Germany's Innogy Takes on US EV Charging Market

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【Summary】The company recently completed a successful Series G funding round, led by Siemens AG, raising $43 million. Earlier this year, the business closed a financing round led by Daimler.

Michael Cheng    Jul 14, 2017 10:20 AM PT
Germany's Innogy Takes on US EV Charging Market

Infrastructure issues currently affecting the EV market are being overshadowed by the success of the nascent sector. Perhaps the most daunting concern is the number and availability of charging stations around the US. At the moment, most installations are targeting highly populated areas. This is effective, but only in the short term.

In order to cater to EV owners in small communities and individuals with range anxiety, there needs to be 10 times more charging stations around; as there are roughly 16,141 electric hubs and 43,437 charging outlets (according to the US Department of Energy), compared to roughly 168,000 gas stations in the country for fuel-powered cars.

To close this widening gap, Innogy, a Germany-based company, is entering the US market to install more charging stations and take on local competition, including ChargePoint.

Powering EV Disruption

Innogy established a subsidiary in Los Angeles, California, under Innogy E-mobility US LLC to streamline its plans. Back in Germany, it is the country's largest energy firm – based on market value, as well as a major operator of charging stations in Europe with around 5,700 hubs. The group already has the experience and knowledge to execute mass installations, suggesting it has the full capacity to compete directly with ChargePoint.

ChargePoint owns and operates the world's largest umbrella of EV charging hubs, consisting of 34,500 stations spread across the US and Mexico. It also plans to expand its services in Europe. The company recently completed a successful Series G funding round, led by Siemens AG, raising $43 million. Earlier this year, the business closed a financing round led by Daimler.

"We are firm believers in the future of electric mobility. For this reason, Innogy is working constantly to drive forward the expansion of clean, climate-friendly mobility. In Germany, we are already the leader in terms of number of charging points. Now we want to continue this success in the US," explained Innogy CEO Peter Terium.

Blockchain-powered Charging Stations

The company is no stranger to new, cutting-edge technologies. Earlier this year, the group launched several charging hubs that are powered by the Ethereum blockchain (serving as a transaction layer) under its startup venture Share&Charge. The stations rely on the following three types of smart contracts for the service:

·      LibManager: Used to reference and manage contract-to-contract processes.

·      MobilityToken: Applies regulatory frameworks associated with the charging service.

·      ChargingPoles: An accessible registry of charging poles.

To use the service, customers must acquire euro-backed, digital Mobility Tokens from the official Android and iOS smartphone apps. Like other blockchain platforms, the entire network is decentralized. So far, the charging hubs are only available in Germany. However, due to its initial success in the area and positive feedback from customers, it is likely the company will expand its blockchain-powered network of charging stations in the future.

"The entire market structure of the automotive industry and the associated energy industries is in a period of change. While petrol-driven cars still require filling stations, soon, infrastructure monopolies of this kind will no longer be necessary," said Dietrich Sümmermann, co-founder of Share&Charge. 

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