Vancity Community Investment Bank (VCIB), Canada’s only values-driven bank and a subsidiary of Vancity Credit Union, last week announced a partnership with Seven Generation Capital (7Gen), the first company in Canada that supports fleet operators in deploying electric medium and heavy duty fleets with an electric vehicle and charger leasing model. VCIB has provided 7Gen with a $3.2 million loan to support the purchase and lease of ten EV trucks and the required EV fast chargers to accelerate the delivery of EV fleets in Canada.
VCIB’s $3.2-million loan has paved the way for 7Gen to lease the equipment to GoBolt, a tech-enabled provider of sustainable fulfillment and last mile logistics for retailers and ecommerce brands. This EV fleet is estimated to reduce CO2 emissions by 4,140 tonnes over the trucks’ seven-year lease period. This accounts for an annual reduction of 491 tonnes compared to using internal combustion engine trucks.
The partnership between VCIB and 7Gen showcases a new way of business that facilitates the EV fleet transition — a business model made possible thanks to project developers such as 7Gen that offer an end-to-end fleet electrification package. 7Gen’s innovative service offering helps companies understand the various cost structures and select the trucks that work best for them, as well as navigate and choose the best EV infrastructure suppliers for their needs. There are similar companies in the United States that operate “as-a-service” business models to help small and mid-size logistics operators overcome the challenges of transportation electrification, but 7Gen is the first company to launch this type of service in Canada, supported by financing from VCIB.
The road transportation sector accounts for approximately 21 per cent of Canada’s total greenhouse gas emissions, and reducing these emissions is critical to achieving the federal government’s ambitious climate change commitments. While the availability of zero-emission fleet options is growing, and there are a few examples in operation, the deployment of fully electric commercial delivery vehicles in Canada is still in its infancy.
“The opportunity for a cleaner future is huge as we make one of the biggest economic pivots in history,” said David Berliner, VCIB’s Head of Clean Energy Deal Structuring. “Innovative financing for the EV industry is the missing piece to scale the net-zero transition. Our partnership with 7Gen aligns with our net-zero climate commitment and provides cost savings while advancing cleaner transportation systems in Canada,” David continued.
“7Gen appreciates the commitment of Vancity Community Investment Bank to help us secure debt financing to enable our last mile delivery client to accelerate their deployment of zero emission vehicles. We will need more financing institutions to value carbon reductions in their capital allocations to realize societal climate positive goals. Additionally, we are seeing more shippers who are including zero emission transportation requirements in their tenders. These are big drivers in motivating carriers to commit to ZEV deployments,” Frans Tjallingii, CEO, 7Gen, says.
“GoBolt is excited to accelerate the transition to zero-emission vehicles for logistics and last-mile delivery and working with trusted partners like 7Gen and VCIB allows us to move quickly and confidently to achieve our goals,” Chris Taylor, Vice President, Strategic Initiatives at GoBolt, adds.
VCIB’s financing for 7Gen builds on the bank’s track record of financing first-of-its-kind cleantech business models and clean energy projects, including:
1. VCIB’s clean energy team supported the Six Nations of the Grand River Development Corporation’s clean energy portfolio by providing a $32.5 million loan to refinance the Niagara Region Wind Farm, the second largest wind farm in Ontario. The project’s profits will be directed back into the Six Nations community and will be used to stimulate economic opportunity, purchase critical infrastructure, and finance support services like mental health and suicide prevention programs.
2. VCIB provided a $3.81 million loan for a residential geoexchange project that provides heating and cooling for 246 residential properties in British Columbia.
3. In 2021, VCIB financed the world’s largest wastewater energy transfer project, operated by Noventa Energy Partners. The $38 million project, which was also funded in part by the Government of Canada, will produce enough thermal energy to supply 90% of Toronto Western Hospital’s heating and cooling needs. This is one of the first projects of this scale to use raw municipal wastewater from a sewer.
4. On June 16, 2022, VCIB formed an impact partnership with Accelerate – Canada’s Zero-Emission Vehicles (ZEV) supply chain alliance. The partnership will support Accelerate’s efforts in advancing ZEV adoption and developing a strong ZEV supply.
Courtesy of Vancity Community Investment Bank (VCIB).
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