US start-up to devote its energy to Britain’s charging network

Ed Clowes
·2 min read
Projections by the National Grid suggest that the UK could have as many as 36m electric vehicles by 2040   
Projections by the National Grid suggest that the UK could have as many as 36m electric vehicles by 2040

A Californian start-up that owns charging networks for electric vehicles has said it will prioritise the UK after it secured $127m (£97m) in funding to continue its international expansion.

ChargePoint is looking to build its business in Britain as one of the world’s most important markets for electric vehicles, the company’s boss said.

Projections by the National Grid suggest that the UK could have as many as 36m electric vehicles by 2040.

“The UK is the strongest market for EVs (electric vehicles),” said Pat Romano, chief executive of ChargePoint. “We’re going to continue to invest substantially into the UK."

“It was one of the first countries we moved in to as we started to expand internationally,” he said, adding: “The talent pool is fantastic in the UK.”

Several research and development centres across the country focus on the technology surrounding electric vehicles, including the Electric Vehicle Centre of Excellence at Cardiff University.

ChargePoint, founded in 2007, has so far raised more than $660m. The start-up’s latest investment round of $127m came from a number of different backers, predominantly from the oil, gas and utilities industries.

The companies included Chevron Technology Ventures, the oil giant’s investment arm, and Quantum Energy Partners, a private equity company.

ChargePoint declined to say how much its business was valued at by these investors.

The company’s network has more than 114,000 places to charge, and has recorded more than 80m charging sessions, it said.

Much of the UK’s recent policy on electric vehicles has made it an attractive prospect for technology companies looking to capitalise on the booming industry.

The Government recently said that petrol and diesel cars could be banned as soon as 2032 – a development that is likely to fuel heavy demand for charging points, experts predict.

Last year, the Government announced a £400m charging infrastructure investment fund, half of which was provided by private backers.

In June 2018 BP bought Chargemaster, the UK’s largest electric vehicle charging company, which had 6,500 charging points at the time.

More recently, the French state-controlled utility EDF is understood to have paid more than £100m for Pod Point, in its first such investment.