Germany's Innogy enters Californian electric car charging market

FILE PHOTO: Innogy logo in Essen, Germany, March 14, 2017. Reuters/Thilo Schmuelgen/File Photo - RTX36M6P

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Innogy, Germany’s biggest energy company, has set up a subsidiary in the U.S. state of California offering charging points for electric vehicles in competition with the top network ChargePoint.

The subsidiary, called Innogy E-Mobility US LLC, will make, market and operate the charge points, the German company, which was spun off from RWE last year, said in a statement.

Despite attempts by regulators to push car manufacturers to sell more electric cars to curb greenhouse gas emissions, the vehicles face challenges from low gasoline prices, high battery costs and uncertain investment in recharging infrastructure.

Innogy has been doing research into electric vehicles with the University of California in San Diego since 2015 and last month announced a project combining charging points made by U.S.-based BTCpower with its own software.

Innogy, the largest Germany energy firm by market value, has about 5,700 electric vehicle charging points and says it is one of the leading operators of car charging infrastructure in Europe.

ChargePoint, the world’s largest network of electric vehicle charging systems with more than 38,000 points across North America, has also been pushing into Europe.

Last month, it secured $43 million in financing led by Siemens, which will collaborate with it on the development of charging stations in Europe.

Reporting by Maria Sheahan; editing by David Clarke