ChargePoint teams with U.S. truck stops to expand electric vehicle adoption

DETROIT (Reuters) - A leading electric vehicle charging network and a trade group that represents America’s travel plazas and truck stops said on Thursday they plan to leverage $1 billion through public and private funding sources over the next decade to encourage the broader adoption of EVs.

FILE PHOTO: A ChargePoint station on display at the Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt, Germany, September 12, 2017. REUTERS/Christoph Steitz/File Photo

Automakers Volkswagen AGVOWG_p.DE, General Motors Co and Ford Motor Co have announced plans to spend billions of dollars over the next several years launching EVs in a bid to directly challenge electric carmaker Tesla Inc, which has its own network of charging stations. Investor enthusiasm for electric vehicles has sent shares in Tesla and big battery makers soaring in recent days.

ChargePoint, which operates but does not own its charging network, and the National Association of Truck Stop Operators (NATSO) told Reuters they formed the National Highway Charging Collaborative, with plans to install Level 2 and DC fast chargers at more than 4,000 U.S. locations by 2030 to expand EV charging along highways and in rural communities.

The money will be raised through private operators, state and local governments, private infrastructure funds and others, ChargePoint Chief Executive Pasquale Romano said.

“Enabling long distance electric travel and equipping rural areas with vital universal charging is key and must begin scaling aggressively today,” he said in an interview. “This collaboration will play an important role in paving the way to the mass adoption of EVs.”

There are only a few million EVs on U.S. roads today, but in May 2019 the International Energy Agency forecast that figure could reach over 130 million by 2030.

“It appears clear that the next generation of fuel is going to be electricity, so we want to make sure that our members are prepared to meet the needs of their customers,” NATSO CEO Lisa Mullings said in a separate interview.

ChargePoint operates more than 108,000 charging points globally, mostly in North America, and aims to increase that to 2.5 million by 2025. ChargePoint estimates it has a 70% share of the market for commercial charging in the United States.

In June 2019, ChargePoint signed a deal with VW subsidiary Electrify America to make the United States’ two largest EV charging networks accessible to customers of both companies.

ChargePoint, founded in 2007, has raised $538 million from investors including Daimler, BMW and Siemens in Germany, as well as U.S. energy firms Chevron and America Electric Power.

Reporting by Ben Klayman in Detroit; Editing by Dan Grebler