The backer of Australian e-mobility exports Tritium and Novonix has joined a new round of funding for Revel, which operates a ride-hail fleet of Tesla electric cars in New York powered by the largest EV charging site in the Americas, known as a “Superhub”.
The St Baker Energy Innovation Fund, which is headed by coal baron Trevor St Baker, will input $US6.5 million ($9 million) into Revel’s upcoming plans to expand its Superhub network amid a trillion-dollar electric vehicle infrastructure drive by the US government.
The $US126 million ($A175 million) fund raising, which also takes in global players like BlackRock Renewable Power, Toyota Ventures, Goodyear Ventures, Shell Ventures, Broadscale Group and Knighthead Capital Management, brings its total funding influx to $US165 million ($A230 million).
It will enable the e-mobility company further expand into other major US cities, with 10 to 25 chargers at each location.
“Urban charging infrastructure is the missing piece that’s kept millions of drivers from making the switch to EVs, and with this funding Revel will be able to build it in cities across the country,” Revel CEO and co-founder Frank Reig said in a statement.
Notably, the company already has a deal with EV rapid-charger maker Brisbane-based Tritium, which is also backed by St Baker and along with Novonix (which is ramping up plans to make synthetic graphite for electric vehicle batteries) listed on the tech-focussed Nasdaq recently.
In a deal with Revel in July 2021, Tritium announced it had supplied charging units for the company’s Brooklyn Superhub where it operates an all-Tesla fleet in striking blue livery.
Tritium also supplies rapid-chargers to Evie Networks, another St Baker-backed company, and the energy fund says that this experience in the charging sector has given it the nous to see Revel’s potential.
“We are really excited by Revel’s ability to grow what started as an electric moped business into a full-service fleet offering, as well as open access charging infrastructure, at a time when President Biden is providing unprecedented support for EV infrastructure,” said St Baker Energy Innovation Fund boss Rodger Whitby in a statement.
With Tritium nabbing global attention recently as CEO Jane Hunter shared the stage with US president Biden on plans of a US manufacturing plant, there is no question that investing further into the electric vehicle ecosystem is an attractive proposition for the likes of St Baker.
Biden’s plans include 500,000 more EV chargers throughout the US, and although Revel is keeping tight-lipped on which US cities it will expand into, it appears there are also plans to expand its taxi operations.
As opposed to ride-share platforms where car owners drive their own vehicles without the guarantee of income or benefits, Revel says it differs in that it employs drivers to operate its own fleet of cars, guaranteeing paid time off, other employee benefits, and 100% of tips received.
With 50 Tesla Model Y electric crossovers already in its New York fleet, the company was able to get its taxi operations approved above and beyond current New York’s Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) caps thanks to its zero-emissions and wheel-chair accessible vehicles, according to Techcrunch.
A spokesperson for Revel said that it has done 93,000 rides since it started operations in 2021, and will make more announcements regarding its taxi plans soon.
Bridie Schmidt is associate editor for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018, and has a keen interest in the role that zero-emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum. Bridie also owns a Tesla Model Y and has it available for hire on evee.com.au.