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Chargepoint targets rivals with home EV charger launch

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Image: Chargepoint.

Chargepoint is preparing to launch its home electric vehicle charging solution in the UK, backed by channel partners and car manufacturers who already support market leader Chargemaster, setting up a hefty competition between the two.

The US giant, which enjoys a 70% market share in connected charging across the pond, is already testing its beta home units in the UK ahead of a possible launch as early as next month.

The company will look to sell directly as well as through channel partners like facilities solutions provider ABM which it signed up as a distributor in December.

Chargepoint will also work with car manufacturers to bundle their chargers into the sale or leasing of new electric vehicles as Christopher Burghardt, managing director Europe at Chargepoint, explained to Clean Energy News last week.

“A lot of EVs are sold through operating leases and that's where you're effectively selling the home chargers with the vehicle through the lease company. Then even privately a lot of EVs are sold as financial lease vehicles so again it’s much more about funding that in with the vehicle.

“But we're also working with car manufacturers to bundle in our home chargers with their vehicles. Daimler and BMW are both investors so we are pretty close to the car industry.”

Both BMW and Mercedes-Benz, which is owned by Daimler, are official partners of Chargemaster, which already enjoys established relationships with these and other car manufacturers in selling home chargers as part of new EV sales.

Despite its similar approach to the current market leader in taking on the domestic consumer market, Burghardt says the company is unphased by the competition posed in the UK following Chargepoint’s success in the US.

“Coming into the UK is a very different matter than having gone into the US, where we built the market. Here we're a fast follower into the market so Chargemaster for example are obviously a strong competitor and we think we have a very solid solution so we look forward to competing with them,” he said.

'Very important role' of home charging to continue

So far Chargepoint has secured a supply deal with Instavolt to roll out 50kW DC chargers, with 600 units agreed for installation across the UK. In contrast, Chargemaster operates a public charging network of over 6,000 with a further 2,000 to be added to the POLAR network over 2018.

Both companies view the home market as particularly important for the future, with Chargemaster previously stating that the current figure of around 80% of home charging is set to continue.

“We say about 80% of charging is done at home and that will probably always remain the case. The fact that there are already as many charge points out there if you count private, workplace and home, and public charge points as there are EVs, the fact that 80+% of charging happens at home anyway shows us that actually EVs are working for the people that have them,” said director of communication and strategy Tom Callow.

This view was echoed by Mark Kerstens, head of strategic accounts at Chargepoint, who recently told Clean Energy News that existing consumer charging habits will continue in the face of increasing charging rates and battery capacity in EVs.

“Where there is access to home charging I actually would say that will continue to play a very important role. Charging speeds may go up, batteries may get larger but most people are not going to sleep shorter. They’re still going to spend eight or ten hours at home with their families and sleeping so frankly whether the battery is large or not is not necessarily the key thing, they will have plenty of time to have their vehicle charged overnight,” he explained. 

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