Paving the Way to Cleaner Fuel and Vehicles
Tech startup KIGT gets a charge out of vehicle electrification.
Paul Francis’ inspiration for electric vehicles came while drinking a cup of coffee.
“I was sitting outside a coffee shop in San Dimas and saw an automobile converted into an all-electric vehicle that had the capability to give power back to the grid,” he recalled. “I was intrigued and after checking it out further, I was hooked on electric vehicles after that.”
Today, Francis is the CEO and co-founder of KIGT— Keep It Green Tech — an Ontario-based tech startup that manufactures smart charging stations for electric cars. It also designs and develops the software and grid management platforms for them.
“The way we see the future at KIGT, we often say, is reshaping 100 years of human habit,” said Francis. “That’s kind of the mantra that we go on when we create and design software and hardware.”
He and co-founder and lead engineer Jatomis Stevenson head a core staff and production team committed to providing a clean and affordable fuel alternative for plug-in car drivers. KIGT is also the first and only black-owned EV charging station manufacturer in North America to design and develop its own software.
“We’ll be the company that provides the infrastructure for the future of mobility,” said Francis. “We have to think two to three years ahead with what we’re doing to stay competitive.”
In addition to creating smart eChargers for EVs, KIGT’s technology manages charge scheduling for off-peak charging times and driver cost-savings data. There’s also a 220-volt home wall mount eCharger with an interactive touch screen.
KIGT’s innovation can be found throughout Southern California Edison’s service area. It’s in homes in the San Gabriel Valley and Inland Empire, a new housing development in Santa Paula, installed in churches in South Los Angeles, and at colleges and universities like University of California, Riverside and the University of La Verne.
Lisa Grater, manager of Transportation and Parking at the University of La Verne, is an advocate for alternative transportation. She has seen an increase in EVs on campus since KIGT installed its smart eChargers on campus in 2017 for students and visitors, including faculty and staff.
“I’ve seen the need for them,” she said. “This is the new way, electric charging stations and EVs. We need to be proactive rather than reactive to it. Bringing Paul on board and hopefully installing more [charging stations] and offering this to everybody would be just enormous. We have to do it.”
Francis serves as a member of SCE’s Clean Energy Access Working Group, created to work in partnership with The Greenlining Institute, environmental and community groups, and faith-based organizations, to ensure access to a healthier, clean energy future for all.
“Many residential households within SCE service territory are located in underserved communities that don’t have nearby access to adequate charging,” said Francis. “We’re working to change that by bringing EV awareness to community stakeholders and make this technology accessible and affordable.”
Earlier this year, SCE presented KIGT with its “Clean Energy Champion Award” for its transportation electrification advocacy.
“KIGT is part of a new generation of entrepreneurs who have harnessed market forces and new technologies to develop products and services that have led to transformative changes in energy storage technology,” said Chris Thompson, SCE vice president of Local Public Affairs.
For now, KIGT is on a mission to put an electric charging station in a million homes in California. The plan aligns with SCE’s goal to have 7 million EVs on the road to meet the climate goals set for 2030 by the state.
Francis admits it’s a challenge getting car-loving Californians to buy into cleaner, alternative transportation. But he’s optimistic KIGT can make it happen.
“If we can get to a million homes that can shift everything,” he said. “The world is watching what California is doing.”