Natalie King makes bold move into EV market

Natalie King is a trailblazer. The founder and CEO of Dunamis Charge fairly crackles with energy herself, so it is no surprise she became the first Black woman-owned, electric vehicle (EV) charging station manufacturer in the world.

“I’m very entrepreneurial and a go-getter,” she said. “If the right opportunity comes along, I’m going to jump into it. Sometimes that means jumping into the deep end, but how else will you learn to swim?”

As Dunamis Charge ramps up production on its patented EV charging stations, King remembered her first big break. She founded Dunamis Clean Energy Partners LLC in 2012, providing energy-efficient service solutions such as energy auditing and energy management services for industrial customers. After a couple of years, she realized that the solutions where the company saw the most impact were around light-emitting diode (LED) lighting upgrades.

“After analyzing the data and seeing how quickly the industry was growing, we thought it would be beneficial for us to make the product ourselves,” she said. “So, I began manufacturing LED lighting in 2015.”

This expansion into the product side involved working with established original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in Asia. King was able to offer competitive pricing which eventually won her a contract with Toyota Motor North America Inc., a partnership that would spur her on to even greater heights.


Lessons learned

“To have been given the opportunity to manage a project of that size really helped me to learn and to grow in order to meet demand. My company was a small business, so there were some growing pains, but Toyota was behind me all the way,” she said.

The Toyota team helped King navigate the logistics, documentation and building capacity necessary to supply a major corporation. To her, the experience exemplifies why supplier diversity is so important.

“That first experience with Toyota was challenging — to say the least — but I learned so much,” she said. “To have a Fortune 100 company take a chance on a small, minority-woman-owned business — and not just take a chance but guide me through the learning curves. The impact of that was huge because if you’re never given an opportunity, then how are you going to grow?”

Charging forward

King’s entrepreneurial spirit took over again in 2018 when she decided to expand her interests into EV charging stations.

“I knew it was something we could do — with our experience manufacturing LED lighting, and EVs are something I believe in,” she said.

King envisioned Dunamis Charge as the producer of dependable, eco-friendly EV charging stations for both urban and rural communities. Initially, she looked to OEM manufacturers in Asia as potential partners, like she did for LED lighting.

“I spent some time in Asia trying to identify some partners, but it was very difficult. We could not find a factory [where] we felt confident in the quality control, testing and certifications,” she said.

EVs were still an emergent industry in 2018, meaning few manufacturers had the experience and infrastructure King wanted. Once again, she decided to create her own solution.

“We started doing our own research and development here in the States, and by 2019, I had made the decision to do everything right here in our own backyard — engineering, manufacturing, everything,” she said.

King brought in an engineering team — as well as consultants familiar with the recent technology — then found a manufacturing plant on the east side of Detroit.

“We are right next to the historic Packard plant and about half a mile from General Motors [Co.’s] ‘Factory ZERO,’” she said. GM’s Factory ZERO is the automaker’s first fully dedicated all-EV facility with contiguous battery assembly.

Thanks to pandemic-related supply-chain disruptions, production was delayed for almost two years. King used that time to refine engineering and renovate the manufacturing plant, making it easy to scale as demand increased.

“The plant has the capacity for four production lines with each producing about 100,000 units annually,” she said. “We will start with one production line, but as demand increases, we have the ability to add additional production lines with about a two-week ramp-up time.”

Commercial units started coming off the line in early 2023, with production increasing in the second quarter of the year.

The location of the Dunamis Charge manufacturing plant is strategic in many ways. While it allows King better control and oversight of the manufacturing process and is conveniently located with respect to automobile OEMs, headquartering in Detroit means bringing new jobs to an underprivileged area.

Her history-making effort is not going unnoticed. She was recently a panelist for the U.S. Small Business Administration’s second annual Women’s Business Summit at the White House. During the event, President Joe Biden announced added resources to support women small-business owners. Dunamis Clean Energy Partners LLC was also one of five companies highlighted in a fact sheet released by the White House in 2022 titled “Biden-Harris Administration Insuring Future is Made in America.” The document praises the company for its training and workforce development efforts, which “will focus on underrepresented, economically disadvantaged communities most impacted by greenhouse gas emissions.”

“I’m very passionate about job creation in our communities,” King said. “Within 24 months of operation, our goal is to hire approximately 150 people from the surrounding community.”

Bringing “green collar” jobs to the Detroit area will have a positive economic impact, but she is hoping to have an environmental impact as well.

“We are located in a very low-income community that has had its fair share of challenges with respect to greenhouse gas emissions and environmental pollution,” King said. “We want to make sure that not only are we building EV chargers here — made in America by American workers, but [also] we’re hiring from communities that wouldn’t otherwise have the access or the knowledge with respect to EVs.”

As employees become more familiar and comfortable with EVs, she anticipates education and awareness of clean-energy transportation options spreading through a demographic that might not trust the modern technology otherwise.

“It’s a holistic approach,” King said. “Because they have their hands on this technology every day, they’re going to take that knowledge back to their communities; their families are going to see it. When it’s time to purchase their next vehicle, they will be interested in EVs.”

She hopes her story serves as an encouragement for other minorities and women to pursue — or create — opportunities that might seem out of reach.

“I think being the first Black woman in the world to manufacture EV chargers is really cool representation,” King said. “I think it gives other women-owned and minority-owned companies the confidence to go after their own opportunities. It’s not just job creation, it’s career creation. It’s enabling other entrepreneurs to get out there and innovate.”


To learn more about Dunamis Charge, visit and follow @dunamischarge on social platforms.


To learn more about Dunamis Clean Energy Partners, visit


Dunamis Charge Dunamis Clean Energy Partners Natalie King first Black woman-owned electric vehicle (EV) charging station manufacturer electric vehicle charging station EV Electrical vehicle light-emitting diode LED Toyota U.S. Small Business Administration’s second annual Women’s Business Summit

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