EQT to buy UK car-charging operator InstaVolt

23 February 2022

EQT Infrastructure plans to acquire InstaVolt, a UK-based operator of rapid electric-vehicle charging units, for an undisclosed sum from private equity firm Zouk Capital. Founded in 2016, InstaVolt has a nationwide network of 700 car-charging points, with EQT aiming to help the startup expand its network to 10,000 rapid car chargers by 2032.

InstaVolt’s charge points can be found at retail, food, beverage, and forecourt sites. Its partners include McDonald’s, Costa Coffee and Booths. The company’s strong market position has convinced EQT to sign the deal, with InstaVolt aiming to expand its reach beyond the UK in the future.

The transaction will see founding investor Zouk Capital, which manages the Charging Infrastructure Investment Fund, exit in full after establishing the company with InstaVolt’s management team. As part of the deal, EQT Infrastructure is expected to be 65%-70% invested in InstaVolt.

Future is electric

‘The future is electric and InstaVolt is essential to the roll-out of electrically-chargeable vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure across the UK, a prerequisite for enabling mass adoption of EVs,’ said Anna Sundell, partner and head of EQT Infrastructure’s UK advisory team. ‘We are excited about supporting InstaVolt in the next phase of growth and for EQT to play its part in decarbonising the transportation sector and driving the transition towards net-zero in the UK and beyond.’

InstaVolt owns and operates its charge points in the UK, where EV sales surged in 2021. Last year marked the most successful year in history for EV uptake as more new battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) were registered than over the previous five years combined.

The government hopes for mass adoption of EVs as it prepares to ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars from 2030, ahead of the EU where similar proposals are set to come into force in 2035. But a third of British households still lack access to off-street charging, with many depending on public infrastructure.  

Setting standards

‘InstaVolt has set a standard in the UK for driver experience and infrastructure, and now with support from EQT, we are in a unique position to accelerate that target and replicate our model in other geographies, transitioning the business into the next phase of growth,’ said Adrian Keen, InstaVolt’s CEO.

The company pitches itself as the UK’s number one public-charging network, recently saying it was on track to become the largest owner-operated, rapid-charging network in the country this year. The amount of car-charging points is expected to exceed 1,000 during the summer. This year, the startup also plans to launch its first rapid car-chargers in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. In the past year, the company has grown its network by more than 50%.

InstaVolt uses 100% renewable energy sources such as solar or wind farms to supply electricity through its chargers. Its technology partner is ChargePoint, one of the world’s largest EV charging network. All of InstaVolt’s plug-in points are ChargePoint rapid DC chargers. The units reach a minimum of 50kW and can be upgraded to 350kW. In the past, the company has invested more than £42 million (€50 million) in building and maintaining its network and is looking to invest another £80 million in the next three years.