ChargePoint to acquire electromobility tech provider to strengthen position in Europe
21 July 2021
Electrically-chargeable vehicle (EV) infrastructure network, ChargePoint, has signed an agreement to acquire has.to.be, an electromobility provider with a European charging software platform. The network made the move as it acknowledges the rapidly-growing EV market in Europe.
Under the terms of the agreement ChargePoint will pay a purchase price of roughly €250 million, subject to adjustments. Made in cash and stock, this transaction is expected to close this year, subject to regulatory approvals and closing conditions.
‘As an established leader in North America, our continued investment in Europe is critical to our stated growth strategy,’ said Pasquale Romano, president and CEO of ChargePoint. ‘We are excited to announce our agreement to acquire has.to.be, a leader in its own right with a talented team, an impressive base of customers committed to e-mobility and robust technology. Our combined assets should position us to accelerate our leadership as electrification continues to take hold across continents.’
Headquartered in the federal province of Salzburg, the technology provider employs 125 people in Austria and Germany. Now ChargePoint is positioning itself to benefit from its strong European market presence, particularly in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
Founded in 2013, has.to.be currently boasts 40,000 networked ports with a further 250,000 connected through open roaming agreements. It carries with it over 1,000 customers hailing from a variety of sectors, such as automotive, fleet, and energy. Then there are leading brands like Aral, Audi, GP Joule, Ionity and Porsche.
‘Over the past eight years, our talented team has helped lead e-mobility in Europe and attracted a large base of leading brands as customers who rely on our charging-software platform every day to meet their technical requirements,’ said Martin Klässner, co-founder and CEO of has.to.be. ‘Together with the resources of ChargePoint, we will continue in this spirit and achieve even greater scale as the market continues to expand.’
The has.to.be software platform is built to address the complex and fragmented nature of Europe’s charging landscape. Furthermore, it is compatible with widely-deployed charging stations and electromobility services. It is capable of providing scalable charging-infrastructure operations to end-to-end management of mobility solutions.
Has.to.be already attracted attention within the automotive industry, receiving the backing of Volkswagen Group (VW) as an investor and key stakeholder. ‘Our longstanding commitment to e-mobility includes an early investment in has.to.be, said Elke Temme, head of VW charging and energy. ‘We believe ChargePoint and has.to.be together have great potential to drive the adoption of e-mobility.’
As the automotive industry undergoes a zero-emission transformation, the need for clean charging and fuelling infrastructure has become painfully apparent. OEMs might develop and build cars powered by electricity and hydrogen, but if consumers do not have access to the necessary plugs and pumps, adoption will be limited.
This is where greater regulation comes into play. The European Commission recently published its Fit for 55 proposals on infrastructure. As part of this, the revised Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation will require member states to expand charging capacity in line with zero-emission car sales. These countries will also need to install charging and fuelling points at regular intervals on major roads. Proposals suggest infrastructure is located every 60km for electric charging and every 150km for hydrogen fuelling. This step-up in regulations will undoubtedly lead to continued rapid growth within the infrastructure sector, with more movements like ChargePoint’s highly likely.
When approached by Autovista24 about the Fit for 55 package, ChargePoint referred to previous comments made by its managing director in Europe and president of ChargeUp Europe, Christopher Burghardt. When it comes to employing regulations over directives to create an EU single market for EV charging infrastructure, he explained the calls had been clear. ‘We need a strong regulation to prevent different national rules slowing down the roll-out of infrastructure in Europe,’ he said.
Barriers like diverging technical standards, grid-connection challenges, and slow permitting procedures must be tackled to get infrastructure scaled up. ‘At the same time, new rules should promote things like interoperability, and roaming to make EV driving as simple and seamless as possible. We do not want to see the development of a two-speed Europe. We need a true single market for EV charging infrastructure to ensure that all EV drivers can travel and charge with ease wherever they are in Europe,’ Burghardt added.
Now, with the proposal of the Fit for 55 package and revisions made to the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation, it looks like infrastructure companies, like ChargePoint, could see far more activity in their sector.