Scale: Cleantech Startup’s True Aim

Vic Shao
Electric Fleets
Published in
4 min readSep 27, 2022


Our announcement to team up with Hertz is a landmark moment that sets the foundation to accelerate EV adoption in the U.S. and drive the future of mobility. With the rental car company set to put hundreds of thousands of EVs on the road in the years ahead, this project supports the largest deployment of fleet EVs seen in the industry thus far.

Through this agreement we will set out to develop a national network of EV charging stations to power Hertz’ growing fleet of EV rental cars, including the customization of our omega charge management software to ensure the cars are recharged quickly and efficiently between rentals. Additionally, we will explore the development of a network of EV fast-charging hubs open to other fleets and the public. The agreement cements both bp pulse and Hertz’ commitments to electrification, building a national network of EV charging that will redefine how we fuel our travels in this new era of EVs.

But there’s a bigger story at play. As a cleantech entrepreneur, this partnership, and how it came to be, makes the case that the true work of any cleantech startup begins after acquisition.

What began as a back-of-the-napkin idea back in 2018 to help ease the EV charging process for fleets is now at the beginning of something much greater–bringing our innovative software and technology to projects with massive scale.

The true opportunity for electric transportation

To truly appreciate the magnitude of this partnership, we should take a look at the real opportunity for vehicle electrification now and in the coming decade. In 2021, 28% of all energy consumed in the U.S. was for the purpose of transporting people and goods–88% of which comes from petroleum. Natural gas, biofuels, and propane account for another 11%, leaving electric driving just 1% of all transportation related energy consumption. For perspective, in the same year we collectively drove over three trillion miles on U.S. roadways–miles that were in large part fueled by petroleum.

Despite the media attention about EVs increasingly hitting the road, very little of our transportation is actually powered by electricity. These are not numbers to just gloss over; this marks a huge gap in our actual energy transition, at a time when leaders all over the world are making major commitments to electric mobility. So the question is: how do we turn the 1% into the 99%, and very quickly?

Turning climate ideas into action

Many of the decisions we make that impact the way we move people and goods, from logistics to the vehicles themselves, are made in the boardroom. For clean energy mobility initiatives to truly take hold we need quick action from the major players, who, at the end of the day, have to strike a balance between long-term investment and profits. Over the years, I’ve had plenty of discussions with top executives from IPPs, utilities, and oil companies, all trying to get the balance right. But the tendency is to lean conservative and maintain the status quo, which does not create an environment that is primed for rapid change. This is where startups, and their entrepreneurial drive, come in.

Taking our recent move to fully integrate into bp pulse as an example. In little more than four years, AMPLY Power went from a seedling of an idea to deploying EV charging infrastructure for fleets across 17 U.S. states. Our success hinged greatly on our innovative and customer-focused approach to design, technology, and software. We remained swift and agile as we responded to the growing needs of our customers and the rapidly changing EV industry. This was very attractive to bp as a major global energy supplier making major investments in the clean energy transition.

Moving forward as bp pulse allows us to combine our startup mentality and working business model with bp’s extensive energy expertise and global resources — a winning combination for making change on a grand scale.

Reaching scale is the end goal

The ultimate end game for any cleantech startup is to deliver its technology to a global audience–which we are working towards now as bp pulse. Our work with Hertz is the proof point. Together we are moving the industry forward, both through action and leadership. Innovative companies with large vehicle fleets like Hertz that are looking to make quick strides to adopt EVs, now have a path forward on consistently reliable, OEM-agnostic charging infrastructure for business use. EV projects at this scale are no longer an idea, but reality.

This all came from a simple idea– to electrify the transportation sector by simplifying EV charging for fleet operators. That idea proved valuable and feasible in real-world applications, and now backed by a major energy player, continues to evolve into supporting dynamic projects with impact across the country. So while we celebrate this momentous milestone with Hertz, let’s also take this opportunity to acknowledge the impact a startup can have to transform and provide new leadership in traditional industries, effectively powering the flywheel to turn the 1% into the majority at warp speed.