electric vehicle being charged

If you build it, they will drive electric

The role of financing in building infrastructure critical for electric vehicle adoption

By: Iti Jain and Jason Thompson

 

An homage to the 1989 drama film Field of Dreams, the title of this blog encapsulates the once-in-a-lifetime transition happening in the global transportation sector and the need to build the accompanying charging infrastructure. As of 2018, the transportation sector accounted for 17% of global greenhouse gas emissions and while progress has been made in the transition to electric vehicles (EVs) since then, a substantial amount of work remains incomplete.

 

The transition’s scope drives the need for profound solutions that are tailored to every combination of consumer, challenge, and capital requirement – there is no one-size-fits-all approach. The acceleration of the electric-mobility revolution is dependent upon the perfect culmination of people demanding action to reduce emissions, technological advancements enabling cost reduction, innovative financing solutions, and government regulations for EV adoption. In addition, it is dependent on the availability of charging infrastructure that keeps EVs moving.

 

Early on in the development of the EV market, automotive and clean energy company Tesla recognized the need for a nation-wide network of high-quality and high-speed EV charging infrastructure with a top-notch customer experience. The company’s heritage of a closed network evoked exclusivity from which it benefited, preventing interoperability and ensuring that its chargers could be used only for its own vehicles. This created a hurdle for competitors but while Tesla has since announced plans to open its chargers to other vehicle manufacturers, open-network charging infrastructure caught up in a hurry.

 

Convenience, cost, and customer experience are paramount in the design and implementation of EV charging infrastructure. For successful mass-transition to EVs, consumers must have peace of mind backed by the availability of accessible vehicle chargers throughout their journey – irrespective of their use case, travel distance, or vehicle make. The confidence that they have in today’s gas stations to be nearby and provide quick access to affordable “fuel” and other amenities, like food and restrooms, must be replicated.

 

Investors may hesitate to support the development of EV charging infrastructure due to concerns about demand and EV adoption. But what comes first – the chicken or the egg? Backed by Siemens’ technology and mobility expertise, at SFS we understand that investments in the development of charging infrastructure are needed to build consumer confidence and trust. The progression toward mainstream EV adoption requires a seamless experience between work, home, play, and on-route charging.

 

Through our investment portfolio at Siemens Financial Services (SFS) as well as Siemens’ strategic partnerships, we’re bringing together an ecosystem of diverse players that are the puzzle pieces needed to drive the transition to EVs forward. For every combination of consumer, challenge, and capital requirement, there is a custom solution ready for deployment.

 

We recently invested in Electrify America (EA), which owns and operates the largest open fast-charging network in the U.S. and Canada. Siemens is the first external shareholder of Electrify America (EA), alongside Volkswagen AG (VW). The EA network provides best-in-class public charging to all EV drivers regardless of vehicle make. SFS and VW’s investments will help EA expand its convenient, reliable, customer-centric network at workplaces, in communities, and on highways. Innovative technology is at the core of offering reliable fast-charging and this investment establishes Siemens as a strategic technology partner to EA. As this network expands, so will the willingness of consumers to make the change.

 

Dedicated to making sustainable transformations easier for everyone involved, SFS not only invests in technology that reduces carbon emissions, but in business models that ease the adoption of these technologies. For fleet operators working with cars, trucks, buses, and vans, the cost of EVs and accompanying charging infrastructure is a barrier that delays their transition.

 

Now owned by BP, AMPLY Power Inc. is a California-based company that provides Charging-as-a-Service (CaaS) to de-risk and accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles by commercial fleet operators through its simple price-per-mile-driven model and no up-front capital investment requirement. SFS invested in AMPLY to accelerate deployment of this strategy, enabling fleets to decarbonize with a unique support model that allows them to stay focused on their core business of moving people or goods.

 

SFS also participated in the acquisition of Switzer-Carty Transportation along with Terramont Infrastructure Partners and The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company (Manulife). Switzer-Carty provides safe, reliable, and essential student transportation services to 96,000 students daily in Canada. Sustainable mobility and replacing a large number of the company’s diesel buses with electric buses is a main focus of the acquisition. In addition to reducing carbon emissions, this would decrease noise pollution and improve quality of life for our children and the community at large.

 

Additionally, SFS recently invested in 7 Generation Capital (7Gen), a Vancouver-based EV and charging infrastructure leasing company that provides end-to-end services for fleet operators to transition to EVs. The investment will help in accelerating the deployment of its electric trucks and buses, as well as the development of its software platform to facilitate project development. Along with the investment, Siemens became a strategic partner to help 7Gen navigate the evolving EV industry.

 

Last year, Siemens launched the eMobility Partner Ecosystem to increase accessibility of its EV charging infrastructure and SFS’ financing solutions to new markets such as workplaces, retail spaces, multi-unit dwellings, residential developments, and utility programs.

 

Siemens has identified eMobility as a key growth driver and we are committed to playing our part in the transition to a sustainable future. We hope to look back one day from a world moved by EVs where we’ll know that our SFS investments made a difference, and we encourage others to take the ride with us.

Iti Jain

Vice President

Equity Investments

Siemens Financial Services, Inc.

 

Jason Thompson

Vice President

Equity Investments

Siemens Financial Services, Inc.