Interesting electric vehicle news from the US. San Francisco -based start-up Volta which has created a network of electric vehicle charging stations that monetise not via charging a fee but by showing its users ads has announced it has secured an investment of $125 million.
Its new funding round was managed by Goldman Sachs and now means that the company has a war-chest of around £200 million.
The company says that it will use the money to begin international expansion, though hasn’t specified which countries it will target.
Volta operates charging stations in parking lots near shops, banks, hospitals etc which are accompanied by 55-inch digital displays. It currently works in 2000 cities across the US.
The theory is that while EVs are still largely a premium auto product advertisers will be able to access a wealthy and progressively minded consumers. Advertisers who have signed up so far include; GM, Hulu, Nestlé, Polestar, Porsche and Unilever. For the retailers Volta claims it increases their footfall of high value customers.
In the UK many charging points are currently free though rapid chargers charge a fee. For example Pod Point’s rapid chargers cost 23p/kWh at Lidl which is about £6-7 for 30 minutes of charging (about 100 miles of range).
The company claims “Volta’s business partners who install charging stations experience immediate returns; they report an increase in spend, dwell time and engagement on site.”
“Since our initial investment in Volta in 2018, excitement and interest in electrification — and specifically solving for public charging solutions — has continued to gain momentum,” said John Tough, managing partner at Energize Ventures, a major and existing investor in this round. “Our conviction in this team has similarly grown, and we believe Volta is poised to lead this market as the most capital-efficient and highly utilized EV charging network in the country.”