Siemens latest German giant to rally behind ChargePoint as EU looks to mandate EV charging in larger buildings

29 June 2017

29 June 2017

Europe’s largest manufacturing giant Siemens has followed Daimler and BMW i Ventures in investing in US company ChargePoint. It comes as the world’s largest charging network provider plans its expansion into Europe as demand for plug-in electric vehicles (EVs) continues to rise.

The investment is part of ChargePoint’s $125 million (€110 million) drive to enter the European market and comes as the Frankfurter Allgemeine reports that EU member state energy ministers have agreed a proposal from the European Commission that from 2025 onwards, all major buildings in Europe must be equipped with EV charging stations.

The ruling will apply to all new or ′comprehensively’ renovated buildings that have at least 10 parking spaces, with office and non-residential buildings required to have at least one charging point – as well as cables laid so that in the future it will be possible to equip each third parking space with a charging point.

Small companies are allowed to be excluded but rules are stricter in residential buildings, with the need to create a charging point for every parking space. The EU believes the costs will be manageable, forecast to amount to €2,500 for the establishment of a charging station by the time the proposal takes effect, accounting for 1-2% of the total cost of renovating buildings. The charging point plan is part of the EU’s energy efficiency plans, which aims for the EU to emit 40% less CO2 by 2030, with energy savings of 30%.

With such enormous growth thus forecast for the EV charging point market in the coming years, it is clear to see why Siemens wants to get in on the action. In March, ChargePoint announced it had raised $82 million (€72 million), including investment by Mercedes-owner Daimler, which saw Daimler’s Axel Harries join ChargePoint’s board. This latest $42 million (€37 million) investment takes the total European expansion investment to $125 million (€109 million) and will see the CEO of Siemen’s Energy Management Division Ralf Christian also join the board. The privately held company has now raised $268 million (€234 million) in total so far.

New board member, Siemens’ Christian, said: ′Our investment represents an acknowledgement by Siemens of the future and the potential of electromobility. Siemens will support ChargePoint with its complementary technology portfolio and facilitate the integration of vehicle charging into modern power grids.’ This suggests ChargePoint will benefit from Siemens’ deep expertise in European standards and electricity grid architectures, giving it key inside knowledge to successfully execute its European expansion.

The company continues to grow in dominance in the US, recently adding to its predominantly US-based 36,000 charging station network with the acquisition of General Electric’s 9,800 charge points, including its commercial WattStations and residential DuraStations.

ChargePoint announced its new 400kW ′Express Plus’ fast chargers at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, which it says will add hundreds of miles of range for EV drivers in less than 15 minutes. This is competitive with that offered by Tesla’s Supercharger network. As more and more EVs flood the US market, it is likely ChargePoint will be able to out-compete Tesla’s network in the years to come if the latter remains exclusive to Tesla cars.

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