Silicon Valley based ChargePoint has just raised another $24 million
【Summary】Silicon Valley company ChargePoint, which operates EV charging stations, has just raised another $24 million in venture capital, bringing its total investments to $279 million.
By Eric Walz
Silicon Valley company ChargePoint, which operates EV charging stations, has just raised another $24 million in venture capital, bringing its total investments to $279 million. Ths company is based in Silicon Valley, in Campbell, California.
In March, the company closed an $82 million round led by Daimler to grow its electric-car charging networks into Europe. According to an SEC filing, ChargePoint raised just over $106 million in the last few months. Previous investors include BMW i Ventures, Linse Capital, Rho Capital Partners, and Braemar Energy Ventures.
ChargePoint is the world's largest network of electric vehicle charging stations that any EV owner can use when traveling. The company partners with businesses to install and maintain charging stations where EV owners can plug in their vehicles while they shop or visit. With more than 33,000 charging stations, ChargePoint is the biggest EV charging service provider in the U.S.
ChargePoint offers three types of charging stations, Home Charging, Level 2 Charging, and Express DC Fast Charging. The home charging station are ENERGY STAR certified, and offer up to 6x the charging speed over conventional 110 volt power outlets and is equipped with a standard J1772 connector, enabling it to charge any electric vehicle.
The ChargePoint home charger
The residential home chargers are "connected devices" which update automatically to the latest software upgrades over WiFi. With the ChargePoint mobile app, users can remote start the charger when away from home, or schedule and set charging reminders. The mobile app also can recommend the best time to charge based on your utility. Unlike Tesla's home chargers that require 240 volts, ChargePoint's home charger works with standard household current of 110 volts, and does not require a licensed electrician to install.
ChargePoint's Level 2 commercial charging stations are suitable for for businesses, municipalities and property owners that want to offer EV charging to their employees, customers, residents and fleets.
The Company's Express Plus charging stations offers scalable, roadside, ultra fast DC charging, and are capable of delivering up to 400 kW to a single vehicle, and can even charge electric buses and trucks. Drivers can use the charging stations with a refillable card billed to a credit card that is replenished automatically.
When Level 2 charging stations are full, drivers can join "Waitlist" through the company's mobile app and get in line to be notified when a station becomes available. Stations are held for drivers while they drive up and plug in. For example, if a particular charging station is occupied at their office building, the waiting driver will receive a text message, letting them know that the charger is available.
Using the using the ChargePoint app on their smartphone a driver can see if the station is occupied or available to use. If one particular charging station is being used, the next provides directions to the next nearest available charger.
ChargePoint also works directly with automakers to provide customized charging stations for car owners. ChargePoint provides its automotive partners with access to our station map data with real-time availability and data integration with in-dash navigation units, so drivers can find the nearest charging station. Driver can use the ChargePoint app to easily find charging stations while on the road. ChargePoint's OEM partners include GM, Nissan, BMW, Mercedes Benz, and Fiat.
With the company's tens of millions in new venture capital, ChargePoint is expanding into European countries looking to promote fast-charging infrastructure. Last week, the company signed a deal to deliver 200 rapid-charge systems to InstaVolt in the U.K., which will be installed along popular driving routes in the country.
"Currently, there are dozens of providers of EV charging hardware, software and driver networks in a fragmented market. They all work differently and often require drivers to sign up for separate accounts, which creates a confusing and cumbersome charging experience for EV drivers," wrote the company, explaining its European strategy.
Europe's electric car market is growing, however, not as fast as many predicted. Battery-electric vehicles grew 4.6 percent in Western Europe in 2016, according to the British Automotive Industry Data. This year, however, sales appear to be picking up in the region.
ChargePoint is looking into the future
It's recent round of fundraising is another step toward global expansion. And possibly an expansion into flying cars. Last month, the company said it will develop fast-charging solutions for a vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) transportation fleet envisioned by Uber. (Uber first proposed the idea last October in a white paper and recently held a summit, where experts discussed the concept.)
"The power demands of on-demand eVTOL's create unique charging challenges: VTOL vehicles need to make frequent short trips, but will have limited time to charge between trips while loading passengers. They will endure hundreds of charging cycles in their lifetime and require massive amounts of power for vertical takeoff and landing. Without the right charging infrastructure in place, eVTOL vehicles cannot become a viable form of transportation," wrote ChargePoint in its partnership announcement.
The company said the chargers are designed for "the next 10 years in transportation technology." The company's "vertiport" chargers will use the same architecture as the newly released fast chargers.
So in the next decade, ChargePoint's infrastructure may move beyond carports, shopping centers and office parking lots, and extend to rooftops.
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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