Almost exactly a year ago we interviewed Revel founder and CEO Frank Reig as it was about to expand into multiple business units beyond its original scope of providing shared electric mopeds. Today we take another look at how far the startup has come and how far it has to travel to reach its stated goal: helping urban cities transition to electric transport.
Revel started his moped business in New York in 2018 and has since expanded to Miami, San Francisco and Washington, DC. company. Over the past year, Revel has taken a sharp turn toward building fast charging hubs for electric vehicles, launching its first “Superhub” in NYC this past June.
Along the way, the company also started (and quietly closed down) an e-bike subscription service and launched an all-electric ride-hailing service in NYC.
Reig recently told me that the company aims to build 200 fast-charging stalls in NYC by the end of this year, “and we’re going to add hundreds more by 2023.” Revel’s ride-hailing business, which currently has 50 Teslas in Manhattan, will also expand beyond EV charging infrastructure, he said.
“The way we think about stations is to scale. Revel isn’t interested in that one charger at a Walgreens. That does nothing for the city and it does not speed up any transition. The only way to boost EV adoption in cities is with a real network of infrastructure, which currently doesn’t exist. Until a company like Revel builds it all, this EV transition is just a lot of marketing and talk.”
We sat down with Reig to discuss Revel’s business, the company’s recent financing from Blackrock, the need to incorporate grid stability into its business model, and how the company feels about profitability.
Part of an ongoing series featuring founders building transportation companies, this interview has been edited for length and clarity.
TC: It’s been a year since our interview, and Revel feels like a different company now! Back then, moped sharing was your main activity, but now the focus is on EV charging infrastructure. Do you have any plans to expand your moped business?
Frank Reig: We have 6,000 mopeds in four markets, so it’s a sizeable business that generates a significant amount of revenue. At this point, we’re kind of waiting for COVID to be officially over, until we really start thinking about expanding our micro-mobility footprint.
That said, some of the mopeds in our fleet are three or four years old. So we’re starting to think about the next moped technology we want to use. How do we want to think about reinvesting in our markets, in our fleets?
TC: You recently closed a $126 million Series B round led by Blackrock, and a lot of that goes to your EV charging hubs. I believe you said you were going to build another one in New York?
reign: We’re building many more in New York.
Everyone keeps talking about the EV transition. Everyone keeps talking about how automotive OEMs say they will never produce another gas vehicle again. They fall over themselves to outdo each other. No one is talking about where all these vehicles are going to charge. That story has not changed from last year. If anything, it has gotten worse. Infrastructure is just lacking, especially in some of these big cities like New York.
The state of New York has passed a law requiring all vehicles sold after 2035 to be electric and 20% of new vehicles sold must be electric by 2025. We have literally millions of vehicles that need to switch to electric, and there’s really no charging in sight, and that’s where our strategy comes into play.