• Sustainability
    • Transition to Net Zero
    • The Future of Infrastructure

Turbo-charging EV adoption with Blink

  • Article

How is Blink Charging helping to decarbonise the transport sector, with the support of HSBC's international network?

Electric vehicles (EVs) are central to driving down carbon emissions from the transportation sector. Internal combustion engines account for around 75% of current emissions from the transport sector, according to the International Energy Agency.1 Replacing the world’s petrol and diesel-powered cars, vans, trucks, and buses with zero-emissions electric models is, therefore, a priority in the global battle against climate change.

US-based Blink Charging is helping to facilitate the global shift to EVs by addressing the shortage of charging infrastructure – a major obstacle to mass EV adoption.

The company is a fully vertically integrated EV charging provider that sells, installs and runs charging points for businesses and consumers and has built a network of almost 59,000 chargers across 25 countries. Per one of Blink’s business models, the company owns and operates the hardware and shares the revenue with property owners, meaning it enables the spread of EV charging with minimal risks to site hosts.

Blink’s vertically integrated business model allows it to be particularly flexible about the service options it offers to customers, says Chief Financial Officer, Michael Rama.

“What makes us unique is that we are the only charging infrastructure company in the US to design, own, operate and sell our own hardware, enabling us to run this flexible operating model,” he says.

Scaling essential infrastructure

Charging facilities are essential for the mass adoption of EVs across the world. According to research from BloombergNEF, a fully electric global vehicle fleet would require 702 million charging connectors by 2050 – up from just 9.1 million at the end of 2021.2

EVs raise concerns for prospective buyers that their internal-combustion counterparts do not. Range anxiety (will the vehicle have enough battery to reach its destination?) and charging time, which remains significantly longer than it takes to fill a car with petrol, are among the most common deterrents to potential purchasers.

Florida-headquartered Blink is working to address these issues. It provides an array of level 2 and DC fast-charging equipment and services, along with flexible operating models.

Blink’s business model appears to be paying off. The company was founded in 2009, and growth has been rapid. It posted a 169% increase in total revenues to $17.2 million in Q3 2022, up from $6.4 million in Q3 2021. This came on the back of a 160% increase in the number of charging stations contracted, deployed or sold over the same period.

And more are on the cards: in January this year, for example, Blink signed an exclusive agreement to provide charging points to all dealerships of Japanese automaker Mitsubishi across North America. Similar deals had been secured previously with Audi, General Motors, Ford and other OEMs.

HSBC has supported Blink on its expansion beyond its US home market, providing both access to capital and the international banking expertise that the company needs to manage its increasingly complex operations. Blink uses the bank’s treasury management system across multiple countries.

Blink brought HSBC in a few years ago, as it sought to internationalise and scale its business globally.

The bank has been an extremely strong partner to Blink. We wanted to make sure we had an international partner and a stable platform from a treasury perspective, we have banking now across the US, Netherlands, India, UK, Israel, Canada, through HSBC.

Michael Rama | Chief Financial Officer, Blink Charging
Blink makes use of HSBCnet – the bank’s international digital banking platform. “HSBCnet is very interactive and not having to deal with 10 different systems in 10 different countries is extremely helpful. We’re also getting attractive FX conversions from having multiple currency rates,” notes Rama.

Policy support, global development

The potential for further expansion is clear. Globally, EVs now account for around 10% of new car sales, and regulators are pushing to increase that figure to 100% as quickly as possible. The US Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), signed into law last year, will also boost the EV market with its inclusion of clean vehicle credits and the policy certainty it provides.

“The US is developing a robust EV policy not just at the Federal level [through the IRA], but at the state and local government levels, that is attracting more drivers to EVs,” says Rama. “This won’t just stimulate the growth of EV sales, but businesses who are supporting and building out infrastructure and IoT needed to create a more robust and green transportation grid. So we're very encouraged!”

Martin Richards, Global Head of Sustainable Finance at HSBC and President of HSBC Ventures, adds “This is not only going to be good for the US, but for places like Europe and Asia who will have to compete with the US. And it doesn’t just focus on the core EV hardware, but the ecosystem to support the industry - batteries, charging, recycling, data, supply chains (back to front), etc.”

Measures reducing the sales of petrol and diesel-powered cars in Europe and other markets from 2035 are also pushing major automakers to accelerate the switch.

Looking ahead

Richards expects EV adoption to accelerate rapidly. “Last year the large auto manufacturers only produced about 10% of all EVs. It's projected that they will produce 70% by 2030,” he said.

“Blink is well placed to capitalise on the explosion in EV usage with its excellent management team and through deals with big, respected partners like major OEMs and large international companies in various industries,” said Richards. “We are proud to be supporting Blink as it works to accelerate the transition to electric mobility around the world, contributing towards the build of a net zero economy.”

Looking forward to 2023, Rama concludes “We acquired a company last year, that gives Blink manufacturing capabilities, so we're now able to manufacture in the US and be Buy American compliant with our products. We’re really encouraged with our in-house capabilities of manufacturing, the product of hardware, and it really bodes well for 2023 and beyond.”

Today we finance a number of industries that significantly contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. We have a strategy to help our customers to reduce their emissions and to reduce our own. Find out more: https://www.hsbc.com/who-we-are/our-climate-strategy

Listen to the podcast

If you would like to hear more from Michael Rama about Blink Charging’s story, you can listen to our podcast episode via the buttons below.

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