Based in Flint, Kuhmute is leading the way in electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure providing a place for people to rent or charge an EV in cities across the United States and Canada. “We have hubs in Michigan in Detroit and Grand Haven,” says Kuhmute Software Engineer Eddie Wenzel, “and we have hubs in Illinois, Arizona and Ontario in Canada. We currently have nine in Flint with a plan in place for five more.” Kuhmute charging hubs are revolutionizing the way cities and towns think of mobility by providing a way for pedestrians to “motor” about town in a more fun and cost-efficient manner.
The goal is to have Kuhmute charging hubs located all over the world and we are working to get there.
Co-Founder, Peter Deppe
The venture is the brainchild of Kettering University graduate and business co-founder Peter Deppe. “At Kettering, a mentor of mine and I were looking for a startup to invest in,” he says. “In Michigan, we have limited mobility options and we also noticed that e-scooters and other small EVs were kind of a mess on city streets. So, we thought of a way to alleviate those problems.” The idea was to build and fabricate electric charging docks to recharge, organize and secure the vehicles in a way that is beneficial for both the location and rider. “You can park and charge literally anything smaller than an electric car at a Kuhmute hub,” adds Deppe. The business was launched in 2018 and, after a few planning changes, is beginning to make an impact across the country. Kuhmute hubs can work nearly anywhere including city lots, college campuses, apartment buildings, parking garages, hotels, airports and hospitals.
Kuhmute hubs are designed and built here in Flint by a dedicated team of engineers and associates from Kettering University and UM-Flint. In order for an EV to be charged by and secured to a Kuhmute hub, it must be equipped with a Kuhmute-designed nylon and stainless-steel adapter. The Kuhmute team is currently working to provide charging adapters for a variety of EV brands including Segway, Okai, Acton Nexus, Runner, Wagon and others (with more on the way as the team continues to design them). Kuhmute also has adapters available for some electric wheelchair brands, and is in the process of building adapters for delivery robots. Each adapter is available at a cost of $100 each (with available bulk pricing). For a list of compatible models and brands, visit kuhmute.com.
Many Kuhmute hubs come with available EVs for rent. To provide a fleet of rentable EVs to pedestrians, Kuhmute partners with other national businesses. In Flint, the scooters currently available for use are provided by New York-based EV producer, Helbiz.
One feature integral to the Kuhmute brand is “ease of use” and one needs only to download an app and tap on a screen to buzz your way around the city. “It really is very simple,” says Deppe. To start your rental experience, scan the QR code located on the sign above your local Kuhmute hub or download the Helbiz app directly and enter the required payment information. Next, select “start rental” and scan the QR code located on your chosen e-scooter to disengage the security feature and access the vehicle, then ride to your heart’s content! When your journey is over, simply plug the vehicle into any Kuhmute hub and click “end ride” on the app. Charging an EV that you personally own requires installation of the Kuhmute Charge app (and adapter). (Currently, functionality of this process is still being designed with hopes that it will be available in the spring of 2023.)
Need to get from Kettering to UM-Flint or the Downtown Flat Lot in a flash? Simply rent a Helbiz scooter and fly! Have a compatible e-bike? Take a ride on the Flint River Trail, stop and charge your bike downtown while you get a bite to eat, then head on home. With the charging power of Kuhmute, you’ll never be without a reliable form of transportation to get you from here to there. “The goal is to have Kuhmute charging hubs located all over the world,” says Deppe. “We are working to get there.”