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Planning 500,000 charging points for EVs by 2025, Shell becomes the latest company swept up in EV charging boom

Shell’s plan to roll out 500,000 electric charging station in just four years is the latest sign of an EV charging infrastructure boom that has prompted investors to pour cash into the industry and inspired a few companies to become public companies in search of the capital needed to meet demand.

Since the beginning of the year, three companies have been acquired by special purpose acquisition vehicles and are on a path to go public, while a third has raised tens of millions from some of the biggest names in private equity investing for its own path to commercial viability.

The SPAC attack began in September when an electric vehicle charging network ChargePoint struck a deal to merge with special-purpose acquisition company Switchback Energy Acquisition Corporation, with a market valuation of $2.4 billion. The company’s public listing will debut February 16 on the New York Stock Exchange.

In January, EVgo, an owner and operator of electric vehicle charging infrastructure, agreed to merge with the SPAC Climate Change Crisis Real Impact I Acquisition for a valuation of $2.6 billion— a huge win for the company’s privately held owner, the power development and investment company LS Power. LS Power and EVgo management, which today own 100% of the company will be rolling all of its equity into the transaction. Once the transaction closes in the second quarter, LS Power and EVgo will hold a 74% stake in the newly combined company.

One more deal soon followed. Volta Industries agreed to merge this month with Tortoise Acquisition II, a tie-up that would give the charging company named after battery inventor Alessandro Volta a $1.4 billion valuation. The deal sent shares of the SPAC company, trading under the ticker SNPR, rocketing up 31.9% in trading earlier this week to $17.01. The stock is currently trading around $15 per-share.

 

Not to be outdone, private equity firms are also getting into the game. Riverstone Holdings, one of the biggest names in private equity energy investment, placed its own bet on the charging space with an investment in FreeWire. That company raised $50 million in new round of funding earlier this year.

“The writing is on the wall and the investors have to take the time. There’s been a flight out of the traditional investment opportunities in markets,” said FreeWire chief executive, Arcady Sosinov, in an interview. “There’s been a flight out fo the oil and gas companies and out fo the traditional utilities. You have to look at other opportunities… This is going to be the largest growth opportunity of the next ten years.”

FreeWire deploys its infrastructure with BP currently, but the company’s charging technology can be rolled out to fast food companies, post offices, grocery stores, or anywhere where people go and spend somewhere between 20 minutes and an hour. With the Biden Administration’s plan to boost EV adoption in federal fleets, post offices actually represent another big opportunity for charging networks, Sosinov said.

“One of the reasons we find electrification of mobility so attractive is because it’s not if or how, it’s when,” said Robert Tichio, a partner at Riverstone in charge of the firm’s ESG efforts. “Penetration rates are incredibly low… compare that to Norway or Northern Europe. They have already achieved double digit percentages.”

A recent Super Bowl commercial from GM featuring Will Farrell showed just how far ahead Norway is when it comes to electric vehicle adoption. 

“The demands onc capital in the electrification of transport will begin to approach three quarters of a trillion annually,” Tichio said. “The short answer to your question is that the needs for capital now that we have collectively, politically, socially economically come to a consensus in terms of where we’re going and we couldn’t say that 18 months ago is going to be at a tipping point.”

Shell already has electric vehicle charging infrastructure that it has deployed in some markets. Back in 2019 the company acquired the Los Angeles-based company Greenlots, an EV charging developer. And earlier this year Shell made another move into electric vehicle charging with the acquisition of Ubitricity in the UK.

“As our customers’ needs evolve, we will increasingly offer a range of alternative energy sources, supported by digital technologies, to give people choice and the flexibility, wherever they need to go and whatever they drive,” said Mark Gainsborough, Executive Vice President, New Energies for Shell, in a statement at the time of the Greenlots acquisition. “This latest investment in meeting the low-carbon energy needs of US drivers today is part of our wider efforts to make a better tomorrow. It is a step towards making EV charging more accessible and more attractive to utilities, businesses and communities.”

