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ChargePoint and Schneider Partner in a Tough EV Charging Field

Amidst competitors’ bankruptcies and struggles, a partnership for linked systems and corporate deployments
Jeff St. John
May 5, 2014

EV charging companies have been falling left and right over the past year or so — but at least one pair of partners is ready to pick up the slack.

Back in September, we reported that startup ChargePoint and French power electronics giant Schneider Electric were quietly rolling out combined EV charging technology for hotel chains, corporate business parks and other North American customers. On Monday, these two partners made the relationship official, announcing that Schneider’s EVlink charging systems will now come with ChargePoint’s networking technology for public charging stations.

The news comes amidst a string of bad news for EV charging startups and their customers, including both the drivers of cars subscribed to various services and the owners of charging stations. ChargePoint competitors ECOtality and Better Place both went bankrupt last year, leaving thousands of charging stations around the country without support.

Another competitor, 350Green, has been linked to reports of FBI investigations into the failures of its deployment in the Chicago area. (Florida company Car Charging Group has taken over 350Green and ECOtality’s networks, giving it 13,430 charging points across the U.S. as of October.)

Large-scale, government-backed deployments across the country have been moving slowly, as with NRG Energy’s eVgo deployment in California, or have completely fallen apart, as is reportedly the case with Chicago’s charging project. Meanwhile, Schneider’s competitors have stepped out of the public EV charging business, as Germany’s Siemens did last year, or have gone quiet, as Swiss power giant ABB did after its partner ECOtality went under.

What do Schneider and ChargePoint plan to do differently? First of all, they’ve got a healthy number of deployments that have already been carried out, giving them plenty of experience to draw on. ChargePoint has about 17,000 charging stations networked to date, according to its latest figures, and Schneider has more than 10,000 of its EVlink charging systems deployed around the world, Mike Calise, director of electric vehicles for Schneider Electric’s North American operations, said in a recent interview.
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