Green Car: Silicon Valley is taking over Detroit

What opportunities does the green car revolution offer?

Electric car
Credit: Pixabay

In the last blog of 2016, we focus on the green car. And related business and investment opportunities it offers. Following years of “green car wars” in Japan, the inspiring success of Tesla, the Californian electric carmaker and energy storage company, and the steady progress of Google’s self-driving car project (now Waymo), a revolution is taking place in the auto industry.

Charging infrastructure and fuel cells

The green car needs better battery technology as well as charging infrastructure. Pillars upon which the automotive revolution depends. In these areas, a lot is already happening, but there are more opportunities for existing and aspiring cleantech entrepreneurs. As well as investment angels, VCs and other alternative investment and finance houses. 

Courtesy of Japanese carmakers and others, hydrogen fuel cells no longer seems just a fancy technology for the distant future. California is building the hydrogen infrastructure needed for fuel cell vehicles. London is already using fuel cell buses. Hydrogen is the ultimate destination from an automotive engineering viewpoint.

Price tag

If you think that electric cars are too expensive and will never gain much traction beyond niche markets, remember that people did not start buying SUVs because they were cheap or efficient. Buying a car is a complex decision and personal beliefs and taste play a big part in it. And then you should consider the fundamental change in society mentioned in the previous article.

Most pollution is caused by fossil fuel transportation, arguably.  If the car is the machine that changed the world, the green car is the technology that can save it.

Final thoughts

Virtually, every carmaker is either beefing up their green and self-driving car programmes or considering doing so. US, European and Japanese carmakers are setting up units and/ or partnering with tech companies in California. Silicon Valley is taking over Detroit. Meanwhile, in Europe BMW is leading the way with major investments in the electric car.

This is great, however, to fully address the pollution challenge, other related areas must become much cleaner. Such as the generation of electricity, the production of other green fuels, and the processing of materials used for the green car. Here too a lot of opportunities are on offer and we will cover them in future blog articles.


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Mauro Tortone

View posts by Mauro Tortone
Mauro advises financial services, technology and mobility businesses and leads the Strategy & Finance practice. His expertise is in strategic change, capital markets and more. Mauro has over 25 years of experience working with banks such as UBS and Deutsche Bank, smaller financials, fintechs and others across Europe, the US and Asia. He sat on the CISI Corporate Finance Forum Committee for ten years and is passionate about sustainability.
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