Increased mobility is one of the great accomplishments of the industrial age. We can get to places much faster whether it is for work, to visit friends and family, for sightseeing, or to participate in an event. Those gains, however, have come at a variety of costs, including a major contribution to the climate crisis from the emissions of internal combustion engine vehicles. Globally, transportation accounts for somewhere between a fourth and a fifth of all CO2 emissions and road passenger transportation (cars, motorcycles, buses, etc.) are nearly half of that (see breakdown by Our World in Data).
The great news is that we know how to build zero emission vehicles using electric motors (note: obviously for this to be truly emission free, the grid needs to be decarbonized also). With amazing improvements in the performance and price of batteries, the cost to store a kWh of electricity has come down by 97% over the last three decades and is continuing to drop further.
It is crucial to make the transition to EVs everywhere, but especially so in places with rapidly growing economies and many people adding new vehicles to the road such as India, China and Africa. For instance, in India alone, there are over 20 million new vehicles every year. If these are added as EVs that will have a huge impact on the carbon footprint of transportation.
Beyond batteries, there are two other important enabling technologies required to build EVs: an operating system and a charging network. An EV is really a rolling computer with crucial information being shuttled between the battery and the electric motors in real time. While many companies can combine hardware into interesting different EV form factors, few of them also have extensive software capabilities (this is not unlike the smartphone market, with many handset makers enabled by Android).
The second key enabler is a pervasive charging network. Gasoline is highly flammable and toxic, making distribution challenging. Electricity on the other hand is nearly everywhere. Especially 2-wheeler and 3-wheeler EVs, since they are lighter and thus require less energy, can be charged readily from existing outlets. What’s needed though is the infrastructure to meter and pay for electricity.
We are excited to announce our investment in REVOS which provides both of these enabling technologies. Started by Mohit Yadav and Jyotiranjan Harichandan, REVOS already has multiple OEMs licensing their Operating System and the Bolt charging network is expanding rapidly across India. Bolt is an ultra low-cost add-on for existing electric outlets that enables the scaling of a P2P charging infrastructure.