Volta, a San-Francisco based EV charging company, partners with retailers, shopping malls, grocery chains, and others to place Volta’s chargers in prime parking spots in front of their businesses.
The charging stations will also come with two billboard-sized screens for displaying advertising.
An initial 15 minutes of charging is free to customers.
California State Government supports the deployment of zero-emissions vehicles and fill gaps in the state’s EV infrastructure.
- Company: Volta
- Investors/Partners: Various real estate and retail partners
- Investor: Sk Innovation (South Korea)
- Investor: Total SE (France)
- Governing body: California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC)
- Significant upfront costs for the installation of EV charging infrastructure and the small revenue streams from consumer charging has lead to slow recoupment of the initial investments. This presents a large barrier to entry into the EV charging market.
- A lack of EV charging infrastructure is a factor in consumers not adopting electric vehicles.
- Volta splits the cost of building the charger with the partner/commercial client and collects a recurring fee for the increased customer traffic to the locations where the chargers are installed.
- The advertising on the billboards will also generate significant revenue upfront, leading to a wider profit margin, and faster payback time per charger.
Results and impact
- Financing: As of January 2021, Volta has raised over USD200 million in financing through a combination of partnerships and equity.
- Macy’s partnership: In April of 2021, Volta expanded their existing partnership with Macy’s to deliver 100 Volta charging stations at Macy’s locations in addition to the existing 40. Since 2014, Macy’s and Volta have powered more than 7.6 million miles with zero tailpipe emissions. The partnership has further offset an estimated 3.4 million pounds of CO2 emissions, delivered 2.2 million kWh and saved 305,100 gallons of gas through hundreds of thousands of charge sessions.
- High utilisation: Currently, there are 1714 Volta charging stations in 200 cities across 23 states in the USA. Volta stations are currently 80% utilised. On average, Volta charging stations host 10-12 charging sessions a day, whereas other pay-as-you-go charging stations attract one or two.
- Projected returns: The company expects to break even on an EBITDA basis in 2022 and turn a profit in 2023. Its 2025 forecasts are for USD252 million in EBITDA on USD826 million in revenue, with sales about doubling each year from 2020’s USD25 million. Volta expects that by 2035, 37% of its revenue will come from advertising and sponsorships, and 7% from selling the data its network generates
Key lessons learnt
- Government legislative support is crucial for the uptake of EVs and supporting infrastructure. In 2018, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) issued a proposed decision that would authorize Southern California Edison (SCE) to invest USD442 million to, among other things, deploy approximately 40,600 electric vehicle charge ports in its service area. The state’s support for transportation electrification has created a favourable market environment and incentivises companies such as Volta to capitalise on this new emerging market opportunity.
- The ownership model of the charging station as well as the alleviation of initial costs (50% paid by partners) leads to faster cost recovery which creates incentive for Volta and other utility companies to invest in the installation of EV charging infrastructure.