Ford has two electric vehicles in the pipeline — the E-Transit cargo van and F-150 Lighting Pro —aimed at commercial customers. Now, the automaker is rounding out its future EV commercial business with the acquisition of battery management and fleet monitoring software startup Electriphi.
Terms of the acquisition weren’t disclosed. Ford is betting that the software developed by the three-year-old San Francisco startup will help it capture more than $1 billion in revenue just from charging by 2030.
Electriphi, along with its 30-person team, will be folded into the newly minted Ford Pro business unit, which is focused on providing services to commercial customers of its electric Transit van and F-150 Lightning Pro pickup truck. Ford will start shipping E-Transit to customers later this year. The F-150 Lightning Pro, a commercial variant of the all-electric Lightning pickup truck, is expected to come to market in spring 2022.
Ford Pro has financial ambitions beyond charging. The business unit said it expects to generate $45 billion in revenue from hardware and adjacent and new services by 2025 — up from $27 billion in 2019.
“As commercial customers add electric vehicles to their fleets, they want depot charging options to make sure they’re powered up and ready to go to work every day,” said Ford Pro CEO Ted Cannis. “With Electriphi’s existing advanced technology IP in the Ford Pro electric vehicles and services portfolio, we will enhance the experience for commercial customers and be a single-source solution for fleet-depot charging.”
Electriphi launched in 2018 when it became obvious that upcoming state and federal mandates would drive heavy duty vehicles and mid-sized commercial fleets towards electrification, co-founder and CEO Muffi Ghadiali told TechCrunch in a recent interview. The company has focused on segments deploying commercial electric vehicles in the U.S. and internationally, a list that includes school buses and transit buses.
“If you just think about what’s going to happen in the next 10 years — it’s a massive transformation in mobility for energy and software,” Ghadiali said. “The stakes are incredibly high and time is running out.” He noted fleet operators are nervous about that upcoming mandates that will require moving to zero-emissions vehicles by the end of the decade. “To turn over your entire fleet in 10 years, you have to start now; they’re going, ‘I have to make sure that my fleet operations don’t skip a heartbeat, while this transition is happening.'”
Ford first approached Electriphi in early 2021. The startup had raised just $4.2 million at a valuation of about $11 million prior to the deal with autoomaker.
While Ford’s focus is building out the software for its E-Transit and Lightning Pro, it is possible that it will also continue to serve Electriphi’s customer base.
“Interestingly, as it turns out, the underlying Ford platform is used across many different vehicle types as well as school buses,” Ghadiali said. “So it’s hard to say which segments we won’t still be in because they are you know they are very relevant to what we do. Of course, our focus will be the large volume that the Ford is going to ship in the next year.”