Her dream is now a reality!
Natalie King is making history as the creator of the first Black woman-owned electric vehicle charger company, Forbes reports. King is a former attorney. In 2007, she decided to follow her passion for the clean energy business. She was working with her now ex-husband, to launch a solar energy firm. However, "when the marriage dissolved, we dissolved the company," King told reporters. The entrepreneur was undeterred eventually creating Dunamis Clean Energy Partners in 2012.
Initially, the company focused on energy auditing, serving as a trade ally for utility companies and incentive procurement for commercial and industrial clients. During the energy audits, King learned that a lot of her clients were upgrading to LED lighting. She began building relationships with manufacturers in China, landing a major LED deal with a few Michigan clinics. Still, the manufacturer didn't hold up their end and never delivered the product.
"I was devastated," recalled King.
A friend and mentor advised her to start producing the LEDs herself. King ran with that advice and launched Dunamis Lighting in 2015. Things were going great, then she had a dream that inspired her into another direction.
"I woke up from [an after church] nap, and there was a clear direction of 'the next thing you need to do is electric vehicle recharging manufacturing,'" King said.
She followed her intuition and Dunamis Charge was born. That was in 2018, and she immediately began research and development. By the end of 2019, King had started engineering and designing a prototype. Now, the devices are in the final stages of certification.
The Dunamis Charge devices feature three different products: a fast charger that can recharge a vehicle within 30 minutes, equipped with a smart screen that can be used for advertising; a residential model device that can be mounted to a garage wall and charge a vehicle within four to six hours; and a commercial model that can be placed in a parking structure.
Currently, King is marketing the chargers to utilities and municipalities. The Michigan Department of Transportation and Environmental Great Lakes Energy is already onboard to give federal funding for the EV infrastructure rollout. King is also in talks with General Motors Co.
"Once we get our certifications and testing approved, we would be considered a preferred vendor for their dealership base," King said.
She plans to open up a factory in Detroit where she will begin work this November, starting with about 30 assembly workers and technicians with projections for her workforce to double within a year, quadrupling by 2025. King says it's essential for her to pay it forward as a Black woman who worked hard to break into this male-dominated industry.
"It means a great deal to me to be the first Black woman-owned EV charger manufacturer in the country. I am really hoping there are more to come. I want to make sure communities of color are not marginalized and not left out of this opportunity and the multiple benefits this industry brings," King said.
Part of that giving back is making sure she opens her first factory in Detroit, a city long underserved with a community that needs environmental justice and clean energy products.
"That's why I made it a point to make sure that assembly plant was located in the city of Detroit because I wanted to create jobs from that. I want those who are under-represented, unemployed communities to be able to learn this technology, feed their families from this technology, and really advance and take advantage of it. So it's very important to me," King explained.
To learn more about King's products, visit www.dunamisenergy.com.
Photo Courtesy of Ed Garsten/Forbes