ChargePoint gives Europe equal billing in electric car grid plan

LISBON (Reuters) - ChargePoint, which operates one of the world’s largest charging station grids for electric vehicles, expects to split a major expansion plan equally between Europe and its home market the United States, its chief executive said.

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The company said in September it was aiming for 2.5 million charging points globally by 2025 and CEO Pasquale Romano told Reuters at the Web Summit conference in Lisbon that the increase was likely to be evenly split between Europe and the United States.

Europe is seen as potentially moving more quickly to electric vehicle adoption than the United States after President Donald Trump pulled out of the Paris climate agreement.

The 11-year-old firm, partly owned by German car makers BMW and Daimler, started selling in Europe in March and has reached around 1,000 points, out of a total of 60,000, which are mostly in the United States.

Growth in Europe will benefit from the phasing in of diesel car bans in parts of Europe in the 2020s, Romano said. As bans are phased in, diesel cars are likely to be swapped for electric vehicles, he said.

Norway, which is already a big market for electric cars and the single-biggest for Tesla cars, will ban all combustion-engine car sales from 2025. Big cities in Germany are planning diesel bans while Denmark and Britain plan to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars in the next two decades.

Silicon Valley-based ChargePoint supplies charging hardware and software. It has raised $125 million to expand in Europe, where it will compete against companies such as French utility Engie, Germany’s Innogy and E.ON, which are aiming at creating electric vehicle infrastructure.

ChargePoint does not own any re-charging stations but rather functions like an Airbnb or Uber to create a network of locations and schedule bookings at available charging points.

Romano would not put a figure on the company’s current sales but said “revenue growth is absolutely better than 50 percent year-over-year, we don’t see that slowing down at all.”

He said an initial public offering would be the “logical outcome” for the company but said there was no formal timeline for that.

Some auto industry experts have predicted that the world’s car fleet is set to start declining in coming decades because of congestion in many cities, prompting car sharing and greater use of public transport.

Romano said that did not worry him as ChargePoint was looking at markets for both individual car owners and fleets, such as bus companies in cities.

“As long as we are playing in both (markets), it doesn’t matter,” he said. “The funny thing is we are in a rising tide (of EV adoption) in a ultimately receding ocean (of car ownership),” he said.

Editing by Andrei Khalip. Editing by Jane Merriman