2014 BMW i3 REx fast-charging at Chargepoint site, June 2016 [photo: Tom Moloughney]
ChargePoint, the largest network of electric car charging stations, announced last Wednesday that it has raised $240 million to become even bigger.
The investment comes at a pivotal moment after ChargePoint CEO Pasquale Romano in September announced an ambitious goal to build enough chargers to juice up 2.5 million electric cars worldwide.
The latest investment, along with that goal, should help keep ChargePoint competitive with other rapidly growing charging networks in the U.S. and Europe.
Although ChargePoint is the largest and one of the oldest electric-car charging networks, the competition is coming on strong. Under a court mandate to settle charges over diesel emissions cheating, Volkswagen is setting up the Electrify America network to rival Tesla's Superchargers across the U.S. It is building Phase One of its planned rollout with 484 public charging locations consisting of 2,000 chargers, most of them DC fast chargers, and is planning the rollout of Phase 2, starting next year.
In Europe, ChargePoint's next big market, major automakers BMW, Daimler, Ford, and the Volkswagen Group have banded together to build the Ionity network of fast chargers around the continent.
Other long-time competitors such as EVgo are also expanding, and Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced this month that the company will double the size of its Supercharger network next year.
ChargePoint's latest investment—it's seventh round for anyone counting—comes from electric utility American Electric Power, Chevron, Daimler trucks and buses, BMW, and Siemens and energy investment fund Quantum Energy (the lead investor).
One of ChargePoint's strategies is to focus on building high powered charge points for trucks and buses, including municipal bus fleets, a market where there isn't as much competition.
At the same time, the company plans to continue to build more chargers for cars if it intends to keep the commitment it made at California Governor Jerry Brown's Global Climate Action Summit in September.
“We are at a tipping point in the generational shift to transportation electrification,” says ChargePoint President and CEO Pasquale Romano. "Leading investors from automotive, utilities, oil and gas, and financial institutions are coming together to support ChargePoint’s vision of an all-electric future as the mass adoption of electric mobility and the transition to electric fleets accelerate."