range prediction compared with most systems that are generic and base their calculations on the last journey.

“It will give people more confidence in electric vehicles as they will be assured they can get from A to B.

“Innovate UK and the Department of International Trade have been brilliant and are really helping us to sell overseas.”.

Spark EV, which recently moved to new premises on the Lanwades Business Park in Kennett, near Newmarket, secured a £50,000 investment from New Anglia Capital in February to help step up its business development.