According to a recent Reuters report, financial giant Citi is working with Volkswagen (VW) to bring in a co-investor to Electrify America (EA), the electric vehicle (EV) charging station network that is currently wholly owned by the German automaker. The deal is said to be worth about $1 billion.
Created in the aftermath of the VW emissions scandal in 2015, Electrify America has the most funding of all United States (U.S.) charging networks. As a part of its deal with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board, VW agreed to spend $2 billion between 2017 and 2026 to roll back the air pollution caused during “Dieselgate.” One of these actions was to help the country prepare for the proliferation of electric vehicles. In early 2017, Volkswagen Group of America unveiled Electrify America to satisfy this requirement.
By the end of 2021, EA expects to install (or have under development) roughly 800 public charging stations with about 3,500 chargers. If the new investment occurs, it could jump-start the organization’s efforts.
The new investment may also help Electrify America to attract other auto manufacturers into its network. Currently, VW offers three years of free EA fast-charging to buyers of its ID.4 electric crossover. Also, Mercedes recently announced a partnership with ChargePoint, and Volvo drivers already have access to ChargePoint’s network through collaboration and the ability to buy its home charger units.
With researchers projecting that EVs will dominate new-car sales in the next decade, the demand for public charging stations is likely to increase significantly. Rivals such as Tesla Superchargers and ChargePoint are aggressively pursuing national domination.
Although representatives from both Volkswagen and EA refused to comment on the original report from Reuters, Electrify America did tell Green Car Reports that it had “nothing to share” at this time.
During VW’s Power Day in March, EA’s Chief Executive, Giovanni Palazzo, said that the company was planning to expand. Industry speculation is that VW will present further details at its NEW AUTO mobility presentation on July 13th.
If VW does sell a piece of Electrify America, the company could look more like Ionity, a European EV charging effort funded by BMW, Hyundai, Daimler, Ford, and Volkswagen.