Volta CCO explains how the Kroger partnership helps EV charging ‘fit well’ into everyday life

Brandt Hastings, chief commercial officer for Volta, joined Yahoo Finance Live to discuss the company’s new partnership with Kroger and why it’s important to expand access to EV billing stations. Also, Canoo’s stock is rising after Walmart ordered 4,500 EVs for the last mile of delivery.

Video Transcript


SEANA SMITH: 18 minutes passed until the closing bell, and the sale was accelerating here in the last half hour of trading. The Dow is now at 267 points. S&P and NASDAQ both have discounts of more than 1%. Looking at sector action, all 11 S&P sectors are in the red this afternoon. Energy so far is the worst performing of the day. XLE off is more than 2%. We also see some sales, consumer decision making, healthcare, technology, all of those sectors at almost 1%. Rachelle.

RACHELLE AKUFFO: Meanwhile, another story for shares of Canoo, which is billing this morning after the EV company announced that Walmart would order at least 4,500 of its delivery vans. The big box retailer also has the option to buy another 10,000 if it chooses to expand that order.

Today, Canoo is the third such deal Walmart has made for EVs, as it looks like it will power its delivery fleet. Earlier this year, the chain reserved 5,000 electric vans from General Motors subsidiary BrightDrop, as well as 1,100 from Ford’s E-Transit cargo series. Now some of them are already in service, but Walmart said it plans to use the new fleet to expand its home delivery services from 6 million to 30 million households.

DAVE BRIGGS: All right, the next time you go grocery shopping, you might be feeding your family and your electric car. EV charging company Volta is partnering with the largest supermarket chain in the country. Volta chief commercial officer, Brandt Hastings, is with us today, as is senior autos reporter Pras Subramanian. Nice to see you, Brandt. So why focus on Kroger, the largest grocery store in the country, their customers? When and where will we see it come out?

BRANDT HASTINGS: Really. Well, it’s nice to be with you two today, and thanks for joining me on your show. In retreat and thinking about Volta, Volta is an intelligent electric vehicle charging company, and we are a media company. And as we build our network in locations that millions of Americans love to visit every day, Kroger is a great example of that. Others include Walgreens, Albertsons, Macy’s, Kohl’s, and more.

And we do it using the single best public billing solution. There are many EV charging options out there. And Volta is the only company that thinks about moving beyond electrons and is committed to helping retailers understand, interact, and attract their customers. And I think the Kroger partnership is a fantastic example of us doing that.

And when I think about Kroger’s relationship, I divide it into three main areas. I think first and foremost, it’s all about convenience, right? Kroger is the largest grocer in America with more than 2,500 locations. I mean, millions of Americans shop at Kroger stores every week. And providing critical fueling infrastructure at those locations is incredibly important to ensure that Kroger attracts and retains and delights their customers.

I think the second important part that your audience should remember is size. Since we are also a media company and charging company, adding these stalls to Kroger locations gives us additional media screens for our team to monetize. And I think the third piece that’s super interesting about the Kroger relationship is this idea of ​​retail media.

And Kroger’s retail media network, Kroger Precision Marketing, will use Volta media screens, which can be seen outside the front doors of Kroger locations, and reach consumers seconds before they enter that store and decide which products to buy to help their advertising partners achieve their commercial goals. And that also benefits the Volta, and it also benefits the drivers.

PRAS SUBRAMANIAN: Hey, Brent. Pras is here. So talk to me about what use cases are really most important for EV chargers. Will it always be in places like a grocery store or a gas station or a Starbucks? Or can we find them in other locations, especially for people like us who live in the city in urban environments?

BRANDT HASTINGS: Yes, really. And at Volta, the way we’re building our network is to build a publicly accessible billing network to the locations you already visit in your daily life. We want EV charging to fit well into your daily routine. Many EV drivers, like me, charge at home, if you can.

And the number of EV drivers who can charge at home, especially in urban environments, Pras, as you mentioned, is something to keep in mind, which is why we focused on building this charging network in areas where where people are. is already going and partnering with world class retailers, such as Kroger and Walgreens and Albertsons and others, to make this network seamless in their daily lives.

When we think about what’s happening in the transition from carbon to electric-driven miles, it represents a generation of change in consumer behavior, because you don’t have to go to a gas station. You will burn at home, if you can, and wherever you go throughout the course of your daily routine. And that’s why our team is committed to partnering with leading retailers to help them understand this generational shift in behavior and partner with them, to help them drive greater commercial results for their core business.

So, in other words, we want to help them attract new customers, retain customers, build better brand loyalty preferences in their stores so they get a bigger share of the wallet from consumers. And we also want to help our real estate and retailer partners move forward against their sustainability goals, which, as we know, play a bigger role in the boardroom with investors and consumers.

SEANA SMITH: Brandt, quick here, a two-part question. When we were just showing a map there of Volta stations across the country, there was a place there in the West where there were no charging stations. Do you have– do you plan to prioritize that area when we talk about the widespread adoption here of EV vehicles? And then the second part, really quickly, was the Biden administration. What have you not heard from the administration that you want to hear or needs to happen to see major adoption?

BRANDT HASTINGS: This is a fascinating question. And at Volta, we take a very data-driven approach to how we structure our global charging network. This is interesting. I recently read a piece of McKinsey research that talked about how by the end of the decade, to keep pace with the acceleration of electric mobility, there needs to be 1.2 million electric vehicle public chargers by 2030. That represents an additional 1 million public charger in the United States only.

So that’s a tremendous opportunity for a handful of companies focused on helping solve this macroeconomic problem. And at Volta, we use data as the backbone for how we make all our decisions about where to go and when. We have developed a Volta-owned product called PredictEV that uses a range of signals, including a machine learning and artificial intelligence model, to understand not only what the needs are around electric mobility and EV charging now, up to a particular location level, but also to have so much data insight into what they will be 5, 10, 15, and 20 years from now.

And you can see that our network will continue to grow over time geographically covering more areas on the map in terms of building our EV charging network. But it will also grow within locations where we already have, as we continue to return to partners where we have already built critical fueling infrastructure. And we’re expanding over time in those locations, as EV adoption increases. And then in terms of–

SEANA SMITH: Brandt Hastings of Volta, thank you so much for taking the time to join us. We appreciate it.

BRANDT HASTINGS: Thanks a lot.

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