Engenie has secured £35m in backing from infrastructure investor Cube. The company will use the funds to rollout 2,000 rapid electric vehicle chargers over the next five years.
CEO Ian Johnstone said the rollout will be “fairly linear” out to 2024. The company is installing chargers at 200 sites for pubco Marston’s and Johnstone said other deals with local authorities and retailers are in the pipeline.
“We are finalising commissioning dates with grid operators for a large number of sites,” he told The Energyst. He said the company should have 100 charge points installed by the year-end.
Johnstone acknowledged increasing competition in the EV infrastructure market, with many of the large utilities and fossil fuel companies gearing up over the last year. But he suggested that some players will be more successful than others.
Engenie’s model, said Johnstone, “is all around taking the time to select the best site, that will enjoy the highest usage in the future when we achieve mass adoption [of electric vehicles].”
He said that was what helped convince Cube to invest, given the timing risk around EV charging infrastructure utilisation in a nascent market.
“ZapMap shows there are over 2,000 rapid chargers in the UK,” said Johnstone. “But that doesn’t mean they are in the right location. Others are busy installing where there is sufficient grid capacity. Instead, we look at reams of data to determine the best place for charging infrastructure … that will be used a lot in ten years’ time.”
Asked when Engenie will be profitable, Johnstone said that depends on the “tipping point” for mass EV adoption.
“We would hope to see the best sites breaking even by 2022/23 – but our investment plan doesn’t require that – it is a personal view. What will be really important [to boost adoption] is a used car market for EVs … that will be a huge thing for car drivers in the UK,” said Johnstone.
“Certainly before 2025 there will be enough [electric] cars on the road to drive utilisation at our sites – which will be above average because of the way we select them.
“But whether it is 2022 or 2025, most people now accept that [mass adoption] is going to happen. So now is the perfect time to get on and deploy a network for the UK’s drivers.”