What’s a good location in Richmond for a rising high-technology company that's interested in lifestyle amenities for its employees, including breweries and restaurants, and is also a couple of minutes from two interstate highways?
Scott’s Addition, of course.
“It’s incredibly important for us to put an emphasis with our growth and being in a place with a good lifestyle and buzz,” says Rebecca Hough, chief executive officer of Evatran, a Richmond-based firm that makes wireless recharging devices for electric cars.
The firm, now based in Shockoe Bottom, has announced it will consolidate its headquarters and manufacturing operations at the HandCraft Cleaners building at 1501 Roseneath Road in Scott’s Addition.
Hough says her firm scouted locations for several months as the HandCraft building, built in the 1940s, became available.
Evatran, founded in 2009, needs more space to accommodate its growth. The firm has 37 employees with 27 in Richmond. With the new space, Hough hopes to expand her staff in Richmond to as many as 55 people. Some of those will be manufacturing engineers.
The people Evatran is targeting tend to be young and technology-proficient, which is one reason Hough and her team wanted to stay in Richmond and not move to a suburban industrial park.
Scott’s Addition has blossomed with new restaurants, stores, breweries and other services in recent months. Its future seems even brighter now that the City of Richmond finally seems to be getting on track with plans to build a new stadium for the Richmond Flying Squirrels and put a mixed-use project on the 60-plus acres now occupied by The Diamond and other entities.
The move also signals Evatran’s growth. Hough notes that 2015 “was not great” as a year for electric cars in this country, but that’s not the story in other parts of the world where Evantran hopes to expand.
“I’m not worried long-term about the American market," she says, "but globally E-car sales grew 40 percent from 2014 to 2015.”
While manufacturing will be consolidated in Scott’s Addition, Evatran’s research and development will still be located in Raleigh, North Carolina. That operation is also looking for more engineers, she says.
Evatran makes devices that can be included as either original equipment or aftermarket installations that allow electric cars to be recharged without wires.
One problem with early models was that owners had to physically plug a cable into the car to recharge it. Evatran makes devices that allow recharging without wires.
Its wireless recharging brand, Plugless Power, is available in aftermarket packages for such electric or hybrid vehicles as the Chevrolet Volt, the Nissan Leaf, the Cadillac ELR, BMW I3 and the Tesla Model S.
It costs $1,240 to install one in a Volt at one of 50 dealerships in the United States and Canada now trained by Evatran officials. Some installations cost $2,800.