BMW Invests in Electric Vehicle Charging

BMW’s venture capital arm, i Ventures, is taking an equity stake in car charging company, Coulomb Technologies.

Coulumb announced a $47.5 million equity raise in May.

Started just five years ago, Coulomb’s ChargePoint network is the largest independent global charging network, connecting electric vehicle drivers to charging stations in more than 14 countries.

The company doesn’t build charging stations, it installs and manages electric car charging stations for customers, like businesses and government agencies. Google has the biggest network with over 300 charging stations.

ChargePoint uses smartcards for identifying customers at charging stations, and an online portal gives customers remote access to charging information, billing and support.

For charging station owners, ChargePoint provides tools to manage their charging services, including the ability to locate and reserve stations, set pricing, process payments, track station utilization and energy costs and provide driver support.

Stations on ChargePoint are currently dispensing over 577 megawatt hours of energy each month, with drivers plugging in for more than 3,300 charging sessions per day.

"BMW is focused on providing comprehensive services that make charging BMW electric vehicles a premium experience. ChargePoint is the largest, longest established network with a significantly advanced and mature feature set. This investment will forge a close and strategic relationship as we further our electric mobility offer," says Dr. Ulrich Quay, Managing Director of BMW i Ventures.

i Ventures is a $100 million fund launched last year to invest  in early and mid-stage companies in the "mobility" space – solutions that make mobility smarter, more efficient and flexible, such as apps, navigation and car-sharing.

Last week, we reported that Car Charging Group and 350Green are merging, creating the largest public charging station network, with over 1000 locations.

With the help of government at the federal, state and municipal levels, the electric vehicle station market in the US is growing rapidly and is expected to reach 4.1 million charging points by 2017, according to Frost and Sullivan. Currently, California leads the way among the states.

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