Inspiration wants to help commercial fleets go electric, and it has already started funding the blue Tesla fleet of electric mobility company Revel. The start-up, which finances electric vehicles and plans to build, own and operate the corresponding charging infrastructure, slipped out on Wednesday with an initial pledge of $ 200 million.
The funding comes from ArcLight Capital Partners, a venture capital fund that invests in energy infrastructure. Josh Green, founder and CEO of Inspiration, described the funding as an investment in a platform business, an investment that allows Inspiration to use that money to invest in infrastructure assets, such as vehicles and charging solutions, as well as for general business purposes. In other words, it’s the capital of the balance sheet, and Inspiration is just beginning.
The company, which is operating at its lowest since the end of the first quarter of this year, is in talks with several other investors to raise more money needed to continue funding vehicles and other infrastructure-related assets, like systems. energies such as solar energy that power the recharge. infrastructure, energy storage systems and real estate, according to Green.
“We’re a finance company, so we’ll always raise money from the right sources to lower the cost of capital and be able to offer EVs to larger segments of the population,” Green told TechCrunch. . “Our near term goals are to expand into all light and medium segments and use cases and build the leading EV solutions company in North America. In doing so, we want to be seen as the go-to partner for fleet companies who want a personalized, turnkey EV solution from an aligned partner fully focused on the same end goal: delivering maximum economic value from fleets of VE while achieving meaningful goals. GHG reductions.
Inspiration aims to cater to three types of customers. The first is what the startup calls the emerging electric vehicle fleet operators, venture capital-backed companies that were born on the basis of an electric vehicle fleet. Brooklyn-based Revel, the company that started with dockless electric mopeds and has since expanded to a questionable Tesla fleet and a super electric vehicle charging hub, falls into this category. Earlier this year, Inspiration helped Revel secure 49 EVs for its limited service before New York’s Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) got wind of it and made it clear that only one vehicle for hire, even an electric one. , would need a TLC license plate.
“We are acting as a heavy capital partner so that they can use their venture capital dollars to scale customer acquisition of their technology platform and partner with us for vehicles, vehicle infrastructure. recharging, energy infrastructure, real estate – all of the other components of sustainable assets that are quite expensive but necessary to successfully deploy and scale an electric vehicle fleet, ”said Green.
The second customer segment is traditional fleet operators, like a NYC Yellow Cab company, who need help transitioning their otherwise ICE-based fleet to electric.
“Basically our goal with these guys is to make deploying an EV fleet as easy and straightforward as buying another Toyota Camry and giving the driver the key,” Green said. “For these customers, we help them understand which vehicles are the right ones to meet their needs, based on their daily drive cycle and their range and downtime. Then, we design and implement the charging infrastructure as a system serving these vehicles to ensure business continuity. “
Corporate fleets are the last category of customers, and these are typical Fortune 500 companies that donate company cars to sales and operations employees. Usually, these types of companies are looking for easy ways to meet their emissions targets.
Inspiration aims to provide tailor-made service to clients in all categories. It can provide a complete solution, says Green, from financing vehicles to providing and operating charging infrastructure to working with energy companies to ensure efficient use of electricity. Or customers can choose the services they need à la carte.
Green believes that charging infrastructure is an integral part of the business, especially because installing it at a fleet level can be quite expensive and robust.
“Because recharging the fleet requires a lot more energy in one place, it is very important to understand the energy tariffs and utility tariff structures and how they are billed, the right time to meet the needs. needs of the fleet, but also so you don’t get killed by your application costs, is really important, ”said Green. “In addition, the calculation of the load side varies considerably depending on the location. In New York, for example, the incentives and pricing structures are very different than if you did in New Orleans. So, the economic benefit of the electric vehicle fleet has to take into account many factors, which change by location, and we do this analysis for our customers. “
Green, who has been working in climate and clean energy since 2003, founded the startup after a 14-month honeymoon around the world, a journey that started with ClimateTech burnout and ended with a renewed motivation to contribute to the fight against climate change. After retracing the stages he took in Patagonia twenty years ago to see first-hand how climate change had transformed once-familiar landscapes, Green has returned to the movement again.
“I started to think about where I could really put my shoulder against the wheel, and EVs continued to emerge as this area that has huge potential,” Green said. “Transportation is the biggest source of emissions in the United States. Electric vehicles are now a field where the technology is ready, there are no technological barriers. The state of battery technology means that all of these vehicles now have a basic range capable of satisfying just about any application on the commercial side. So it really became a funding and deployment issue to work out, and these are things I have a good idea of how to tackle.