Chattanooga startup MarsCharge creates battery-powered ultra fast chargers for electric vehicles

Contributed photo / MarsCharge founder and CEO Michael Marczi pitches his business at The Company Lab.
Contributed photo / MarsCharge founder and CEO Michael Marczi pitches his business at The Company Lab.


* Entrepreneur: Michael Marczi

* Year founded: 2021

* Company: MarsCharge

* Employees: 10

What service do you provide?

We design and build advanced battery-powered ultra-fast chargers for electric vehicles that reduce costs and increase the resilience of the electrical grid.

MarsCharge has two products in its pipeline. The MarsCharger Mega is an ultra-fast 550kW direct current (DC) charger with an internal battery pack of 135kWh. It can utilize its storage for charging or to provide backup power to the grid or connected building, acting as a commercial virtual power plant.

MarsCharger Lite is a first-of-its-kind mobile DC fast charger, able to fit inside any sized car trunk. It can also be recharged through a traditional wall outlet and double as a power bank for devices and appliances.

How did you develop this idea?

During college, I decided to build an electric motorcycle. I built the battery by hand in my apartment, worked on the body and chassis at my grandmother's house, and made sure to follow federal standards so I could ride it on the roads.

After it was built, I realized I had no way to DC fast charge it. There were no moveable battery-powered DC charging systems that existed. At the same time I was building the motorcycle, I was doing deep research on electric vehicle (EV) charging and the challenges our electrical grid would face with EV charging infrastructure deployment.

I noticed a huge opportunity for large stationary chargers that can store and release energy.

What is your connection with Chattanooga?

MarsCharge was accepted into The Company Lab's Sustainable Mobility Accelerator, and as part of that program, I stayed in the city for several weeks. As many people know, Chattanooga is not just a major transportation hub, but also sits in the heart of "The Battery Belt" — territory in the South where EV, battery and other related manufacturing is being deployed at a massive scale.

Through the accelerator, I worked with and/or continue to work with EPB, Volkswagen and the Tennessee Valley Authority.

Can you share your experience arriving to the program this winter?

I had a chance to experience Tennessee hospitality first-hand when I was trapped in ice storm going to Chattanooga. I found myself trapped in the town of New Hope after I tried to circumnavigate an accident on Interstate 24. My vehicle was okay, but all exits and entrances were blocked by crashed cars.

I was invited to stay with local family one night, but by morning, the roads had only gotten worse, so there was no way to drive out.

The highways were clear at this point, and I didn't want to miss the first day of the program, so I put my suit, laptop and necessities in my backpack and hiked to the highway on some back trails. I figured I could get an Uber or taxi, but none would come.

At this point, I asked to stand in local real estate office lobby to get out of the cold. A man at the front desk overheard my calls and offered to give me a ride into the city. I made it on time to the first day of the accelerator.

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