Europe slow to standardize electric car charging: ChargePoint

(This November 5 story corrects year to 2017 from 2016 in paragraph six.)

FILE PHOTO: Pasquale Romano, Chief Executive Officer of ChargePoint, attends an interview with Reuters during the Websummit in Lisbon, Portugal November 7, 2018. REUTERS/Rafael Marchante

LISBON (Reuters) - Inconsistent requirements for charging stations across Europe are keeping the infrastructure for electric cars from growing as fast as it could, the CEO of ChargePoint, one of the world’s largest charging network operators, said on Tuesday.

Speaking in Lisbon at the Web Summit, Europe’s largest technology conference, Pasquale Romano said the European Union was the “only governing body” able to tackle the issue.

“Germany has very specific metering requirements. Some Southern European countries require shuttered sockets. That’s crazy. It’s creating noise in a way that’s not adding value to the drivers,” he said.

“Companies like us can work around this, but it makes doing business here messier than it needs to be,” he said.

ChargePoint, which operates 103,600 charging points globally, aims to increase that to 2.5 million by 2025, with the increase split evenly between Europe and the United States.

The company entered the European market in 2017, with its headquarters located in Amsterdam, joining a crowded field of oil majors, carmakers and utilities fighting to dominate the industry of electric vehicle infrastructure.

Since then, ChargePoint has hired 70 staff across the continent, with one facility in Munich and another in Reading, England, due to come into operation by the end of this year.

Most of the growth has been in Europe rather than the United States, Romano said, “with the U.S. climate the way it is.”

The U.S. government filed paperwork on Monday to withdraw the country from the Paris Agreement, the first formal step in a one-year process to exit the global pact to fight climate change by cutting emissions of greenhouse gases.

ChargePoint has raised $530 million from investors in 10 funding rounds since it was founded in 2007, including Daimler DAIGn.DE, BMW BMWG.DE and Siemens SIEGn.DE in Germany, as well as U.S. energy firms Chevron CVX.N and America Electric Power AEP.N.

“Investing in electric vehicles is the last growth opportunity the utilities industry will have for decades,” Romano said.

Reporting by Victoria Waldersee, editing by Andrei Khalip and Sonya Hepinstall