EDF, the French energy giant whose UK offshoot is one of the biggest utilities in that country, has acquired electric car charging network provider Pod Point, in a joint venture that it hopes will secure a leading position in the growing electric mobility market.
In the UK there are 32 million petrol and diesel cars on the road and a switch to electric vehicles (EVs) could save some 65 million tonnes from being emitted, according to Pod Point.
The announcement of the joint venture with Legal & General Capital comes hot on heels of new that the UK will bring forward – by five years to 2035 – the ban on all new sales of internal combustion engine (ICE) cars.
Pod Point, which was founded in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis by London-based entrepreneur Erik Fairbairn, has powered 156 million electric miles (254 million kilometres) according to the company’s website.
The deal will compliment electric vehicle initiatives by EDF – one of the “Big Six” energy providers in the UK and the largest provider of electricity by volume – which includes offering electric vehicle charging tariffs to customers.
“Electric vehicles will be crucial in reducing the UK’s carbon emissions and fighting climate change. With the addition of charge points, we can help our customers to reduce their carbon footprints and benefit from lower fuel costs by going electric,” said Simone Rossi, UK CEO of EDF in a statement.
Rossi says that the additional electricity demand from EVs will also mean urgent investment in low carbon generation from renewables and nuclear – which makes up more than 40% of the UK’s grid mix according to the UK government office of gas and electricity markets.
“This new acquisition is perfectly in line with the EDF Group’s Electric Mobility Plan launched in 2018. It fulfills our ambition to be the energy leader in Europe.
Pod Point, a major player of charging solutions in the UK, will play a leading role alongside our subsidiaries IZIVIA and DREEV,” said Yannick Duport, electric mobility director at EDF Group in a statement.
As part of the joint venture, Legal & General Capital will raise its current stake in Pod Point from 13 per cent to 23 per cent.
“It’s been just over a year since we made our investment in Pod Point. By investing our capital in clean energy assets, businesses and technologies, we can accelerate the progress to a low-cost, low-carbon economy,” said John Bromley, head of clean energy at Legal & General Capital in a statement.
“Our capital has enabled Pod Point to make substantial progress and execute its growth strategy over the last 12 months. Today we have increased our stake from 13% to 23%, creating value for our shareholders and forming a landmark partnership with EDF.”
Fairbairn says the deal with EDF will herald a new chapter for Pod Point.
“This is an incredibly exciting next chapter for Pod Point. We set out in 2009 with the vision that travel shouldn’t damage the earth and a mission to put a charge point everywhere you park. So far, we have made great progress towards those goals,” said Fairbairn in a statement.
“By joining up with EDF we can take things to the next level and accelerate our national roll out of charging points and make it even easier for drivers across the UK to go electric. I’m immensely proud of what the Pod Point team has already achieved but think it is only a fraction of what we will now be able to do with EDF.”
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.