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21Country: Purdue grad leads the charge on EV phone app

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WPTA21) - In a small apartment complex a few miles from Purdue, is a team of graduates working on an innovative app they hope, will become the ‘Airbnb’ of navigating, activating, and paying to charge electric vehicles.

Dwi Sutander is CEO of AeonCharge.

Despite having a degree in chemical engineering, his career path has taking the unexpected turn, to entrepreneurship.

“When I moved here to the United States about six years ago, I had a dream to make Indonesia at least as clean as Indiana or Fort Wayne,” he told us, “that’s how I got involved with sustainability.”

Though he lives in West Lafayette now, Sutander began his journey towards ‘the American Dream’ in 21Country.

He moved from Jakarta, Indonesia to attend IPFW.

There he met RA Jovian Susanto.

“I saw his name on the little register as people were moving out,” Susanto explained, “and thought, this guy? He’s from Indonesia, clearly.”

It was a commonality they both shared.

“I screamed at him, in Indonesian,” he continued, “he was looking around for who it was, and he saw my face, and we connected from there.”

Susanto would open his home to Sutander, and the two lived together for a year before the AeonCharge CEO would continue his education at Purdue.

“It’s how we were raised in Indonesia. If someone needed help, we would lend them a hand,” Susanto said, “for him, it was a natural progress of wanting to be challenged, and see the next step, and not only improve his life, but improve the lives of those around him.”

Though the automotive industry is shifting to electric vehicles, it will still take a while for the majority of population to be driving them.

For now, Sutander hopes his app will solve a basic nuisance for those who already do.

“Currently, there are about 50 different EV network providers in the United States,” he told us, “you can imagine you have to juggle between 50 mobile apps? That’s a little too much.”

His long term goal however, is to make a positive impact on the environment, and his home country.

“I want to raise the awareness for sustainability. It is great to have visionary people like Elon Musk, who has the vision to expand human colonization to another planet, but I also sincerely believe we need people to have a vision to sustain the current life on earth,” Sutander said, “because I personally feel we shouldn’t be a species that deprives the resources on earth, just because we can escape to another planet. On this earth, we don’t really live alone.”

Sutander’s team recently won the $40,000 first place prize in the Burton D. Morgan Business Model Competition at Purdue.

AeonCharge will launch to the public later this fall.

In Fort Wayne, over two dozen Charge Point brand chargers will soon be popping up.

In December, the City of Fort Wayne received a $90,000 grant to invest towards clean energy, from the Indiana Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust Fund Committee.

27 stations will be installed by the end of 2022 at the following locations:

  • 2 at the Allen County Public Library Downtown
  • 4 at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum
  • 3 on Berry Street
  • 2 at Foster Park
  • 2 at Jefferson Pointe
  • 9 between the three Meijer stores at Lima, Maysville, and (coming soon) Dupont/Diebold roads
  • 2 at the Skyline Garage
  • 3 on Wayne Street parking

Officials told ABC21 Tuesday, the first units were installed at the Skyline Garage, though haven’t been activated yet.

Those Charge Pointe chargers will be Level 2.

We’re told the rates will cover the cost of power, and fees for the units, and the city will not make a profit on charging.

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Daniel Beals

Daniel Beals is the producer of the ABC21 feature franchise “21Country”. He is constantly on the lookout for ideas that capture the “people, places, things, and history” that makes Northeast Indiana unique. Feel free to reach out: dbeals@wpta21.com.

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