Behind the scenes of our deal with Tembo

2020-11-25T17:26:51-05:00

If you’ve been following VivoPower news in recent weeks, you know that we signed a definitive agreement to invest expansion capital in Tembo e-LV B.V., a Netherlands-based specialist battery-electric and off-road vehicle company. As a result, we secured a 51% shareholding in Tembo and have the first right of refusal to acquire the balance.

VivoPower has been providing renewable solar power services since our company was founded in 2014, and we’ve been investigating entering the commercial electric vehicle (EV) market since 2017. The genesis was a keynote talk by Tony Seba at the official opening of the London office of our parent entity, Arowana.

We firmed up our interest earlier this year when we realized that many of VivoPower’s existing customers, especially those in the mining sector, were actively seeking sustainable energy solutions including fleet electrification. From there, we decided to identify an electric vehicle player to acquire to meet this appetite.

Our research identified Tembo as the best light electric vehicle solution in the world focused on ruggedised and customised applications, including for mining.

Although the e-LV (electric light vehicle) market is relatively young, Tembo already has a strong presence in key mining markets, including Australia, Canada, Chile and Russia. It also has the largest established network of global distribution partners and the most vehicle models among its competitors.  These factors – combined with the fact that Tembo estimates it takes 2+ years to develop a fit-for-purpose ruggedised e-LV system – position them ahead of their direct competitors in key markets globally.

Our investment will enable Tembo to significantly scale up its assembly facilities to meet customer orders, build out its global salesforce and increase R&D capabilities.  In addition, the VivoPower team and existing platform will support Tembo’s accelerated growth ambitions.

What is most exciting is that VivoPower has an established base of over 700 customers across the mining, infrastructure and utilities sectors. In those sectors in particular, fleet and ancillary fuel and maintenance costs are very significant, and transitioning to electric is already economically viable for many.

Many of our customers are actively evaluating opportunities to reduce their energy costs, increase productivity and become more sustainable long-term. But without the infrastructure to support them, customers can’t get the most out of EVs, and most commercial and industrial sites cannot support EV fleet charging. We can now offer customers the compelling option to electrify not just their fleets, but their entire operations – and in the process deliver a holistic sustainable energy solution (SES).

JA Martin and Kenshaw, our Aevitas critical power services businesses in Australia, will lead the way, electrifying their own corporate fleets and showcasing the results to their customer bases.

They will then join us in delivering a holistic solution in which:

  • Tembo electrifies customers’ fleets through a transport as a service (TaaS) model
  • JA Martin and Kenshaw retrofit the customers’ sites to accommodate EV charging, and install renewable generation, battery and microgrid infrastructure (energy as a service, or EaaS)
  • VivoPower develops second-life applications for batteries after they’re used in vehicles (battery as a service, or BaaS).

VivoPower’s combined sustainable energy solutions will optimise the value of these assets for customers and provide a growing stream of recurring revenue for all of the companies in our stable.

Ultimately, we foresee Tembo tripling our addressable market to upwards of US$36 billion, even before any further geographic expansion.

In all, we look forward to uniting the Tembo team as key members of the VivoPower family and fulfilling our purpose of delivering sustainable energy solutions together.