BMW i Ventures - a Venture Capital Company based in New York City founded by the BMW Group - announced today a strategic investment in Chargemaster Plc, a major European provider of electric vehicle charging infrastructure and the leading provider in the UK.
This transaction come to fruition after Chargemaster signaled willingness to issue shares and raise new funds in early July:
"Chargemaster Plc, the UK’s leading provider of electric vehicle charging infrastructure, today announces its intention to raise funds and seek admission of its shares to trading on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange (“Admission”). Dealings are expected to commence on AIM in July 2013. WH Ireland Limited is acting as Nominated Adviser and sole Broker to the Company."
Chargemaster to date delivered over 6,000 charging points and it seems the company is making profit on them, but what we don't know is if its UK POLAR network is also profitable:
"Chargemaster has begun to grow a public network of charging points in the UK operating under the ‘POLAR’ brand. Since the Company’s formation in 2008, it has supplied over 6,000 charging points to an impressive portfolio of energy providers, car manufacturers, government agencies, local government bodies and retail organisations."
"In the year to 31 December 2012, the Company supplied over 2,800 charging points, generating revenues of £3.6 million and a gross profit of £1.24 million."
The main products for Chargemaster are:
• Home charging: The majority of charging of EVs is expected to take place at home. Chargemaster manufactures a popular home charging unit in Europe, which is supplied to Nissan, Renault, Vauxhall, Toyota, British Gas, EDF and Volvo. It is an attractively designed unit with charging rates of up to 7kW allowing cars to be fully charged in around three hours, and is installed either in customers’ garages or outside on their driveway.
• Workplace charging: Chargemaster has a popular range of charging units designed for workplace use. Access control can be by RFID card or by key switch and the units may be conveniently mounted on a wall or post mounted.
• Public charging: Chargemaster’s range of public charging units charge an EV at a rate of up to 22kW allowing cars to be fully charged in around an hour. The Company supplies units that can be mounted on car park walls or post units installed on streets and car parks.
• Rapid charging: The Company distributes rapid charge units manufactured by Nissan providing up to 50kW AC and DC charging to appropriately equipped cars. These are typically installed in public places and can charge a car in as short a time as 20 minutes.
In addition, Chargemaster provides installation, service and maintenance support for all charging posts.
For BMW i Ventures, the investment in Chargemaster is only one part of the equation. In addition, the partners entered into a wide ranging cooperation agreement whereby Chargemaster will provide a range of E-mobility services. Both parties will carry out joint electric vehicle (EV) marketing activities and will work together to promote the advancement of EVs and E-mobility services.
"The five year cooperation agreement between Chargemaster and BMW i aims to ensure that suitable charging infrastructure is in place for the anticipated proliferation of EVs, with both parties working to establish ChargeNow, the public charging network for BMW i owners across the UK. Chargemaster will also provide charging equipment and sites for the BMW i car sharing service DriveNow. Both parties are working together on making EV charging as accessible to consumers as possible. This includes working with another BMW i partner, ParkatmyHouse.com (PAMH), to roll out further charging points within the PAMH estate of over 30,000 private parking locations. This cooperation extends Chargemaster’s existing work with PAMH where Chargemaster has already been equipping London PAMH driveways with charging points."
Noteworthy is that, last year, BMW i Ventures also invested in California start-up ChargePoint (formerly Coulomb Technologies).