LONDON (Reuters) - The regional policy chief of embattled ride-hailing company Uber is leaving to join ChargePoint, a U.S. electric-vehicle charging-network maker that has attracted major financial backing from European transport companies.
Christopher Burghardt told Reuters in an interview on Tuesday that he plans to join ChargePoint early next month as its lead regional executive. He will oversee the Silicon Valley company’s aggressive charging-point expansion plans in Europe.
Uber faced a year of mounting scandals and regulatory battles after Burghardt signed on last September as policy and communications chief across the company’s 45-country Europe, Middle East and Africa region.
ChargePoint supplies charging hardware and software used to connect outlets. It owns no re-charging stations of its own but works like an AirBnB or Uber to create a network of locations and schedule bookings at available charge points.
“The energy and mobility spaces are coming together,” Burghardt said. “ChargePoint is really one of the leading companies in electric vehicle infrastructure - where the two trends meet.”
The company, which operates a network of 40,000 electric charging stations, mainly in the United States, raised $125 million this year in financing, led by German car maker Daimler and industrial giant Siemens. It has raised nearly $300 million since its founding a decade ago.
Demand for electric cars depends on a network of charging points, which utilities, engineering groups, automakers and start-ups are vying to provide and control before the sector takes off.
They plan to work with ChargePoint to build a recharging network in Europe, where it will face competition from French utility Engie, which has acquired Dutch firm EV-Box, and German electric utility Innogy. Both rivals are moving into ChargePoint's home market in the United States. (reut.rs/2gLhBe7) (reut.rs/2xMdk4T).
In May, ChargePoint announced its most significant network deal in Europe to date by signing a pact with InstaVolt to supply it with 200 ChargePoint rapid charge systems.
Before joining Uber, Burghardt spent seven years in business development, sales and public policy executive roles in Europe and the Middle East for U.S. solar-panel maker First Solar - a tough period of transition for the industry when European governments wound down incentives for solar producers.
Reporting by Eric Auchard in London and Christoph Steitz in Frankfurt, editing by Larry King