SAN FRANCISCO U.S. electric vehicle charging station maker ChargePoint Inc said on Thursday it is raising $100 million in a funding round led by German automaker Daimler (DAIGn.DE) that will allow it to expand into Europe.
ChargePoint, which operates the world's largest network of electric vehicle charging systems with over 33,000 charging ports in the United States, Canada and Mexico, said it had secured the initial $82 million in funding, and that investors had committed to the remainder in what would be a second close soon.
The new funding brings ChargePoint's funding total to date to $255 million, ChargePoint Chief Executive Pasquale Romano told Reuters.
Prior investors BMW i Ventures, Linse Capital, Rho Capital Partners and Braemar Energy Ventures also participated in the round.
Mercedes-Benz executive Axel Harries will also join ChargePoint's board of directors, ChargePoint said. Harries heads Daimler's CASE unit responsible for connected and autonomous strategies, ride services and electric cars.
Europe is a key market for electric vehicles and European automakers are ramping up their development of green cars. Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche expects electric vehicles to make up 15 percent to 25 percent of Mercedes sales by 2025.
European automakers, anxious to see more charging infrastructure established to complement the current network of nearly 72,000 public charging stations, often fund infrastructure projects themselves.
Daimler, Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE), BMW (BMWG.DE) and Ford Motor Co's (F.N) European division in November created a joint venture to develop 400 charging stations across Europe beginning this year.
Romano said the new funding would allow ChargePoint to offer charging systems at home as well as in workplace, retail centres and highway fast-chargers in Europe.
The European auto charging market is extremely fragmented, with no central operator working across segments and countries, he added.
ChargePoint last year worked with VW and BMW to install 95 fast chargers on the U.S. East and West Coasts.
"They (carmakers) are committed to making sure EV charging infrastructure propagates in a key way in the markets they care about," Romano said.
In January, ChargePoint introduced a new scalable platform to deliver even faster charging of up to 400 kilowatts per port for the luxury vehicles expected to hit the market in the coming years.
(Reporting by Alexandria Sage; editing by Peter Henderson, G Crosse)