ChargePoint’s latest funding round adds $240 million to the company’s portfolio, nearly doubling cash the company has on hand to over $500 million.
The latest roster of investors includes Chevron’s Technology Ventures, along with legacy investors such as GIC Private Limited, utility American Electric Power, and Daimler Trucks & Buses. Pasquale Romano, the CEO and president of ChargePoint, said the funding sources show “we’re now solidly past the tipping point” on moving toward transportation electrification.
“You’ve got old energy, plus new energy, plus mainstream investors all coming together saying this is definitely a trend that’s here to stay,” said Romano. “To get the recognition that the old guard is buying into this is something I think we’ve all been waiting for.”
The investment from Chevron in particular is noteworthy. While oil and gas majors increasingly have been moving into clean energy, most of that movement has concentrated on European majors. British Petroleum, for instance, invested in Freewire and bought British charging company Chargemaster this year. In 2017, Shell acquired charging company NewMotion.
The ChargePoint investment is Chevron’s first in the space. Most Technology Ventures investments to date have focused on oil and gas, communications or IT.
In “emerging/alternative energy,” the group has invested in fuel cell company Acumentrics, renewable liquid fuel company Ensyn and carbon capture company Inventys.
“Many of the majors in oil and gas globally have been diversifying. A lot of them have a renewables portfolio, a lot of them are trading energy,” said Romano. “It’s nice to see a U.S. major take a big step. That industry, it’s got a lot of capability, it’s got a lot of available capital and it can make a huge difference in the electrification of transportation. Huge.”
In addition to the utility contribution from AEP, ChargePoint in the past has received funding from Constellation, the venture arm of Exelon Corporation.
According to Romano, the show of support from those partners along with an oil major and automakers like Daimler and BMW sends a message of confidence in an electrified future. The recent announcement from General Motors that it would restructure and prioritize electric vehicles only adds more clarity to that picture, he said.
ChargePoint’s last funding round went toward its European expansion. The latest will go toward shoring up investments ChargePoint has made there, as well as in different emerging fleet segments. In June the company acquired Kisensum, a fleet management software company.
“Don’t underestimate fleets,” said Romano. “Everything in the long run will tend toward fleets.”
ChargePoint has just over 57,000 charging spots currently installed. In September, the company set a target to install a total of 2.5 million public chargers by 2025. At the time, Romano said even more will be needed to support the worldwide fleet once vehicles including buses and trucks are electrified.
In October, the company expanded charging access through roaming partnerships with EVBox and Flo, which allow drivers in North America and Europe to use chargers from any of those companies even if they aren’t a member of the network.
“Drivers should find charging in the most convenient location, whether it’s on our network or part of someone else’s,” said Romano. “The last thing we want to do is anything that adds friction to a driver having an awesome experience with their electric vehicle.”