Farrukh Malik is the CEO of Amperage Capital which was launched to enable electric vehicle (EV) charging in apartment communities in the USA. With 44 million Americans living in apartments, the need for convenient electric vehicle charging solutions for these drivers is crucial for mass EV adoption.
The company is an infrastructure investor and operator focused on addressing the large and rapidly growing gap in infrastructure investment to support residential electric vehicle charging solutions in apartment communities.
What’s smart about Amperage Capital’s model is that it pays for construction costs to get power to parking spaces and the costs of charging equipment for assigned EV charging in apartment communities.
Malik, who has a massively positive outlook, ended up in the emobility space after years of working in the infrastructure and real estate technology world. He believes he has now found his calling in the world of electric vehicle charging.
With Amperage Capital he is doing great things and making charging more convenient and widely available. As a result, he is going to help speed up the transition to zero emissions motoring in the USA. We caught up with him to find out more:
EDs: Can you tell us a little about your history and how you ended up in the emobility space?
I come from a world of infrastructure (boring assets such as toll roads, bridges, airports and solar farms) and real estate technology. My career has spanned over 16 years across three continents building companies and leading investments in infrastructure projects.
When it was time for me to think about what problem to solve next with my new company, I just knew I had to be part of the EV revolution – the biggest transition the automotive world has seen in over 100 years.
The need we have set out to address is well known, apartment residents need to have access to assigned EV charging, just like EV owners who live in single-family homes with garages. From my background in infrastructure, finance and technology, I knew instantly that everything I’ve worked for in my career has led to this.
EDs: What does your current role entail?
I am the co-founder and CEO of Amperage Capital. My role requires me to think in the short term (3-6 months), as well as the long term (5+ years). In the short term, I’m responsible for focusing on multiple aspects of the business such as our go-to-market strategy, partnerships with multi-family owner groups and fundraising.
In the long term, I’m constantly thinking about the direction of the industry and how that impacts our strategy, staying on top of new technologies and extrapolating what those technologies might mean for us in 5 years.
EDs: Could you explain your mission to enable EV charging for apartment communities?
In order for electric vehicles to be widely adopted, there needs to be a solution for the 44 million Americans who live in apartment communities. Currently, over 90 per cent of electric vehicle owners charge their cars at home.
However, apartment residents often have to share charging stations which can lead to a frustrating customer experience and prevent them from fully benefiting from electric vehicle ownership. To address this issue, we believe that apartment residents should have access to designated home charging spaces, rather than relying on shared charging stations.
EDs: How does the infrastructure model for apartment communities work?
For any business or project or task to be successful, there needs to be accountability. In infrastructure, that accountability comes from, what we call, a single point of ownership. Currently, any solutions being implemented by apartment owners lack this accountability as there are multiple stakeholders involved.
My co-founders and I realised early on that in order for apartment communities to not sacrifice the customer experience, they need to offer assigned charging, not shared charging, and implement an EV charging solution which scales with the growing number of EVs. And that needs the investment of long-term capital.
By taking full ownership of the EV charging business in an apartment community, Amperage Capital can invest that long-term capital. This isn’t a technology problem, it’s a financing and operational problem, and that’s the solution Amperage has brought to the market.
EDs: How important is it that we look beyond the classic private home driveway and public charging models to enable EV adoption?
We at Amperage Capital strongly believe that there are essentially two solutions to the EV charging problem. First, charging at home; and second, DC fast charging when you are on a road trip – the gas station model for electric cars.
Anything in between, such as a level 2 charger at a shopping mall, might be a nice-to-have but will not enable EV adoption. Being able to conveniently charge your EV at home, whether your home is a single-family home or an apartment or condo, is critical for mass EV adoption.
EDs: Is infrastructure currently keeping up with the pace of electric vehicle adoption in the USA?
Any discussion on infrastructure needs to take into account the complexity of the challenge. Infrastructure includes generation, high-voltage transmission, storage and neighbourhood-level distribution.
There is a significant amount of work being done in the USA, across the multiple aspects of infrastructure, to keep up as well as prepare for the transition to electric vehicles. And because all vehicles won’t turn into EVs overnight, we have time and I am confident that with all the investment and all the work being done by some very capable individuals, we are on pace.
EDs: What do you think are the current biggest barriers to EV adoption?
Affordability of electric cars – this is something which is improving at a fast pace with price parity between EVs and ICE vehicles is expected by 2025; and access to convenient and affordable infrastructure for residents who live in apartments and condos.
EDs: How do we educate and debunk the myths surrounding electric vehicles?
I think it needs to happen every day in our conversations, as well as publications like yours helping consumers understand everything they need to know about EVs and charging. The good news is that there is a lot of good information out there being produced by the car makers, analysts, industry influencers, events around the world, helping break down the barriers of becoming an EV owner.
EDs: How do you see the EV space developing, especially in the USA, over the next five years?
I expect that we will see the adoption of EVs at a rate which will significantly exceed current forecasts. It’s an incredible time right now, you have the Biden Administration on board making significant strides for mass adoption.
Plus, what is happening at the state level, combined with commitments from automakers going all-electric, and the myriad of companies supporting this industry with software, hardware and education efforts. I’m also very optimistic about all the efforts and the tens of billions of dollars being invested into the research and development of new battery technologies.
EDs: What does the future of transport look like to you?
In the near future, I see us becoming a true electric car industry, where our children’s first car will be an electric one. Depending on which source you look at, most data suggests that we have reached peak car ownership.
While a lot of it is driven by recent trends such as working from home and the advent of car-sharing services, a move to autonomous driving or cars, will further reduce the percentage of people who own or lease a car. Long term, I believe that the move to autonomous will have a clear focus on safety. Can you imagine a future with no more car accidents?
EDs: Do you drive an EV, and if so, which model?
Yes – I’ve been driving an EV for three years. I drive a Tesla Model Y, although I was very close to buying the Polestar 2 instead of the Model Y.