BlackRock Real Assets, a giant new renewable energy fund of US investor acquired an equity stake in Australian EV charging provider Jolt Charge. The investment will support Jolt’s plans to roll out more than 5,000 free charging stations and build essential infrastructure to enable the transition to electric vehicles in Australia. BlackRock raised USD 4.8 billion at the final close earlier this year and plans to utilise over 10% of its capital in EV charging infrastructure. As part of the plan, BlackRock Real Assets will provide over A$100 million (USD 72.2 million) of capital through business milestones to fund the construction of Jolt’s charging infrastructure. Blackrock’s capital will initially fund the rollout of 1000 free charging stations in the next two or three years, starting for Adelaide and Sydney. JOLT would offer 7 kWh power for free, drivers would be charged for the power drawn after that.
As per a report published by OMR Global, Australia's EV market is estimated to grow at a CAGR of over 11.0% over the next few years. According to The Electric Vehicle Council, Australia currently hosts over 3,000 public chargers, with 470 DC fast-chargers. Melbourne based Chargefox claims to have the largest network, with 1,400 plugs network. The Jolt deal is BlackRock Real Assets first foray into EV charging in the Asia-Pacific region as part of its latest Global Renewable Power strategy.
BlackRock was attracted to JOLT’s unique business model as it combines the use of existing urban electrical infrastructures such as substations with outdoor advertising and electric vehicle charging. In an interview with The Australian Financial Review, Charlie Reid, Managing Director of BlackRock Renewable Power said, “We think that their business model, combined with the scale of capital we can bring to bear creates a pretty interesting opportunity for us, but also will help accelerate the transition to electric vehicles in Australia.”
Jolt currently has operational charging stations in Adelaide. Earlier this year, the company announced a partnership with Ausgrid to transform existing street-side kiosks into state-of-the-art EV charging stations. Reid also said, “The EV charging industry in APAC has tremendous near and long-term growth potential, which creates exciting investment opportunities for BlackRock’s clients. We believe the electrification of transport plays a pivotal role in advancing Australia’s energy transition and we look forward to harnessing this through our investment in Jolt.”
BlackRock has so far invested in 250 wind and solar projects across 13 countries. With this new venture, the company plans to invest across an array of climate infrastructure assets including energy storage, renewable power generation and EV charging infrastructure throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia-Pacific. Alongside building EV charging in Australia, BlackRock has made a separate investment in an EV infrastructure project in the US and another deal is in late-stage due diligence in Europe.