CIC predicts EVs to give smart grids resiliency

  • June 15, 2021
  • Steve Rogerson
Ford F-150 Lightning Lariat.

Electric vehicles will be the resilience and disaster recovery choice for intelligent grids, according to Texas-based investor Climate Impact Capital (CIC).

This, it said, was the reason behind its recent investment in Oregon-based EV fuelling specialist OpConnect, alongside Reinventure Capital and Black Founders Matter.

OpConnect is a minority-owned small business taking on big names such as ChargePoint, ABB and Shell, which purchased Greenlots. The team has developed a lean model that has enabled EV service providers to integrate quickly their EV charging networks with payment processing and customer care tools.

Mobility and energy are undergoing a massive transformation as transportation moves towards an electric future. The investment will enable expansion of OpConnect’s team and enhancement of its real-time hardware agnostic EV management and billing platform to public and private fleet operators.

The company plans to expand its private-labelling offerings focusing on multi-family properties and communities. Headed by CEO Dexter Turner, OpConnect is innovating in electric transportation, with seven EV charging and access control patents.

“The Biden administration envisions an aggressive acceleration of the country’s move to vehicle electrification,” said Turner. This, he said, created enormous opportunities for small business growth, EV owners and reduction of local and greenhouse gas pollution.

Jessica Nigro, OpConnect general manager at Daimler North America, agreed. She said: “Industry cannot underestimate the influence of immediate federal and state policy in fostering the EV ecosystem.”

And Alex Rozenfeld, founder of Climate Impact Capital, said: “Smart EV charging networks are a critical element of ensuring grid resiliency as we progress to a microgrid centric utility model where consumers and building owners play a strong market role. And as we saw during the near-collapse of the Texas Ercot grid early in 2021, microgrids with EVs as a core will increasingly provide resilience and backup power in the coming decades as we see more climate change driven mega weather events.”

With options such as Ford Lightning (pictured), Rivian R1S and the VW ID.4, consumers, he believes, may rapidly migrate to EVs.

CIC invests in energy technology companies and supports global energy corporations through its venture-as-a-service programme. The company identifies resiliency opportunities to prepare partners for climate change risk and resource scarcity. It has a global partner network across oil and gas, power, and energy technology manufacturing.