If it’s Green and good, investors are pouring money towards it. When it comes to Green cars, corporate investors from in and 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.
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 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.
Yes, Henrik Fisker, the guy that we have filmed and followed for a few decades has another project. What is it? Stay tuned as I will ask!