Investment Opportunity, Innovation & Drivers into Mobility & Transport
By Will Parkhouse. Will is a Director in Zeren’s Commercial team, specialising in placing Commercial hires into the SaaS market.
The world’s population is now more than three larger than it was in the mid-20th century, hitting 8 billion in November of 2022.
As it stands today, around 4.4bn live in cities with the World Bank estimating that when the global population reaches an expected 9.7bn by 2050, around 70% of people will be residing within urban centres. Unsurprising that cities are key contributors to greenhouse gas emissions (accounting for over 70%) with their transport systems and the carbon-intensive infrastructure supporting them becoming an increasingly urgent target for transformation as the Net Zero deadline looms.
As a result of this need, the mobility and transport segment within climate tech has been one of the largest recipients of VC funding in recent years with solutions for electric car batteries, EV charging and ride-hailing platforms proving particularly popular. EVs enjoyed increasing sales success, evidenced by a 40% rise in the UK alone between 2021 and 2022, however, recent reports indicate that (in the UK) in 2023 sales are in decline as consumers grow frustrated with the lack of charging infrastructure. This should create a fertile ground for a range of innovative startup technology to support their operation and ongoing proliferation across our mobility networks.
While the cost of EVs is still prohibitive for many, we’re seeing new platforms such as Halo working to improve access to them through innovative rental services. Currently being trialled in Las Vegas, with backing from Earthshot Ventures, T-Mobile and Boost VC, HALO ENERGY LIMITED remote drivers deliver rental EVs to subscribers where and when they need them. An interesting idea to contribute towards the transition away from petrol and diesel vehicles and one to keep an eye on as the trial continues this year.
It hasn’t been all positive as UK-based battery manufacturer, Britishvolt, moved into administration last month. Seen by some as a sign that investment in the sector may be about to enter a more hesitant period, many argue that if climate change remains such a profound threat to our world, solutions designed to combat it will continue to enjoy the support of investors.
“As tech and crypto retrench amidst the economic downturn, climate tech investing will emerge as a relatively predictable haven for entrepreneurs, tech refugees, and investors. The inevitable impacts of climate change, alongside the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act, will create the conditions/precedent for a long bull run across the climate tech landscape.”
Facing increasing pressure from legislators, investors and consumers, the transportation industry will continue to be a key focal point for innovation in 2023.
To get on track for the 2050 target, emissions in the sector will need to fall by 3% per year in the run-up to the 2030 reduction goal. Achieving these reductions will likely see further work across regulation, fiscal incentive structures and continuing investment in the technologies underpinning a greener approach to transport moving forwards.
It’s set to be an exciting year with several innovative developments and projects aiming to support the clean transport mission and wider goal of de-carbonisation:
- Virgin Atlantic, with funding from the UK Government, is aiming to launch the first zero-emissions flight from New York to London utilising 100% SAF (Sustainable Aviation Fuel).
- The maritime industry may be set for some much-needed innovation with a £77m investment from the government to get zero-emissions vessels sailing in UK waters by 2025.
- Faced with ageing infrastructure, a challenging supply chain and increasingly challenging weather events, the energy supply for EVs will need to adapt. Bi-directional charging is gaining momentum this year with key players including Volkswagen AG, Kaluza, OVO Energy and Indra developing V2X solutions to help the ever-increasing number of EV drivers reduce their energy and mobility costs, sell surplus power back to the grid and accelerate decarbonisation through intelligent charging and renewable energy generation.
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