investment funds to rescue charging stations

This is a political goal that was announced in October 2020 for the end of 2021, but which has still not been reached in May 2022: the roll-out of 100,000 electric charging points in France. According to the latest joint barometer of the National Association for the Development of Electric Mobility (Avere) and the Ministry of Ecological Transformation, based on data from GIREVE, a platform created in 2013 especially by Renault, Caisse des Dépôts, EDF Enedis, only 60,040 electric charging points, more or less fast, are open to the public in France per. April 30th.

Electric car: why the expansion of 100,000 charging points is still stuck in France

Terminals at points of consumption

In other words, the will of Transport Minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari is only 60% satisfied despite the various rules. All motorway service areas must be equipped with electric charging stations before the end of 2022. Same deadline for non-resident parking spaces, which must reserve 5% of their spaces for electric mobility. Same mandatory percentage for malls.

Among the 38.3 million passenger cars in circulation, according to data from the Ministry of Ecological Conversion per. January 1, 2021, 886,439 are rechargeable electric and hybrid cars according to the National Association for the Development of Electric Mobility (Avere). All sources together are charged to 75 to 80% at home or at work and 25 to 20% while roaming, ie. travels between point A and point B.

A difference of 1 to 3 or even 1 to 4 which would be about to be reduced. Investment funds specializing in infrastructure have begun to invest in players capable of spreading to places of consumption, such as shopping malls, mass distribution, hotels or restaurants.

“It’s the hen and the egg”

Latest: French capital investor Antin Infrastructure Partners has just invested 150 million euros in Power Dot and is taking joint control of the operator of fast and ultra-fast charging stations. The latter claims that – currently – 2,500 charging points have been installed in the car park for brands such as Cora and M. Bricolage and franchises by E. Leclerc or KFC. Target: reach 7,000 fast charging points by 2025.

“It’s the chicken and the egg: people will buy electric vehicles when they can charge them. We are convinced that it will be a topic in everyday life: Saturday morning in the supermarket, Wednesday lunch time at fast food with the kids.” explains, to La Tribune, Nicolas Mallet, partner at Antin Infrastructure Partners.

This fund is not the only one positioning itself on the subject. From 2018 is “company with a mission specializing in the development, financing and long-term management of sustainable public infrastructure” Meridiam has acquired 100% of Allego, the operator of all power and all types of electric vehicles, including scooters, bicycles and scooters. At a factory in Valence, the stations are assembled before being transported, deposited and connected to its customers.

The fund has thus entered into a partnership with Carrefour to install 2,000 charging points in all 200 hypermarkets by the end of 2023, of which more than half have ultra-fast charges. Meridiam, which claims other partners such as the metropolis of Toulouse or carmaker Nissan, are demanding other targets, such as shopping malls and leisure activities.

What return on investment?

Yet the return on investment is already secured: bought “for about 200 million euros”, declares a spokesman for the group, Allego, listed on the New York Stock Exchange, was worth 3 billion euros in early 2022. It’s obviously too early to talk about it on Antin Infrastructure Partners’ page.

“We look at our return on investment over time”, betror Nicolas Mallet, partner. “It is a less mature investment than a water concession for example, and which requires making capex”, he adds. In other words, if for a water concession, the investor receives remuneration and reimburses his investments on the water price; for an electric charging point he must also bear material investment costs.

If a terminal that has one or more points “not a very big investment” in the order of 50,000 euros -, “network effect”, that is, the linking of a given territory provides the fund with infrastructure at the same time ” agile ” and responds “long time” investment in infrastructure, the Antin director continues.

Predictability software to study the best places

At least with at least 7,000 electric charging points for the latter and 2,000 for Meridiam, the two funds can help achieve at least 10% of the 100,000 point target.

“Installing a terminal, connecting it to the network and getting people to come may seem easy, but it is much more complex than that, many terminals do not work. I do not know if we can help keep the bet, but our know-how is for the benefit of the whole sector “, confirms, all in nuances, Nicolas Mallet, from Antin Infrastructure Partners.

“There are funds, technical, financial and human to put in place,” the spokesman for Meridiam evaded.

The latter, however, says he is developing predictability software to study the best locations for electric charging points, but he will not say more. “for obvious reasons of competition and confidentiality”.

Electric car: the riddle with charging stations in “white areas”