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
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
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
Outside the auto industry, corporate investors in battery startups include technology companies Samsung Electronics and Motorola Solutions Inc
Dozens of the startups focused on EV charging and infrastructure have been funded by many of the same corporate investors, including Chevron Corp
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 [GEELY.UL] and technology firm Baidu Inc
In the United States, GM and BMW have backed Proterra, the electric bus maker, while Caterpillar Inc
(This article has not been edited by Zeebiz editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)