Vattenfall joins battle for EV charging market dominance

STOCKHOLM, April 20 (Reuters) - Swedish utility Vattenfall launched plans on Friday to become northwestern Europe’s biggest operator of electric vehicle charging infrastructure within five years.

The Nordic region’s biggest player said in a statement it targeted turnover for the business of 1 billion crowns ($119 million) by then, banking on the growing need for charging points for electric cars.

With Tesla, Porsche and BMW growing sales of their battery-powered cars, and with other car firms planning to speed up their shifts to EVs, the battle over where Europeans charge them is intensifying.

Power utilities such as Vattenfall, but also tech start-ups and oil majors are fighting to establish themselves as the dominant players in this fast-growing business.

Among players vying to take control before the sector takes off are French utility Engie, Germany’s Innogy , ChargePoint whose owners include BMW, Daimler and Siemens. Vattenfall’s Finnish rival Fortum has also made several acquisitions to compete in the sector.

State-owned Vattenfall, which already operates home, business and public charging solutions in Sweden, Germany and the Netherlands, said the business now planned to enter new markets including Britain, France and Norway.

“From now on we expect our charging network to double in size every year in order meet a sharp increase in electric vehicle growth,” it said.

Norway has the largest electric car penetration globally, followed by the Netherlands and Sweden. The International Energy Agency sees the global stock growing to between 9 million and 20 million by 2020, from 2 million in 2016. ($1 = 8.4060 Swedish crowns) (Reporting by Anna Ringstrom; Editing by Niklas Pollard and Alison Williams)