 

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Source: https://techcrunch.com/2021/02/11/planning-500000-charging-points-for-evs-by-2025-shell-becomes-the-latest-company-swept-up-in-ev-charging-boom/
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Jonathan Shieber

Mastercard will support cryptocurrency payments later this year

7f983920-6c53-11eb-bfe3-0f4a19bb87c0Mastercard has become the latest payment company to give cryptocurrencies its blessing. The financial services firm has begun preparations to support select cryptocurrencies later this year, Mastercard’s digital asset and blockchain VP Raj Dhamodhara…

Source: https://www.engadget.com/mastercard-cryptocurrency-support-113518862.html
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Chip Shortage Affecting Everything Including PS5 and Cars

Chip-Shortage-Featured.jpg Last year the global health crisis hit the tech industry right away with a laptop shortage. Now it has led to a chip shortage. And that, in turn, is affecting everything – including the PS5 and the auto industry. The Chip Shortage It’s the good and the bad of the effects of the pandemic on the tech industry. The rush of remote work and remote learning led to many people snatching up available laptops. Additionally, because they were spending such additional time at home, the public bought all sorts of other tech, too. Along with… Read more14279766.gif

Source: https://tracking.feedpress.com/link/12555/14279766/chip-shortage-affecting-everything-including-ps5-cars
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Laura Tucker

A silicon chip shortage is causing automakers to idle their factories

A silicon chip shortage is causing automakers to idle their factories

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson / Getty Images)

You may have noticed that it’s difficult to get a hold of new high-end graphics cards and game consoles these days. In large part, that’s due to an ongoing global shortage affecting semiconductor foundries. As it turns out, the problem is even more pronounced in the auto industry. In fact, it’s getting so bad that a number of OEMs, including Ford and General Motors, have had to go as far as idling shifts and even entire factories.

Ford had to stop production in Kentucky in December of 2020, and in January, it ordered a month-long pause at a German factory. Stellantis (the new company formed by a merger between Fiat Chrysler and Peugeot) reduced output at factories in the US, Mexico, and Canada around the same time. As did Audi, which had to idle 10,000 employees in Germany, CEO Markus Duesmann telling the Financial Times that the problem involved “a very long chain with different supply levels on the components that we are short.” Subaru’s Gunma factory in Japan has been affected. Production of Toyota’s Texas-produced Tundra has, too.

This week, more hits keep coming. Mazda just announced it might have to cut output by 34,000 units this year due to a lack of chips. Nissan’s truck factory in Mississippi has reduced its hours. And on Wednesday, GM said it will halt production at factories in Kansas, Canada, Mexico, and South Korea. In many cases, the automakers are trying to prioritize their more in-demand products, but as some of those closures show, that isn’t always possible.

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Source: https://arstechnica.com/?p=1739716
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Jonathan M. Gitlin

Elon Musk addresses some of the Model 3’s production issues

5b280a30-66d5-11eb-9ff7-c3cb9debbe49In a conversation with Canadian-American automotive engineer Sandy Munro, Tesla chief Elon Musk explained some of Model 3’s production issues. Munro sat with Musk for an interview at the SpaceX facility in Boca Chica, Texas where he asked the executi…

Source: https://www.engadget.com/tesla-elon-musk-model-3-production-issues-120515595.html
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Comcast delays 12-state data cap expansion to July

479931d0-412c-11ea-bbfb-dfea489061f9Comcast customers in more than a dozen Northeastern states won’t have to worry about broadband data overages just yet. In November, the company announced it would implement a 1.2TB data cap at the start of 2021 on broadband users in Connecticut, Dela…

Source: https://www.engadget.com/comcast-1-2-tb-data-cap-delay-july-180500169.html
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Silicon Valley backlash grows as vocal tech faction boycotts

Silicon Valley may be a “state of mind,” but it’s also very much a real enclave in Northern California. Now, a growing faction of the tech industry is boycotting it.

Why it matters: The Bay Area is facing for the first time the prospect of losing its crown as the top destination for tech workers and startups — which could have an economic impact on the region and force it to reckon with its local issues.


