The red-hot play in EVs is figuring out how to get them charged up

Big financing deals are being struck across the country to charge up electric buses and cargo trucks

Steve LeVine
The Mobilist
Published in
3 min readMay 14, 2021

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Rendering of the future electric bus terminal in Silver Spring, Maryland. Photo: Courtesy Alphastruxure

One of the hottest plays in the electrification of mobility is charging. Smallish startups, big legacy companies, and private equity investors are crawling over the U.S. in a goldrush atmosphere surrounding the rise of electric vehicles. Their main advantage: hundreds of millions of dollars in funding to help cash-strapped cities, counties and states go electric.

Among them is Alphastruxure, a joint venture between The Carlyle Group and Schneider Electric. In an announcement yesterday, Alphastruxure said it will design, finance and build an electrified bus terminal in the Washington, DC suburb of Silver Spring. The terminal will contain charging infrastructure for 44 new electric public ride-on buses, which amount to a 15% slice of the county’s 300-strong bus fleet, said Chris Brown, chief of the county’s Office of Energy and Sustainability. The buses are to be delivered by 2023. The county will pay Alphastruxure about $2 million the first year, payments that will double to about $4 million a year by the end of the contract.

In signing the 25-year, multi-million-dollar contract, Montgomery officials were haunted by the memory of a devastating, November 2012 snow storm that knocked out power to 480,000 residents, and halted business at 71 county facilities. By using solar photovoltaic canopies to charge up a microgrid, the project is meant to provide charged-up buses to the county no matter the conditions, said Nicole Geneau, a senior vice president at Carlyle.

The larger idea is that, while venture capitalists and Wall Street are consumed with EV-makers, battery companies and EV charging stations, a number of private equity firms are aggressively looking for other pathways into the EV bonanza. An early favorite is turnkey charging infrastructure and services for large vehicles like passenger buses or cargo trucks, including tens and even hundreds of millions of dollars in financing.

Earlier this month, The Mobilist looked at TeraWatt, an early-stage company that has been buying up land along busy national truck corridors with the idea of building…

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Steve LeVine
The Mobilist

Editor at Large, Medium, covering the turbulence all around us, electric vehicles, batteries, social trends. Writing The Mobilist. Ex-Axios, Quartz, WSJ, NYT.