Cathy Zoi: The Pioneer Of Electric Vehicle Charging

The transportation sector is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution worldwide. In 2019, road transport accounted for nearly 24% of global CO2 emissions from fuel combustion, with an estimated 16% increase projected by 2030 under current policies. To combat the environmental and health impacts of fossil-fuel-based mobility, many countries and regions are promoting the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs), which offer lower emissions, higher efficiency, and lower operating costs compared to conventional vehicles. However, the lack of sufficient and accessible charging infrastructure remains a significant barrier to the widespread adoption of EVs. This lack of infrastructure can limit the range, convenience, and affordability of EVs. That’s where Cathy Zoi, the Chief Executive Officer and Director of EVgo, steps in.

Cathy Zoi is a visionary leader and experienced executive in the renewable energy sector. Throughout her career, she has dedicated herself to advancing clean energy solutions and policies across different levels and sectors. Currently, she is leading EVgo, the largest public fast-charging network for EVs in the US. EVgo boasts over 800 locations in 34 states and serves more than 220,000 customers. Under Cathy Zoi’s guidance, EVgo has experienced rapid growth and continuous innovation, all with the mission of delivering convenient and reliable EV charging for everyone.

From Policy Maker to Business Leader

Cathy Zoi has an impressive track record in the renewable energy industry, spanning over three decades and various roles and sectors. She started as a policymaker in the Clinton-Gore administration, serving as the Chief of Staff for Environmental Policy in the White House. In this role, she managed a team focused on environmental and energy issues. She also worked at the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), where she pioneered the Energy Star program. This voluntary labeling scheme promotes energy efficiency and environmental protection.

After leaving the government, Cathy Zoi pursued her passion for renewable energy in the private sector. She became an investor, entrepreneur, and executive. As a partner at Silver Lake Kraftwerk, a growth equity fund investing in energy and resource technology companies, she played a crucial role. She was also the founding CEO of Frontier Power, a rural electrification company incubated by SunEdison. Additionally, she co-founded and served as president of Odyssey Energy, a distributed generation software company. She also held board positions at renewable energy companies like Ice Energy, SES, and Pacific Solar.

Cathy Zoi’s experience extends beyond the private sector. She has also contributed significantly to the non-profit and academic sectors. As the founding CEO of the Alliance for Climate Protection, established and chaired by former Vice President Al Gore, she made a considerable impact. Furthermore, she acted as an adjunct professor and Precourt Energy Scholar at Stanford University, conducting research and teaching on renewable energy and climate change.

In 2017, Cathy Zoi brought her wealth of knowledge, expertise, and network to EVgo, joining as the CEO and Director. She was drawn to the company’s vision and mission of providing fast, convenient, and reliable EV charging to everyone. She was also impressed by the company’s unique technology, which uses 100% renewable energy to power its charging stations.

EVgo: A Game-Changer in the EV Charging Industry

EVgo is a company dedicated to accelerating the transition to electric mobility by offering fast charging solutions for EV drivers throughout the US. Originally created in 2010 as a subsidiary of NRG Energy, a prominent power generation and retail electricity company, EVgo became an independent company in 2016. Today, EVgo operates the largest public fast-charging network for EVs in the US, boasting over 800 locations spread across 34 states and serving more than 220,000 customers.

What sets EVgo apart is its ability to provide charging stations that deliver up to 350 kilowatts of power, enabling them to charge an EV battery to 80% capacity in just 15 minutes or less. Furthermore, their charging stations are compatible with all major EV models, and they offer a variety of payment options, including pay-as-you-go, subscription plans, and mobile apps.

An additional point of pride for EVgo is that their charging stations are powered solely by 100% renewable energy, sourced from wind and solar farms across the country. This makes EVgo the only EV charging network in the US that can truly claim to be carbon-neutral and the only one that can guarantee their customers are driving on clean energy.

EVgo’s charging network is designed to be flexible and adaptable, making it suitable for installation in various locations, such as retail centers, grocery stores, parking garages, hotels, and workplaces. This versatility allows them to cater to a wide range of customers, including individual EV drivers, fleet operators, ride-sharing companies, and automakers. EVgo has also formed strategic partnerships with key players in the EV industry, such as General Motors, Tesla, Uber, Lyft, and Nissan.

Recently, EVgo made a significant move by going public through a merger with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), raising an impressive $575 million in gross proceeds. This momentous step has made EVgo one of the first publicly traded EV charging companies in the US, solidifying its position as a true game-changer in the industry.

Leading with Vision and Values

As the CEO and Director of EVgo, Cathy Zoi is responsible for establishing the company’s vision and direction, as well as overseeing its operations, strategy, and growth. She is also involved in product development, customer relations, and fundraising. She leads with a clear and compelling vision of making EV charging accessible, affordable, and sustainable for everyone, and a strong set of values that guide the company’s culture and decision-making. These values include customer obsession, excellence, innovation, teamwork, and impact. Cathy Zoi believes that EV charging is not only a business opportunity but also a moral imperative. She is driven by a sense of purpose and passion to make a positive difference in the world and inspire others to do the same.

The Future of Electric Mobility and Sustainable Development

Cathy Zoi is optimistic about the future of electric mobility and sustainable development. She believes that EVs are on the verge of becoming mainstream as costs continue to decline, technology improves, and demand increases. She also believes that EVs can play a vital role in achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, a set of 17 global objectives to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure peace and prosperity for all by 2030. She provides examples of how EVs can contribute to these goals, such as providing access to affordable and clean energy, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution, creating jobs and economic opportunities, empowering women and marginalized groups, and enhancing education and health outcomes. She also acknowledges common misconceptions and challenges that EVs face, such as range anxiety, battery degradation, and policy barriers. She advocates for more research, innovation, and collaboration to overcome these obstacles and accelerate the adoption of EVs and EV charging solutions.

ALSO READ: The 10 Visionary Tech Leader, 2024

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