Corporate investors pile into electric vehicle startups

Audi Repair Shop Doylestown
Call 267 279 9477 to schedule a appointment


DETROIT — Corporate investors from outside the auto industry are placing increasing bets on

electric vehicles

, vying with automakers and suppliers to bankroll startup companies working on everything from advanced batteries to charging devices and all-new

EVs

.

Some 250 startups involved in some aspect of electrification have attracted more than $20 billion in venture capital, notably from a broad array of corporations across multiple industries, according to a

Reuters

analysis of publicly available data.

“Electrification will set off a number of economic changes in the traditional value chain in and around vehicles,” said

Reilly Brennan

, managing director of San Francisco-based Trucks Venture Capital.

Because of those changes, in addition to funding EV development, investors see revenue opportunities in related markets, such as consumer products and home energy, Brennan said.

Such opportunities are underpinned by steady improvements in lithium-ion batteries’ energy, prompting forecasts for a surge in fleet electrification amid global efforts to fight fuel consumption and emissions from traditional internal combustion engines.

Big oil companies such as

BP

PLC and Royal Dutch

Shell

PLC see EV-related investments partly as a hedge against dwindling demand for fossil fuels for privately owned vehicles, according to venture investor Evangelos Simoudis, managing director of Synapse Partners.

But they also see an opportunity to provide electric vehicle charging at fuel stations that now dispense gasoline and

diesel

.

Simoudis, who advises corporate executives on new mobility innovation strategy, said aerospace companies have a vested interest, too, in startups working on advanced battery systems: “

Boeing

and

Airbus

are both working on electric planes.”

Large telecommunication companies such as

Verizon

Communications Inc will play a role in connected electric vehicles, while semiconductor makers such as

Intel

Corp and

Qualcomm

Inc see their computer chips being used in an increasing number of applications in future electric and self-driving vehicles, Simoudis added.

Far and away the most active corporate investor in electrification so far is Intel, which has backed battery startups Prieto, Qnovo and Enovix and charging startups

WiTricity

and Chargifi.

Global automakers are heavily invested in battery startups. The field includes

General Motors Co

,

BMW

AG,

Daimler

AG,

Renault

SA,

Nissan Motor Co

,

Hyundai

Motor Co and

SAIC

Motor Corp.

Outside the auto industry, corporate investors in battery startups include technology companies

Samsung

Electronics and

Motorola

Solutions Inc and energy company Schlumberger NV.

Dozens of the startups focused on EV charging and infrastructure have been funded by many of the same corporate investors, including

Chevron

Corp and ABB AG.

The greatest interest from investors, however, is in EV startups. There are more than 50 globally, including several high-profile and well-funded

Tesla

wannabes based in China.

Corporate investment in China’s startups has come from big Chinese companies such as automaker

FAW

Car Co and battery maker

Contemporary Amperex Technology Co

, which have backed

Byton

; automaker Zhejiang

Geely

Holding Group and technology firm

Baidu

Inc, which have funded

WM Motor

, and internet giant

Alibaba

Group Holding, which has invested in

Xiaopeng Motors

.

In the United States,

GM

and BMW have backed

Proterra

, the electric bus maker, while

Caterpillar

Inc, which is best known for heavy construction machinery, has invested in Henrik

Fisker’s

latest electric vehicle project, Fisker Inc.

Reporting by Paul Lienert.

Related Video:

from Autoblog http://bit.ly/2skjTq8

Please follow and like us:

, , ,

Comments are closed.