Chargefox, the Australian startup responsible for the country’s largest public EV charging network, has sold its stake in the infrastructure to the various State-based motoring clubs.
This means the full owners of Chargefox are now the NRMA, RACV, RACQ, RAC, RAA and RACT, through their wholly owned company Australian Motoring Services – an existing shareholder that’s stepped up its stake.
From an external standpoint, the buyers say the plan is for Chargefox – founded in 2017 – to operate as usual with “renewed support” on its target to have more than 5000 EV plugs across the country by the end of 2025.
Chargefox claims to have managed more than 500,000 charging sessions to date, dispensing more than 7GWh via its apps and charge units. Its arsenal goes all the way up to 350kW DC rapid-chargers in some areas – hardware made by fellow Aussie company Tritium.
The motoring clubs’ stewardship of the business means responsibility for scaling but also for maintenance now falls onto them. It seems likely that members will receive some sort of incentive to use the service with their EVs.
Government-backed (ARENA) private sector investment in charging networks means competition is stepping up in a big way – such as this development, or this one, as supply-constrained EV uptake grows and interest spikes.
Chargefox co-founder Tim Washington (who founded the business in 2017 with Marty Andrews and Mark Wells), said he “look[ed] forward to seeing Chargefox blossom under AMS’ stewardship”.
At the same time as the Chargefox sale announcement, Mr Washington announced his company JET Charge has closed out its $30 million Series B raise following an investment from Kilara Capital.
JET Charge specialises in EV charging engineering, hardware supply, electrical installation and maintenance, as well as EV charging grid integration services. It’s the nominated home-charging wallbox partner for numerous car brands, corporates and government agencies.
The sale of the Chargefox network and the closed-off capital raise means JET Charge has more funds to grow. It bills itself as the largest independent EV charging infrastructure specialist in Australia and New Zealand, employs more than 110 people, and is now “scaling rapidly”.
“Just as our country must accelerate the adoption of EVs to have any hope of hitting our net zero targets, so must JET Charge go on its own sustainability journey, and demonstrate to our customers that we walk the talk. Kilara Capital will guide on this road,” Mr Washington said.
“… We’ve always been on a mission to accelerate the uptake of low emissions vehicles by breaking down the barriers to EV charging, and I feel like with these two milestones, we’re onto the next phase of that mission.”
Australian Motoring Services Group CEO Michael Reed said the body was “proud to play a role in supporting Chargefox’s growth. We share a mutual goal to reduce road transport emissions to zero and support the growing community of EV drivers across the country”.
“We continue to see a large number of EVs on the road and the number of Australians who are considering purchasing an EV in the future is growing year on year. Combined, we’ll have greater power and opportunity to deliver infrastructure that Australians need to increase the uptake of EVs and therefore reduce road transport emissions.”
NRMA Group CEO Rohan Lund said the 2.7 million member-strong NRMA and its fellow State motoring clubs were “ideally placed to play a key leadership role in the nation’s transport sector transition to electric vehicles”.
“Between us we represent over 8.5 million motorists nationwide and they are looking to their motoring clubs to show leadership in this space. The acquisition of Chargefox by the NRMA and its sister clubs is just the latest in a series of significant steps taken by the NRMA to help lead this transition.
“The impact Chargefox has already had on Australia’s transport is impressive – over 14 million carbon-free kilometres charged and growing – and this will grow significantly with today’s announcement.
“It is widely accepted that electric vehicles will appear in far greater numbers on Australian roads in the coming years and the NRMA is committed to ensuring the nation has the infrastructure it needs to deliver on this transition,” Mr Lund added.