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Jon LeSage

Jon LeSage

Jon LeSage is a California-based journalist covering clean vehicles, alternative energy, and economic and regulatory trends shaping the automotive, transportation, and mobility sectors.

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Largest EV Charging Network Just Landed A Huge Deal With GE

The world’s leading electric vehicle charging station company has taken more strides forward in the past week.

ChargePoint is acquiring GE’s network of 9,800 charging spots, with more than 1,800 commercial and about 8,000 residential charging spots being added to ChargePoint’s offerings. It covers GE’s network of commercial WattStations and residential DuraStations.

GE had made its network, especially WattStation charging ports, memorable to those looking for more EV public charging stations with a bit of style. It’s been a tough business to stay profitable within, as many startups have failed and major corporations like GE have sold their charging networks to former competitors.

Automakers, regulators, environmental groups, car owners, and fans of the technology, have been clamoring for years to have more and faster charging ports established. Their arguments state that EV sales will stay at low levels until the public’s “range anxiety” is alleviated; that being fear of running out of energy and being stuck on the side of a highway with not enough chargers nearby.

ChargePoint is likely to be the world’s largest charging network provider. In addition to the added 9,800 chargers, the company said its operating more than 35,900 independently-owned charging spots globally. The company says that it provides charging services to more than 7,000 customers, made up of businesses, cities, agencies, and service providers. Related: The Downturn Is Over, But U.S. Oil Companies Face A Huge Problem

Since the GE acquisition, ChargePoint has announced that it secured an additional $43 million in funding. With participation from Siemens, the company said that the new funding will help to further accelerate its commitment to bringing e-mobility across Europe. The latest funding follows an initial $82 million investment and closes the total Series G round at $125 million, which has been led by Daimler.

Other major suppliers of EV charging spots around the world include AeroVironment, ABB, Chargemaster, EVgo, and SemaConnect.

Tesla, Inc., has become one of the major suppliers for its own electric vehicles, much of it through its Supercharger fast charger network.

There’s been heated debate in the auto industry about which fast charging technology should prevail. Asian automakers have been using the CHAdeMO standard issued by the Japanese government. German and U.S. automakers have been using the Society of Automotive Engineers’ Combined Charging System (CCS) standard. Tesla follows its own technology for the Supercharger, and some automakers may be joining up to its global network.

Charging station networks like ChargePoint have been adding both CHAdeMO and CCS portals to their stations for fast charging. These stations generally go up to 480 volts, while most EVs are typically charged at Level 2 stations, which are powered with 240 volts. EV owners can usually go to a fast charge and get about 80 percent recharge in about 15 minutes, which is much more desirable than Level 2 chargers taking about four hours for their recharge.

ChargePoint will begin placing its “Express Plus” fast chargers with 400-kW starting this summer. The company said it will add hundreds of miles of range for EV drivers in less than 15 minutes, making it competitive with Tesla’s Supercharger network.

By Jon LeSage for Oilprice.com

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