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Electric vehicle (EV) charging network ChargePoint has raised $82 million in a round of funding led by German automotive giant Daimler, with participation from existing investors that include BMW i Ventures, Linse Capital, Rho Capital Partners, and Braemar Energy Ventures.
Founded in 2007, Campbell, California-based ChargePoint is among the biggest EV charging networks in the world, with more than 30,000 charging stations across North America and Australia. The company has now raised more than $255 million since its inception, including a chunky $59 million infusion last May. This latest tranche represents its biggest single investment to date, and it will be used to fund the company’s mission to “lay the foundation for Europe’s most comprehensive and intelligent charging network,” according to a company statement.
The latest funding actually represents part of a larger $100 million raise, but only $82 million of it has been unlocked for now — the company wouldn’t elaborate on what the additional money is contingent on or when it will be arriving. It is likely tied to ChargePoint meeting some pre-agreed targets with its investors, however.
The global EV market is still modest compared to pure diesel and petrol vehicles, but it is a fast-growing market — global plug-in vehicle sales grew by 42 percent to 773 600 units last year. Emerging brands such as Tesla, whose recent fourth quarter sales grew by 27 percent, are recording greater sales with each passing year. Such a marked increase in EV uptake, be it hybrids or pure electric vehicles, bodes well for companies such as ChargePoint.
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“The automobile industry is at an inflection point, with more vehicles coming onto the market offering highly advanced electric powertrains than any other time in the world’s history,” said Pasquale Romano, CEO of ChargePoint. “The significant investment by our lead investor Daimler and others not only underscores a collective commitment to e-mobility around the world, but will lay the groundwork for Europe’s most comprehensive charging network.”
Electric car companies such as Tesla offer competing charging networks to ChargePoint. Tesla owners once received free unlimited recharges at Tesla charging ports, but as of January 1 this year, new vehicles are now only entitled to 400 kilowatt hours of credits, the equivalent of roughly 1,000 miles a year. But Tesla and dozens of other charging providers, including PlugSurging, have hitherto offered one key benefit over ChargePoint: They offer charging stations in Europe. This is a major market for EV vehicles, though it is fairly fragmented — something that ChargePoint is hoping to fix.
Europe is the second biggest market for electric vehicles after China, with the likes of Norway, the Netherlands, Germany, the U.K., and France all featuring highly. Many European countries already incentivize consumers to purchase EVs by offering perks such as tax reductions and exemptions. And this is why ChargePoint is raising a gargantuan war chest as it looks to tackle this major market. Having Germany’s Daimler — owner of big brands such as Mercedes-Benz — on board is a notable facet of this deal.
“Daimler is committed to supporting the future of e-mobility with a full ecosystem of connected, autonomous, shared and electric transit solutions,” explained Axel Harries, head of CASE/EVA at Mercedes-Benz. “ChargePoint is the benchmark in the EV charging space, offering world-class solutions that help to address some of the fragmentation in Europe and accelerate the market’s shift toward e-mobility. As the world leader in EV charging products and services, ChargePoint is the right partner to further our deep commitment to e-mobility as the future of transportation.”
Harries also joins ChargePoint’s board of directors as a result of Daimler’s investment.
Earlier this year, ChargePoint announced its new ChargePoint Express Plus platform, which promises to accelerate electric car charging by 800 percent.
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