An electric Mercedes Benz vehicle.
Photo: Daimler AG

EVs are here to stay, but who's taking the leap?

Protocol Climate

Good morning, dear readers. Our intrepid leader, Brian, is taking a well-deserved stint of vacation this week, so I (Lisa) am at the helm. First, a close look at U.S. attitudes toward purchasing an electric vehicle, followed by news of a new media outfit wedging climate tech solutions into social media feeds. Let’s get to it!

Inching toward electric vehicle adoption

The share of the public who say they currently own an electric vehicle is vanishingly small, at just 2% of U.S. adults. But a new survey commissioned by Consumer Reports finds that the potential market is significantly bigger than that — good news for those hoping to electrify transportation as quickly as possible.

  • More than a third of the public say they are EV-curious, the survey found: 14% say they would “definitely” buy or lease an EV, and 22% said they would “seriously consider” doing so, assuming they were in the market.
  • Meanwhile, 28% said they would not even consider it, and the rest said they may consider one in the future, but they have some nagging reservations about making the switch.

The privileged among us tend to be the most EV-interested. Consumer Reports found that men are more likely than women to say they would “definitely” or “seriously” consider an EV. So, too, are those with higher levels of education or income.

  • Young adults and those living in urban areas are also demographically inclined toward EV ownership.
  • One thing that stuck out: Familiarity with “the fundamentals of owning an electric-only vehicle” tends to make a person more likely to consider buying or leasing one. However, only 9% of the public said they are “very” familiar, even after a year of splashy prime-time advertising of EVs.

Charging logistics tops the list of EV reservations. When asked what their primary barriers are, EV skeptics listed charging logistics (61% of respondents), vehicle range (55%) and overall costs (52%).

  • The overall purchase price of EVs — which still tend to be higher for EVs than for gas-powered cars — was the primary concern reported by 58% of the people who cited cost as a worry.
  • Maintenance and repair costs, which tend to be lower for EVs than for gas-powered alternatives, were a concern for 40% of those who said they had cost-related worries.

Much of the public is unaware of EV incentives available to purchasers. Nearly half (46%) of U.S. adults have heard nothing about them, suggesting there are some major educational hurdles to mass EV adoption.

  • Just 34% of the public has heard about tax rebates or discounts available to offset the purchase price or lease, and 28% has heard about tax credits applied at a later date. Many EVs are eligible for both federal- and state-level credits when purchased new, though more significant federal tax credits have reportedly been stripped from a potential spending bill under consideration by Congress.
  • But incentives — assuming people know they’re available — could nudge people toward purchasing an EV, the survey found. Tax rebates applied at the time of purchase or lease are particularly encouraging (53%), followed by discounts to install home charging infrastructure (49%).

For more details on the survey, keep an eye on Protocol Climate later today.

Taking climate tech to the small screen

Photo: Pique Action

So many elements of the climate story — rising emissions, lack of action, extreme weather — are decidedly depressing. But one new media company, Pique Action, is instead zeroing in on more promising developments, creating good-news videos about climate tech that are fit for the social media age.

Pique Action closed a $1 million pre-seed funding round this week, the company shared exclusively with Protocol, having only launched last October. The VC fund Amasia led, with contributions from Baruch Future Ventures and Fairbridge Park.

  • “Frankly, there’s quite a bit of white space for solutions-oriented climate content right now,” Pique Action founder and CEO Kip Pastor told me.

The company’s aim: “the opposite of doomscrolling.” In practice that means producing short videos — or “microdocumentaries,” as it calls them — highlighting promising founders and technologies that could have a real impact in mitigating the worst of climate change.

  • The idea, Pastor said, is that viewers will experience less “eco-anxiety” and more practical ideas and solutions.
  • “We work hard to make sure we’re telling the stories of companies that can really make a difference, and that aren’t … just the next shiny investment vehicle,” Pastor added.
  • The company strives to separate the wheat from the chaff in the crowded climate tech space, and Pastor said its work is already driving capital and customers to the solutions it highlights. “Using content as a way to reach people opens up a lot of other opportunities,” he added.

It’s starting with the smallest of small screens. Pique Action already has a healthy TikTok following, and over 7 million views across multiple social media platforms.

  • “We want to reach people where they are,” Pastor said, adding that many regular TikTok users rarely watch television at all. “Short-form social content is an incredible tool to reach a broad audience and do it quickly.”
  • But the company’s eventual plan is to expand beyond its social media focus and produce content in more formats and contexts.

And more climate tech stories are on the horizon. Pique Action has a green jobs series in the works as well as a number of more explanatory projects on the occasionally unwieldy vocabulary that the climate tech space demands.


The emissions that make up a full greenhouse gas footprint can emanate from outside the four walls of your own manufacturing operations, like in the case of PepsiCo, where 93% of emissions come from its value chain.

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Make it rain

Northvolt, a Swedish battery company, secured $1.1 billion in its latest fundraising round, courtesy of backers including Goldman Sachs Asset Management, Volkswagen AG, Baillie Gifford & Co. and AP Funds. The company plans to use the funds to expand its European production amid a market that CEO Peter Carlsson characterized as “incredibly strong.”

The French startup Electra, which operates electric vehicle fast-charging stations, raised roughly $163 million in a funding round led by Eurazeo.

Indonesia’s Octopus aims to divert waste from landfills through recycling and reuse, and it raised $5 million in its latest funding round, led by Openspace and SOSV.

Blackstoneplans to pour $400 million into Xpansiv, an environmental commodity exchange.

The sustainable infrastructure investor Actistook a stake in the Latin American renewable energy giant Omega Energia.

And in funder news, the climate-focused fund Climentumclosed its debut $157 million fund, which is aimed at speeding up Europe’s energy transition.

Hot links

Solar keeps getting more expensive: Polysilicon prices have risen for the sixth week in a row.

Rockets: not climate tech. A collection of intrepid researchers found that private space projects by the likes of Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos are both contributing to climate change and damaging the ozone layer.

Ford had a banner month in June,helped along by the long-awaited arrival of its all-electric F-150 Lightning pickup truck.

An administrative duel has commenced: In the wake of an SEC proposal that would require businesses to disclose their climate impact, auditors and consultants are feuding over who is better equipped to take on verifying the data.

Even trees have their limits. There simply is not enough land to grow the trees we would need to capture enough carbon to mitigate climate change’s worst impacts. This comic strip explains the conundrum.

Time to amp up spending to stop methane in its tracks, and not by a little. A new study found that we need to spend $110 billion per year to stop emissions of the super-polluting greenhouse gas.


Asking suppliers and associated companies to overhaul the way they work is no small feat, but PepsiCo is taking a three-pronged approach centered around the principles of educating, enabling and incentivizing. The Sustainability Action Center aims to engage and equip value chain partners with tools to undergo their own sustainability journey.

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