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Australian Coal Baron Backing the Next Winners (EV Startups), or “Follow the Money”

Trevor St Baker is one of the smart billionaires in Australia who is investing serious money in the transportation sector to promote the changeover to EVs despite his history and vocal support for coal-fired power stations. He is a coal baron who drives a Tesla Model 3, and he is building an EV ecosystem.

After a couple of decades working with the governments of New South Wales and Queensland planning electric utilities, he moved into the private sector in the 1980s. He worked on the establishment of Queensland’s first power station planning department in 1971 and its first Energy Resources Division in 1975.

One of his smartest buys was the Eraring power station in New South Wales. St Baker bought it from the NSW government for $1 million in 2015. It has become a money printing machine for the new owners. It is now valued at $221 million. As you would expect, he is not a big fan of renewable energy and has lobbied against it with both the state and federal governments.

ZEF Energy Tritium fast chargers. Image courtesy of Tritium.

However — he has seen the direction that the electrons are flowing and is funding a string of startups in the electric vehicle space. Tritium is now an international provider of high-speed DC chargers. Chances are, you have used one. Tritium supplies chargers to Evie, St Baker’s charging company, among many others. Kiosks are springing up on highways throughout Australia as well as the United States and Europe.

Image courtesy of Tritium. Tritium hosts Australian members of parliament.

St Baker Energy Innovation Fund is also bankrolling the importation of electric cars from BYD in China. These vehicles — a small sedan, the BYD e2, and the T3 van — will be imported by True Green and its subsidiary Nexport. Orders have opened and the vehicles should be here by the end of the year. True Green expects prices to be similar to a petrol equivalent. 

“This partnership means Australia has now reached the point of mainstream transition to zero emission vehicles,” St Baker said.

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David Waterworth is a retired teacher who divides his time between looking after his grandchildren and trying to make sure they have a planet to live on. He is long on Tesla [NASDAQ:TSLA].


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