Consolidation in the electric vehicle charging infrastructure market is inevitable and could result in just “four or five big players” dominating networks, a panel of investors has concluded.
The panel at last week’s EV Infrastructure Summit, organised by Current± publisher Solar Media, was brought together predominantly to discuss the investment community’s stance on EV infrastructure, but talk spread to wider issues including that of industry consolidation.
That discussion was sparked by the mention of BP’s acquisition of Chargemaster which was concluded just the week before.
Colin Campbell, infrastructure partner at Zouk Capital, investors in Instavolt, said that the Chargemaster deal was evidence of the EV infrastructure sector “growing up” and ultimately being regarded as “huge opportunity” given the size of the potential market.
Jenny Curtis, director for origination at Amber Infrastructure, agreed, surmising that with the number of small operators currently occupying the market there were “plenty of opportunities and plenty of capital” looking at that space, with the destination of that investment likely to be in start-ups.
As well as BP’s deal for Chargemaster, Shell moved in 2017 to pick up Dutch charge point manufacturer NewMotion.
But that investment is likely to lead to consolidation – an effect which Curtis said would be “inevitable” – and she was joined by others on the panel and in the room who expected the market to transition to a state in which the vast majority of EV charging infrastructure is owned and operated by four or five parties.
Ed Simpson, partner at Downing, however was less certain, stating his belief that anybody who said that the BP Chargemaster deal was evidence of where the sector was headed was perhaps talking prematurely.
“Nobody knows where the market will go… All I can guarantee is that [people talking with certainty] is not going to be the case,” he said.