EV Charging Provider ChargePoint Plans to Build an ‘Electric Ecosystem' for Battery-Powered, Autonomous Trucks
【Summary】Electric vehicle charging provider ChargePoint announced a new partnership with autonomous truck developer Gatik with the goal of developing what it calls an “electric ecosystem” for autonomous vehicles for the business-to-business, short haul logistics sector. The goal is to improve operational efficiency for ChargePoint and Gatik’s customers across North America by providing convenient charging options for fleets of electric box trucks.
Electric vehicle charging provider ChargePoint announced a new partnership with autonomous truck developer Gatik with the goal of developing what it calls an "electric ecosystem" for autonomous vehicles for the business-to-business, short haul logistics sector.
The goal is to improve operational efficiency for ChargePoint and Gatik's customers across North America by providing convenient charging options for Gatik's electric box trucks.
As part of the partnership, the two companies will build out infrastructure and integrated service solutions to help Gatik and ChargePoint customers meet their corporate sustainability goals, using zero-emissions electric trucks. This strategic EV charging collaboration for the middle mile will play a key role in electrifying the logistics sector, the companies said.
Gatik was founded in 2017 by two brothers, Gautam Narang and Arjun Narang, and Apeksha Kumavat. The three co-founders worked together in the field of robotics, AI and machine learning and spent over a decade developing Gatik's autonomous driving technology.
Unlike companies like Waymo, Cruise and Zoox that are developing self-driving vehicles designed to carry passengers, Gatik is focused solely on autonomous delivery for B2B short-haul logistics with its self-driving electric trucks.
"Gatik's autonomous electric fleet is uniquely positioned to increase efficiency and reliability across the supply chain's middle mile, and drive sustainability across critical operational metrics for our customers," said Arjun Narang. "Our partnership with ChargePoint will ensure that we're not only meeting intensifying demand for our product offering and service, but offering our customers access to national charging infrastructure and a wealth of technical advantages to support them in meeting their corporate sustainability goals."
Gatik began working with retailer Walmart in 2019 on an autonomous delivery pilot. The company also partnered with ChargePoint as its charging partner for the Walmart fleet.
Gatik's autonomous truck deployment with Walmart made the first commercial deliveries without using a safety driver beginning last summer. The routes included delivery runs multiple times per day, seven days per week on public roads with the goal of offering autonomous and fully-electric delivery in the near future for Walmart's customers.
Now other B2B customers using Gatik's autonomous electric fleet will have access to ChargePoint's nationwide network of EV charging infrastructure that continues to expand. Gatik will also have access to fleet-specific software that provides telematics that's configurable to each customer's operations to increase efficiency of the fleet and manage charging needs.
ChargePoint will also provide modular charging hardware to minimize upfront costs by reducing required electrical capacity, the company said.
"Our partnership with Gatik will help more fleets to realize their e-mobility and decarbonization goals," said Rich Mohr, Vice President, Fleet at ChargePoint. "ChargePoint has proven experience across multiple customer applications and use cases. Together, ChargePoint and Gatik will provide industry-leading infrastructure and technologies for forward-thinking fleets."
The demand for middle mile delivery has increased rapidly due to the rise of e-commerce, which spiked during the pandemic of the past two years. It has led to a rapid expansion of EV charging infrastructure at Gatik's vehicle depots, ChargePoint says.
Gatik claims its the only company in North America operating Class 3-6 autonomous box trucks for B2B delivery with Fortune 500 customers.
Gatik's partnership with ChargePoint ensures customers have access to Gatik's class 3-6 autonomous trucks along with the charging infrastructure and integrated services that support an electric fleet.
In Sept 2021, Gatik announced an $85 million funding round led by new investor Koch Disruptive Technologies (KDT), a company that's known for supporting high-growth companies. It increased the amount raised by Gatik to $114.5 million. The funds are being used to scale North America's first autonomous middle mile logistics network.
Also in Sept 2021, Gatik announced that it's expanding its logistics operations in Texas. The company opened a new autonomous trucking facility in Fort Worth, which serves as a hub for the company's operations in the state as it continues to scale its autonomous delivery business.
Last week, Toyota Motor Corp announced its working with ChargePoint to help ensure that customers will have access to convenient charging solutions for its first electric SUV, the bZ4X, which will launch in 2023.
The lack of convenient charging is considered to be one of the barriers to widespread EV adoption in both the passenger vehicle and logistics sector. Toyota wants to address this need ahead of the bZ4X launch, as well as for the other EVs that will follow.
For home charging, bZ4X customers will have the option to purchase a ChargePoint Home Flex Level 2 charger from participating Toyota dealerships or directly from ChargePoint.
ChargePoint, which is based in Silicon Valley, was one of the first EV charging providers in the U.S. The company was founded in 2007 back when there were not many EVs on the roads. Over the years, ChargePoint has continuously expanded its network, which now includes access to around 115,000 charging stations in North America and Europe.
The company's strategic investors include German automakers Daimler AG, BMW and the venture capital arm of oil company Chevron Corp.
A year ago, ChargePoint completed its business combination with publicly traded special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Switchback Energy Acquisition Corp to launch its U.S. IPO.
The company's shares are listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the stock symbol "CHPT".
Originally hailing from New Jersey, Eric is a automotive & technology reporter covering the high-tech industry here in Silicon Valley. He has over 15 years of automotive experience and a bachelors degree in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the auto industry and beyond. He has worked at Uber on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology.
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