EV charging: ‘There’s an increased demand for infrastructure,’ Charge Enterprises CEO says
Charge Enterprises CEO Andrew Fox joins Yahoo Finance Live to discuss company earnings, the Biden administration’s EV charging goal, increased demand, and the outlook for EV charging.
RACHELLE AKUFFO: Today, the Biden-Harris administration opened applications for a new multibillion program to fund electric vehicle charging in communities nationwide, as well as along designated highways, interstates, and major highways. Now, this is a key step towards the president's goal of building a national network of 500,000 public EV charging stations by the year 2030. Now, EV charging provider Charge Enterprises is currently developing charging and 5G solutions nationwide. It also released fourth quarter earnings this morning. The company's founder CEO and Chairman Andrew Fox joins us now, to discuss the outlook for EV charging.
Thank you so much for joining me this morning. So I, first, do want to talk about this goal of President Biden here-- 500,000 public EV stations and that's also pairing with trying to cut national greenhouse gas emissions in half by the year 2030, as well. How do you see Charge's role in this?
ANDREW FOX: Well, first of all, thank you for having me here, and good morning. I think the federal government must play a role in building this infrastructure, at least providing the incentives. And companies like ours are at the forefront of really-- it's almost like being at the dawn of the cell phone industry. In the beginning of the cell phone industry, no one really contemplated just how important the infrastructure was and now, you're seeing today, at 5G, speeds continue to increase. And so this incentive and program by the administration I think is a welcome relief, but I think there's going to be a lot more to come in the coming years because this is a vast undertaking. And the kind of work that we do creates great jobs, but I don't think people realize just how much of this infrastructure needs to be built today, in order to see the evolution of this clean tech on the roads.
RACHELLE AKUFFO: And you have said that Charge's position to capitalize on the next generation of the energy transition. How so, and how much of that came up in what happened with your Q4 reports?
ANDREW FOX: Well, we grew our revenue last year from $470 million to just under $700-- $698 million to be exact. And what you're seeing is there's an increased demand for infrastructure. And I think that in boom times, this type of service is not as sexy as other industries, but I think that if you're looking for safety and access to the electric vehicle market and you want exposure, I think companies like ours, that are providing the infrastructure, are going to be a lot safer because they're not as commoditized. And so I think it's an important next step, we're at the forefront, and so what we do is we design, engineer, install, and maintain equipment for everybody.
And you'll see, this past week, we just did another major deal with Actel, which is a major company that provides EV hardware, and I think you'll continue to see big global companies get into this infrastructure space on the hardware side and then, need companies like ours to actually install it and maintain it for them.
RACHELLE AKUFFO: I mean, we are seeing that the stock price is under some pressure today. Perhaps, investors focusing on some of the net losses here. Do you think the stock is being unfairly punished, and what do you think investors are focusing on?
ANDREW FOX: I have such a long-term view on our business and we're only in our fourth year and only barely, one year on NASDAQ. And so, misery loves company in the stock market, but I'm not focused on our stock price. I'm focused on building an unbelievable business. And I believe, in the short-term and in the long-term as infrastructure becomes more and more important, our stock price will take care of itself.
The things that I'm looking for in a business right now, and these are the most important things-- revenue growth, gross profit growth, customer retention and referrals. And so those lights are all flashing green and I think that despite some of the macro environment around the equity markets, companies like ours will not only survive, but prosper as the markets start to come back to reality.
RACHELLE AKUFFO: I mean, this does seem to be a longer play. I'm looking at data from S&P Global Mobility. They're forecasting-- when you look at the infrastructure for this, including in-home charging, the US is going to need to quadruple the number of EV chargers between 2022 and 2025 and grow the more than eightfold by 2030 to meet some of the forecast for sales that we're expecting here. How far behind then, is the charging infrastructure here in the US versus the demand that's being projected here?
ANDREW FOX: I mean, it creates a great opportunity. And when you look at 2035 numbers-- so we have about 4 million electric vehicles on the road today. That number is supposed to 10x by the end of the decade and then almost double by 2035. And so you're talking about unbelievable opportunity for infrastructure companies, like ours, to provide long-term solutions. And so this is-- if you're using a baseball game analogy, we're, like, one out in the top half of the first inning. And so it's a really exciting time to be on the infrastructure side.
RACHELLE AKUFFO: And I want to ask you about how dealerships are dealing with this transition, as we're expecting this, as you mentioned, there's some of this 10x growth in EVs. What does this mean for dealerships that are trying to transition to this?
ANDREW FOX: Well, as they're transitioning from ICE to EV, their big challenges is they really now have to contemplate the infrastructure and how they're going to sell and service vehicles fully charged. And are they going to eventually be building networks that subsidize some of the federal government ambitions? And so there's really, a big kind of think tank of sorts going on at the dealerships. That's who we primarily focus on because what we see is they're the only private sector with a mandate to install infrastructure. and we get a kind of bird's eye view as the entire EV ecosystem, as it's evolving, because we see where the cars are being sold, first and foremost. And so we have a very heavy emphasis on the 18,000 US auto dealers. We've made it very clear that making sure that they can sell in-service vehicles is the first part of reducing kind of the anxiety around this.
RACHELLE AKUFFO: I mean, and when you figure some of these targets--
ANDREW FOX: These EV targets--
RACHELLE AKUFFO: --that these companies have-- yeah. And it's coming up quick. It's coming up very quick. 2030 will be here before we know it. A big thank you for joining us this morning. Charge Enterprise Founder CEO and Chairman Andrew Fox, thank you for your time on Yahoo! Finance today.