Chargepoint and EVBox have announced a partnership that “enables roaming between networks in Europe and North America.”
ChargePoint primarily operates in North America but is working to establish itself as a serious player in the rapidly expanding European public charging market, with a footprint of several hundred charging points in the UK today.
Conversely, EVBox primarily operates in Europe, but is expanding into the US market. EVBox recently locked in the deal to install up to 2,500 stations for California utility PG&E as part of a statewide program to expand public charging networks in the state.
Roaming In Europe
Back to that line about how this new partnership, “enables roaming between networks in Europe and North America.” Remember, this is for EV charging. Even for people who travel between North America and Europe a lot, the ability to roam between European and North America adds no value.
The new partnership with EVBox blows the doors off of ChargePoint’s reach into the European charging market and makes it easier for ChargePoint to pull in European customers who can rest easy knowing that they can also charge on the much larger EVBox network as well as the ChargePoint network.
Functionally, the agreement eliminates the need to register for multiple accounts and ensures drivers from either network don’t incur additional fees when charging on a partner network.
Not All Roaming Is Created Equally
There are two types of roaming agreements: those where networks are looking to expand the reach of their customers into new geographies where they do not operate and those where charging networks are adding networks that directly compete with them in the same geographies.
Both have the potential to add value to customers for longer trips, but for day to day use around town, only the latter of the two adds real value. Without an overlapping, truly interoperable roaming card system, drivers will still be forced to sign up for a half dozen RFID cards and install a dozen apps to be able to use all of the nearby stations.
Speaking with a ChargePoint representative about the deal, the company is making an earnest effort to push towards a more integrated, overlapping roaming network, and perhaps the slight overlap in Europe and North America in this EVBox deal is but the seedling of that ultimate plan.
At the end of the day, it is all about the customer. The limited overlap of this deal means that very few customers will actually benefit from the roaming partnership today, though the installation of up to 2,500 more EVBox stations in ChargePoint’s home territory of central California is likely to start opening that up.
“We are at the tipping point of a revolution in transportation and this agreement underscores our commitment to providing charging solutions everywhere EV drivers go by increasing access to broadly distributed charging solutions that are vital to ushering in the next chapter in mobility,” said Pasquale Romano, president and CEO, ChargePoint, Inc.
“This agreement underscores ChargePoint’s open network philosophy and highlights our dedication to establish a ubiquitous charging network that will inspire more drivers to go electric and support the transition to zero emissions mobility on a mass scale. We look forward to continuing to establish strategic partnerships with companies like EVBox who share our goal of paving the way to an all-electric future on a global scale.”