While the pandemic’s arrival sent tech workers to toil from home just as the Bay Area’s housing crisis and mounting quality of life problems bubbled over, some are taking the opportunity to move to cities that better suit their lifestyles.

  • As many as an estimated 89,000 households have left San Francisco.
  • “The majority of people I’ve spoken with … are doing it not because of COVID-19 directly but because of the resulting degradation of public safety,” says venture capitalist and former San Francisco mayor Mark Farrell.
  • City Hall’s tech relationship has also drastically changed. While then-mayor Ed Lee brokered a payroll tax break for Twitter and others in 2011 to keep their jobs in the city, today that move is deeply despised by officials who don’t believe the industry is paying its fair share.

Recently a small-but-vocal group of investors, workers, and entrepreneurs like Keith Rabois and Joe Lonsdale have been loudly advertising their exits from the Bay Area and other high-priced cities like New York, and encouraging others to follow suit.

  • Miami and Austin are being praised as the new tech hotspots. While it hasn’t caused a bump in startup funding in those cities, according to Pitchbook data, investors from influential firms like Founders Fund and Andreessen Horowitz have set up shop there.
  • And those cities are not missing the opportunity. Miami Mayor Francis Suarez has been waving his city’s flag on Twitter to court potential residents.
  • Austin Mayor Steve Adler touted his city’s growth and passage of a $7 billion package for transformational transportation during a recent conversation with Suarez and San Francisco Mayor London Breed.

Between the lines: Those who never wanted to live in San Francisco (or the greater Bay Area) are finally getting the permission not to.

The debate is equally (and perhaps even more) a referendum on the state of California.

  • “If California decides to up their income tax a bit more, people are going to start flying like crazy,” says Drive Capital managing partner Mark Kvamme, a Silicon Valley native who set up shop in Ohio nearly a decade ago.
  • The tech industry also took the passage of A.B. 5, a law that imposed stricter requirements for classifying workers as contractors, as yet another attack on business and tech companies like Uber and DoorDash.
  • Further, some have been unhappy with the state restrictions during the pandemic and its slow roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines. As of this week, California is lagging behind nearly all states in vaccinations.
  • Some prominent VCs are even taking part in an effort to recall California Gov. Gavin Newsom.
  • Nevertheless, Austin has already shown it’s willing to push back on tech, as evidenced by its year-long showdown with Uber and Lyft over fingerprinting. Miami is also likely to get scrutiny over how it ensures that its diverse communities do not get trampled over.

Yes, but: “What I take issue with is our leaders — people of means — abandoning our community when it needs us most,” Twilio CEO Jeff Lawson recently tweeted. “Reaping the benefits of Silicon Valley’s talent, tech incubators, mentors, professional network and culture until they no longer need it.”

The bottom line: The region’s grip on the industry will likely loosen as a myriad of other cities’ local ecosystems continue to grow into their own and provide more options for those who want to work in technology.

Source: https://www.axios.com/silicon-valley-rebellion-a8aebac9-3f60-443a-b95b-ba68e011ccfa.html
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Kia Kokalitcheva

Walmart will use robots to turn stores into automated fulfillment centers

14ae4250-608a-11eb-bfdf-53d9caeb1eacBack in 2019, Walmart started piloting its first local fulfillment center in Salem, which uses robots called the Alphabot to pick items from shelves. Now, the retail giant is turning more locations into automated fulfillment centers by converting a p…

Source: https://www.engadget.com/walmart-automated-fulfillment-centers-132500980.html
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Intel’s PC business is up 33 percent thanks to cheap notebooks

a85cc840-5c3f-11eb-bfeb-10234ab4073eWe already know that 2020 was a huge year for PC shipments, now Intel is confirming that report with explosive fourth quarter earnings results. The chipmaker says its PC business was up 33 percent compared to last year, with notebook revenue in parti…

Source: https://www.engadget.com/intel-q4-earnings-pc-revenues-notebooks-232707825.html
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