ChargePoint becoming the network to beat with recent capital infusion

by Ernie Hernandez on May 26, 2014

Level2Charge

$22.6 million add brings total funding to over $110 million

ChargePoint, based in northern California, now operates more than 17,000 charging ports in the nation making it the largest EV charging network in the country. With this capital infusion of $22.6 million ChargePoint is clearly the most successful privately held charging network company.

The Blink Network, created by ECOtality which went bankrupt last October, is the second largest network with over 12,000 installed charge locations. Car Charging Group, which acquired the Blink Network, last year also acquired 350Green, Beam Charging, and EVPass. The combined Car Charging Group networks offer over 14,000 charge stations. Clearly the EV charging industry is one in which it is difficult to gain a firm grip. ChargePoint seems to have done so.

The fact that so many electric vehicle (EV) charging networks ran into financial difficulty last year is a testament to the quicksand like conditions that these companies must operate in. And it’s no wonder. The industry of electric vehicles is still so new that there is not yet widespread agreement on virtually any aspect of the vehicle – including how to charge one. We will look at that in another article.

In addition, ChargePoint also just announced a collaborative agreement with Schneider Electric to connect Schneider Electric’s EVlink charging stations to the ChargePoint network. This will immediately make these new stations available to ChargePoint’s user base. ChargePoint has established business relationships with Nissan, BMW, Mercedes Benz, and Chevrolet.

 

 

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Melina May 27, 2014 at 11:54 am

I sure hope they will smooth out the hick-up with Nissan’s “EZ-Charge” program in a professional manner.

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Ernie Hernandez June 3, 2014 at 1:59 pm

Melina – In our inquiry to Nissan about this, this is the reply that we got from Brian Brockman from their PR department:

I don’t have anything to share today about ChargePoint coming back into EZ-Charge. We feel it’s a very strong program with eVgo, Blink/Car Charging Group and AeroVironment, given their size, particularly with DC quick chargers. That said, we’re actively looking for ways to increase the number of chargers in the program, as it means a better experience for the LEAF driver.

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Karl B June 3, 2014 at 4:03 am

Do you know what Nissan’s plans are for DC QuickCharge upgrades at their dealership network across the country? I’ve asked that on the Nissan LEAF Facebook page, but I get a non-committal answer and a web link: http://www.nissanusa.com/electric-cars/leaf/charging-range/charging/

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Ernie Hernandez June 3, 2014 at 6:28 pm

Karl – Welcome to Living LEAF. I wrote a couple articles about this earlier. Here’s a link to the more recent of the two – Nissan’s 500 quick charger installations. Nissan was just starting to roll them out in Southern California at the time, but now they are relatively wide spread here. I don’t know where you’re located, but Nissan is basing placement of additional stations on vehicle sales. It seems that when they go in to a new area, they install in many of the local dealerships. For instance all the dealerships in the greater St. Louis area now have quick chargers. I recommend that you go into all of the dealerships in your area and ask to speak to the general manager, and suggest that they put quick chargers in your area. A personal visit carries more weight than a phone call. Good luck!

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Karl B June 4, 2014 at 2:59 pm

Hi Ernie,

Thanks for the reply and the link. I’m in the Kansas City area, and unlike the St. Louis area just about 250 miles east of here, the PlugShare map shows no orange quick chargers in our area. The real key IMHO is to get the Nissan dealers on major thoroughfares such as I-70 between KC and STL (like this one: http://api.plugshare.com/view/location/2196) to install DCQCs. I will take your advice and do personal visits when I can. The question I have is what is the right approach? From the dealer’s perspective, what’s in it for them? Out-of-towners will stop in for a charge, mooch a bottle of water, and keep moving. Seems like the investment has to come from a corporate level as it will ultimately benefit all the Nissan dealers. On a separate note, access to the QCDCs should be 24 hours, not just during business hours.

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Ernie Hernandez June 6, 2014 at 5:32 pm

Hi Karl – Sorry, I was unclear in my previous response. Nissan corporation is sponsoring the DCQC installations at all of the Nissan dealerships. By requesting DCQC installation at the local stores, you are letting them know that there is interest in creating such a network in the KC area. Regarding 24 hour access – that will not happen at the dealerships. With all of their inventory being rolling stock, every dealer in the country blocks driveways when their people are not there. As far as placing a DCQC in the Columbia area that you mentioned, that will more than likely have to fall to one of the networks. Since it’s only purpose would be to serve people traveling from KC to St. Louis it does not benefit the local dealership. Better to pursue a restaurant or retail area for that location.

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