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CIIF to fund Virgin Media EV charging rollout

The two companies have formed a joint venture to use Virgin Media's infrastructure for EV charging.

The two companies have formed a joint venture to use Virgin Media's infrastructure for EV charging.

Zouk Capital has formed a joint venture with Liberty Global Ventures to rollout on-street residential electric vehicle (EV) chargers.

Liberty Charge will receive financing through the Charging Infrastructure Investment Fund (CIIF), a government-backed fund managed by Zouk, marking the second investment the fund has made.

The joint venture will utilise Virgin Media’s existing infrastructure – as the telecommunications company is owned by Liberty Global – for the EV charging points.

An EV charging trial using Virgin Media's infrastructure, the Virgin Media Park & Charge project, is already underway. The project, run by a consortium including Vattenfall, Connected Kerb, Cenex and Loughborough University, aims to deploy 1,200 charging sockets in towns and cities across the country by early 2021.

The new 50:50 joint venture was originally set up as a small incubation initiative within Liberty Global Ventures last year. It will focus on providing the under-the-pavement power and communications infrastructure required for EV charging in residential spaces.

Jason Simpson, vice president of Global Energy and Utilities for Liberty Global, said the investment re-enforces the company’s belief that there is “significant value in leveraging Virgin Media’s wide-ranging infrastructure” for sectors such as e-mobility and energy.

This is the second investment to come out of the CIIF, with rapid charging provider Instavolt the first recipient. This choice initially raised questions as Zouk is the largest shareholder in the company, however the Infrastructure and Projects Authority insisted there was no conflict of interest in the investment and that due diligence had been conducted.

The CIIF has so far raised a total of £75 million of private investment. It has an aim of raising £200 million of private investment, which is to be matched by the government, with a final close scheduled for later this year.

Current± recently spoke to Zouk Capital’s infrastructure partner Massimo Resta about what the company is hoping to secure in the final close and the benefits of the fund.

"CIIF’s central objective is to scale open-access, public EV charging networks for the UK consumer and this is exactly what Liberty Charge will achieve for the thousands of car owners, who do not have access to off street parking," Resta said on the new announcement.

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