Australia’s largest motoring groups have taken full ownership of Australia’s biggest electric vehicle charging network, Chargefox, providing the capital for a massive rollout of fast-charging stations across the country to meet the soaring demand for EVs.
The motoring groups, or “mobility clubs” as they now like to be known, include the NRMA, RACV, RACQ, RAC, RAA and RACT, and – through Australian Motoring Services (AMS) – already owned 40 per cent of Chargefox.
They have now agreed to buy out the remaining shares held by joint founders Cogent and Jet Charge, and other smaller investors, with the immediate goal to double the number of plugs around the country to 5,000 over the next three years.
“We have hitting a tipping point with the change in federal government and the positive attitude to EVs,” Chargefox CEO and co-founder Marty Andrews told The Driven.
“This is the next step, the motoring groups will provide the capital and membership, and our goals will take a big step forward.”
Andrews will remain as CEO and the ChargeFox team will largely remain the same.
The investment is a unique arrangement because there is no other place in the world, The Driven understands, where motoring groups have become one of pivotal players in the roll out of EV chargers.
Tesla provides its own network and the established petrol retailers are looking to convert their own forecourts into EV charging spaces, but this big push by AMS will be unique because it will be driven by member mutuals.
NRMA, among others, has already taken a major step into EV charging, rollout out a (still free) network of fast-charging stations around NSW, and also offering discounts to members who plug into the Chargefox network.
last week, it made an investment in Electric Highway Tasmania which is planning to expand its fast charging network to 27 on the island by the middle of next year.
NRMA Group CEO Rohan Lund said as Australia’s largest mutual, representing more than 2.7 million members, the NRMA was ideally placed to play a key leadership role in the transition to electric vehicles.
“Australia is not immune to the global transition away from fossil fuels in transport and towards sustainable energy sources and we must make significant steps now to ensure the nation is not left behind, this is why today’s investment by Australia’s motoring clubs is so important,” Lund said.
“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.”
AMS Group CEO Michael Reed said the motoring clubs are seeing a large number of EV’s 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,” he said.
Jet Charge, meanwhile, has raised another $4.5 million in its Series B funding round, including from Kilara Growth Fund. This takes its fund raising – not including the proceeds of its Chargefox stake sale – to $30 million.
Jet Charge found and CEO Tim Washington says the company will be going its own way, focusing on the distributed and home charging part of the EV charging equation.
“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,” he said.
Washington says Jet Charge is now the largest independent EV charging infrastructure specialist in Australia and New Zealand, employing over 110 people and scaling rapidly.
“We’ve always been on a mission to accelerate the uptake of low emissions vehicles by breaking down the barriers to EV charging,” Washington said, “and I feel like with these two milestones, we’re onto the next phase of that mission”.
Chargefox says powered more than 14 million carbon-free kms so far, managed more than 500,000 charging sessions on more than 2,500 plugs, and dispensed a total of over 7GWh of electricity for drivers via it’s iPhone and Android mobile apps.