Electric vehicles (EVs) might not exactly be flying off of dealer lots, but global shipments are on the upswing. Plug-in passenger cars achieved a 2.1% market share of new car sales in 2018, up from 1.3% in 2017 and 0.86% in 2016. And it’s estimated that in the next decade, the world’s fleet of electric vehicles will grow from 3 million to 125 million.
Those EVs require spots to juice up along their routes, of course, and startups like San Francisco-based Volta Charging are happy to oblige them. Investors evidently think it’s good business: After raising $62.3 million to date across five funding rounds, Volta revealed that it’s secured $20 million in follow-on funding to its series C raise, bringing its total capital raised to over $100 million.
The news comes months after Volta obtained a $44 million credit facility from Energy Impact Partners, and following a year in which Volta both doubled its headcount and tripled its revenue, which CEO Scott Mercer attributes to a spike in demand from real estate partners seeking turnkey charging services and a jump in sponsorships. He says that the proceeds from this latest extension will fuel the growth of Volta’s network of charging stations within major metro areas and new markets.
“As the electric vehicle industry continues to grow, Volta is well-positioned to build out an economically viable charging network needed to facilitate the shift from gas to electric,” said Mercer, who cofounded Volta with Christopher Wendel and Michael Menendez in 2010. “We continue to rapidly scale our business to meet the growing demands of drivers, real estate partners, and sponsors. This capital injection will accelerate our mission of mainstreaming electric vehicles.”
Volta designs and covers the cost of installing and maintaining turnkey solutions for retail partners such as Whole Foods, Macy’s, and Saks, which in turn make the charging stations available to their customers. (Volta pays for electricity usage.) The company claims its over 700 chargers in 10 states have delivered more than 40 million free electric miles to date.
That might pale in comparison to ChargePoint’s, Tesla’s, Blink’s, and SemaCharge’s networks, which combined made up 60% of the market as of October 2018. But Energize Venture partner John Tough notes that few guarantee free vehicle-agnostic charging at all of their locations.
“We’re happy to lead this opportunistic follow-on investment … to accelerate the continued expansion of the business. Volta is a pioneer in advancing the electric vehicle market and we are excited to help catalyze the company’s growth,” said Tough, a Volta investor. “Our follow-on investment is a testament to our confidence in Volta’s business model and ability to scale their network, as well as our appreciation for their work in delivering more than 45 million free electric miles to EV drivers to date.”
Other new and existing Volta investors include Activate Capital, GE Ventures, Orsted Venture, Nautilus Venture Partners, Idinvest, Virgo Investment Group, and Autotech Ventures.