A sector in full flux
As transport accounts for 33% of greenhouse gas emissions in France, decarbonating transportation is one solution being studied. Many start-ups have imagined innovative alternatives to the individual vehicle, or car model. Volocopter, a German company, proposes drones and eVTOLs (electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft) as the next solution. Hyperloop TT, a US company, has a high-speed intercity tubular train on the drawing boards. Drone-based delivery companies are also expanding. These new forms of mobility, including gentle mobility, are obviously playing a crucial role in making cities less crowded and more sustainable. And yet, cars are nowhere near disappearing from our daily lives and will remain part of the equation, so long as they can be reinvented .
Some of the largest automakers – Audi, General Motors, Tesla, Hyundai and Daimler – are leading the race towards innovation in designing new vehicles, including electric, hybrid, low-carbon, and connected ones.
All are riveted on the now intertwined pairing of tech and the auto industry
Financing the transition by supporting start-ups
So, what role can a bank play in reinventing mobility?
The role it knows best – financing and supporting the transition of automotive players and the roll-out of various forms of gentle mobility. BNP Paribas has been doing this for several years, by supporting the plans of many different start-ups. But Europe’s leading bank in sustainable finance also supports its customers in their own transition. Given cars’ environmental footprint, its customers will possess fewer and fewer of them while switching to a more flexible, shared and on-demand uses. Within the Group, this mission is being handled by Arval, Europe’s no.1 car leasing company for corporates, SMBs and professionals.
« B-to-B mobility is booming. Employees, especially the youngest of them, expect their employers to commit to, and take, real-world action, particularly in terms of mobility » Amélie Phelip, Mobility Director at Arval
In 2022, Arval formed a strategic partnership with Ridecell, a start-up that is a global supplier of fleet-automation and mobility solutions, with the common goal of accelerating the development of end-to-end mobility solutions. Together, the two companies created Arval Car Sharing, to cover all the shared mobility needs of Arval’s corporate customers throughout Europe.
Sustainable and decarbonated mobility
Another major source of leverage is accessibility. This is the goal of Optimile, a Belgian start-up supported by BNP Paribas Fortis.
Optimile has one of the largest charging networks in Europe by connecting to major players for public charging. Their network covers approximately 230,000 charging points across Europe. Optimile is active in 7 countries.
An app, linked to a charging card, is used for access and payment of recharging sessions.
"It’s very exciting to be part of the sustainable mobility movement. However, the transition is complex and expensive" says Vincent Veron, Head of transition Minerals, Metals and batteries, Low Carbon Transition at BNP Paribas CIB. These are two reasons the Group supports start-ups. “BNP Paribas helps companies throughout the supply-chain to achieve material traceability, put their strategy into action, and to raise funds”.
To mitigate resource scarcity, and in light of the geostrategic challenges involved, the Group has formed a partnership in Sweden with Northvolt, a battery maker specialising in lithium-ion for electrical vehicles. In Germany, the Group advises Vulcan Energy, a German-Australian group that is now a major supplier of lithium, there again for electrical vehicles.
Moving with insurance
The insurance sector – an integral part of mobility – has not been left out of the digitalisation trend. Qover, a start-up part of BNP Paribas Cardif's investment fund managed by Cathay Innovation, is aiming to transform the insurance model. Created in 2016, the company offers many digital insurance solutions for bike, automotive, FinTech and many other industries, 100% focused on users, with maximum responsiveness.
“All tech and mobility companies need an insurance company that understands their concerns. To address this need, we have built up a digital insurance that is accessible beyond borders”, notes Jean-Charles Velge, its founder.
BNP Paribas, present at major sustainable mobility events
For the first time, the Group will be present at the Paris Motor Show from October 17 to 23 with one ambition: "BNP Paribas connects you to the mobility of tomorrow".
Whether in terms of support or financing, the Group is positioned across the entire value chain of the sector to accelerate the transition of its clients to more sustainable mobility. This is an opportunity to present our 360° expertise in an experiential format with our specialised businesses, around three themes:
- energy transition
- mobility for all
- new mobility-related services
In addition to the revenues generated by each of its business lines, BNP Paribas has set itself the goal of generating an additional 1 billion euros in revenue through its transversal mobility initiatives by 2025. Read the press release
Last June, Europe's largest Tech event, VivaTechnology, was also an opportunity to present our actions in the field of sustainable mobility. At our Lab: a morning of dedicated talks, conferences and innovative solutions co-constructed with start-ups from our ecosystem (Qover, Optimile or Ridecell) that illustrate the concrete actions we take to support our ambition.
Crédits photos : AUUSSanAKUL ; Blue Planet Sudio