Tech

Revel is opening an electric vehicle fast-charging station in Brooklyn, NY

Can the Superhub save Revel from its past and shape its future?

Revel

Electric moped startup Revel is preparing ready to bring a fast-charging hub for electric vehicles to Brooklyn, New York. The company is pushing its Superhub charger as an ultra-fast, super-inexpensive charging option for electric vehicle owners. It’s a welcome distraction from the company’s otherwise checkered recent history of accidents and a temporary suspension of service last year.

The first-of-its-kind Superhub will debut on the site of a historic former Pfizer building in Williamsburg, according to the company’s press release. Revel has yet to announce an exact opening date for the charging center, which will be comprised of 30 individual EV chargers. Each will provide Level 3 fast charging, a designation that allows for 100 miles of charge in just 20 minutes.

Revel is still relatively young in comparison to other mainstays of the electric vehicle market; the company was only founded in 2018, with its first pilot program started in July of that year. Since then the company has had an intense string of legal setbacks and faced scrutiny because of how easy it is for people to rent its mopeds without necessarily having the skills to safely ride them. Perhaps putting the brakes on the mopeds in favor of other business pursuits will give the company time to regroup and re-evaluate its priorities.

Big yikes — Revel’s history is one populated with unfortunate accidents and jumbled priorities. The company’s most popular product has always been its mopeds — and it just so happens those two-wheelers are pretty deadly sometimes.

Last summer, two separate crash incidents in 11 days in New York City left a pair of Revel moped drivers dead. Following the deaths of Nina Kapur and Jeremy Malave, Revel immediately suspended its moped service.

It didn’t take long at all for the company’s messy safety practices to come to light. Revel lured customers in with an easy-access rental model: all you needed was a driver’s license to hop on a moped, no scooter experience required. Through the chaotic streets of New York City, no less.

Revel relaunched its moped service less than a month later. Now the company requires riders to submit a selfie proving they’re wearing a helmet and first-time riders need to watch a 20-minute safety video. These measures don’t do all that much to address safety concerns.

Can Revel rally? — This Superhub station will be Revel’s first attempt to turn its limited successes into a full-fledged electric transportation company. There’s a chance that bet could pay off for Revel — the demand for electric charging stations only continues to grow, and Revel’s chargers will work with any electric automobile.

This is a critical time for Revel. The company is in recovery mode after last year’s fiascos, and it faces more competition than ever — electric scooter company Lime is launching its own moped-rental service, and those mopeds have far stricter safety regulations.

Revel is putting some major resources into its first Superhub. We're hoping it works out, because charging electric vehicles in New York is currently a pain, and definitely an obstacle to uptake.