A recent report by Reuters highlights the intensifying competition within the electric vehicle (EV) charging sector, with over 900 companies worldwide vying for strategic locations to deploy fast public chargers. As the specter of global bans on internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles looms, the sector has become a magnet for investors, attracting over $12 billion in venture capital funding since 2012, according to data from PitchBook.
CEO of Finnish EV charger manufacturer Kempower, Tomi Ristimaki, described the current landscape as a “land grabbing game,” emphasizing the significance of securing optimal locations for fast chargers to ensure sustained electricity sales in the years to come.
While Tesla remains a dominant force in the United States, other fuel stations and convenience stores are forging contracts with various companies. The number of fast charging networks is projected to double from 25 in 2022 to 54 in 2030, according to Loren McDonald, CEO of EVAdoption. Key locations include popular spots like Walmart, Circle K, and Pilot, with GM and Pilot Flying J collaborating to install EVgo chargers at Flying J rest stops across the U.S.
Companies are actively pursuing exclusive contracts with major brands such as McDonald's and Starbucks. France's Iziva recently secured an agreement to establish fast chargers at McDonald's locations in France, while Instavolt, owned by EQT, achieved a similar partnership with McDonald's in the UK.
The report underscores that placing an EV charging station in a prime location typically takes around four years to become profitable, reaching this point when utilization hits approximately 15%. While bureaucratic red tape in Europe may slow down this process, it remains an appealing prospect for long-term infrastructure investments, as noted by entities like Infracapital, the owner of Norway's Recharge.
Despite the current influx of small startups in the sector, competing against larger players, the report anticipates consolidation in the coming years, with expectations of numerous name changes and rebranding efforts.