Expert voices: 2023 will be the year of EV charging
It's set to be a big year for EV charging. That, at least, is the prediction from Neha Palmer, co-founder and CEO of TeraWatt Infrastructure.
- "We think this is a new asset class, similar to data centers: You’re going to hear about more investments into this space from people who think about it from that perspective," Palmer tells Axios.
Why she matters: TeraWatt in September announced it had raised more than $1 billion to build a charging network for commercial vehicles, including semi trucks.
- The company expects to bring its first half-dozen sites online by the end of this year in Southern California.
- Palmer was previously head of energy for Google.
This interview was lightly edited for length and clarity.
What was the big story in clean energy/climate tech this week?
- CES last week felt like an auto show: EVs becoming mainstream, gadgets and technology around vehicles, announcements rivaling the Detroit Auto Show.
- You think about that adoption S-curve, it seems like we’re really accelerating up that curve.
What would you add to the narrative?
- Charging is coming to the forefront. But how do you operationalize that? How do you bring it into your life as a consumer?
- Two years ago, it would've been all about the vehicle: "Look how cool this is and how beautiful."
- This one booth literally had one feature: a charger that looked like mid-century modern furniture, and that was it. It was stunning.
What’s going under-covered or under-noticed?
- A lot of the focus has been on this passenger vehicle market. We’re seeing a lot of announcements about trucks finally coming off the assembly line.
- We’re seeing mainline fleets — some that already have giant fleets of ICE vehicles — making really big orders.
- I come from the cloud space. Cloud-first companies didn't have servers in their basement. They had to find public infrastructure.
- Other companies, like banks, had giant server infrastructure in their basements. Their equivalents in transportation, these companies, are now migrating to EVs.
In three-ish words, what change would you make to clean energy/climate-tech investing?
- Climate tech/clean energy is infrastructure.
Three fun things:
💼 First job: Selling newspapers over the phone for the Contra Costa Times.
👑 Proudest investment decision: You can never go wrong in investing more in education. I’m glad I went back to get my MBA.
🤦 The one you regret: I wish I had done that earlier.