Accelerating the successful deployment of MHD EVs
In late 2019, as the ‘decade of action’ dawned, 7Gen’s founding team saw both an opportunity and an obligation. They had the network and the know-how needed to match environmental, social, and governance funds coming available with the EV clean technology chomping at the bit to be deployed. And with the bigger commercial vehicles that move goods and people around our cities being one of the growing sources of emissions they understood that decarbonizing our vans and trucks is literally the way to go if we are to meet our net zero targets.
The 7Gen team recognized that the drive to electrify is often stalled- and not because the vehicles themselves aren’t road-ready. Case in point? The first client they explored supporting, a Vancouver-based tourism operator with ambitions to electrify his fleet of 70 tourism buses by 2025, was being thwarted by a lack of financing, incentives, and EV infrastructure.
The 7Gen team was able to use their expertise to bring together project finance, government relations, electrical engineering, and project management to remove these barriers to electrification and while the pandemic derailed that endeavour, a challenge was framed.
For the time being, the tourism business was mostly mothballed but it was clear that many other businesses would have to clear similar hurdles if they hoped to flip their fleets green. With the growth in last-mile delivery over the pandemic, 7Gen pivoted to concentrate on this segment, which remains their primary focus.
Much of the organization’s first two years was spent in market research—consulting on fleet transitions for clients such as major retailers and container terminals. They learned that while there were many players in the EV industry, it was not very customer friendly, and with residual values yet unknown in these early EV days, few lenders were willing to pony up
for purchases. An understandable lack of knowledge about what is relatively new tech in addition to the higher upfront capital expenditures costs of transitioning a fleet from internal combustion to electric, is a fraught or impossible process for many organizations- especially those with smaller fleets.
It was clear to 7Gen that clients needed to be offered a greater understanding of what lay down the EV road before they could confidently begin the journey and so, a Total Cost of Ownership-tool was developed. This tool allows clients to look at how the costs of available EVs stack up next to comparable gas/diesel alternatives in terms of both return on investment and emissions saved when going electric.
Another significant obstacle to electrification is that while some Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) offer to sell both vehicles and chargers together, they provide limited guidance on charging infrastructure. This issue is compounded by the fact that few fleets will make the transition to new clean technology with just one manufacturer in their ultimate line-up, so may not want to rely on a combined charger and vehicle from a single OEM.
Here, 7Gen’s ever-growing expertise in deploying across multiple OEMs, as well as their extensive understanding of charger, vehicle, and software interoperability serves their clients well.
In short, 7Gen is a much needed one-stop shop. They are able to provide fleet seekers aiming for net-zero technology selection and de-risking support, as well as perform feasibility analysis, secure subsidies and financing, and solve for residual value uncertainty – all while procuring vehicles and chargers plus developing the software to optimize the use of EVs.
To date, 7Gen has deployed over 100 vehicles and chargers for 25 different customers and is on track to have 300 deployed in early 2024. With projects in 4 Canadian provinces, and soon in 4 US states, they will have avoided 2000 tCOe by the end of 2023 and are set to more than quadruple that in 2024.
We need to get the show on the road and 7Gen is doing just that.
 SOURCE: https://www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/services/canadian-environmental-protection-act-registry/heavy-duty-vehicle-engines-zero-emission-future-discussion-paper.html or https://cleanenergycanada.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/06/Report_OnTheRoadToNetZero_June2023.pdf