ChargePoint raises $50 million to charge more cars

ChargePoint announced this month that it had raised $50 million in its latest round of funding, thanks in large part to Linse Capital. That makes a total of $164 million raised from investors like BMW iVentures and Siemens, among others. ChargePoint already has the largest EV charging network in North America, with 28,000 stations installed since 2007.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, global sales of plug-in vehicles rose by about 80 percent in 2015, led by a surge in sales in China. (In the United States, EV sales actually dropped by about 3 percent.) In 2011, about 50,000 EVs were sold worldwide; in 2015, the number topped 565,000. Tenfold in four years isn’t too bad.

Linse Capital noted in the announcement that the additional funds will allow ChargePoint to expand its network outside North America. “This funding will accelerate ChargePoint’s ability to capitalize on that position in the North American market and replicate it in other markets around the world,” said Michael Linse, managing director of Linse Capital.

It’s worth noting, too, that the best-selling electric vehicle in the United States (and the world) for 2015 was the Tesla Model S, which has a range of at least 240 miles as rated by the EPA. Number two was the Nissan Leaf, which has an EPA-rated 107-mile range. It’s also half the price of a Tesla Model S. It’ll be close to the price of a Tesla Model 3, if you can wait a couple of years for that car’s expected 215-mile range.

Many of the electric cars available now, from the Chevy Spark to the Fiat 500e, have EPA ranges in the Leaf’s neighborhood. ChargePoint’s mission is to ease the range anxiety these owners may feel, even though the average American drives 29.2 miles per day, according to a AAA study. Its 28,000 charging points (thus the name) are installed in business parking lots, apartment garages and in homes with Level 2 charging; 310 of the stations have Level 3 Express DC fast charging.

In the chicken-and-egg game of electric vehicle adoptions, ChargePoint is supplying many of the chargers that will make EVs more practical for more people in the future.