Announced earlier this month, French startup Electra, received not only the largest investment in the charging sector in France ever but the second-largest in all of Europe. Its goal with its €304 million ($329.64 million) equity funds is to expand its fast-charging electric vehicle fleet across Europe, deploying 2,200 stations with 15,000 charging points, throughout the continent by 2030.
Around this time last year, the European Union approved what is an effective ban on new fossil fuel cars by 2035. Specifically, the ban targets new internal combustion engines in cars, the main source of emissions. According to Electra, nearly 30 million electric vehicles are expected to be on European roads by 2030. However, the European Union thinks this number may be even bigger, projecting 40 million.
Either way, this is a massive leap from the current 8 million on Europe’s roads today, meaning it is time for the EU to put charging infrastructure into hyperdrive. And the policy reflects that.
For example, one new piece of legislation in the EU is the ‘60 kilometer rule.’ Introduced last summer, the rule mandates that by 2025, Member States must install a fast charging station of at least 150 kilowatts every 60 kilometers along the trans-European transport network (TEN-T), which is a network of roads, railways, airport, and water infrastructure that go across the entire union.
With upcoming mandates like this, Member States will need to step on the gas — or rather the electricity — to keep up.
Currently, with nearly 1,000 charging stations across eight countries — France, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, and Spain — Electra wants to be at the front of Europe’s EV charging growth. Through its network expansion, proprietary software, and reportedly, simplicity in station usage, Electra wants to make charging an EV as straightforward as pumping gas into a car, but more user-friendly.
One way the startup plans on doing that is through its invention of allowing users to reserve charging sites, so drivers can find a station near their homes and optimize its charging times for their daily activities, as Electra puts it. Moreover, the startup is also partnering with delivery drivers, taxis, and more to make the switch to EVs easier in driving-focused professions.
Some of these strategic partnerships include car rental services like Hertz, carmaking mammoths like Honda, Bolt, and Stellantis, French motorway company, Vinci Autoroutes, and airports and airlines in need of ride services like the international Toulouse Blagnac in France and Indigo.
“The transition to electric mobility is a key aspect of the energy transition, with the transportation sector being the largest CO2 emitter in France,” Aurélien de Meaux, co-founder and CEO of Electra said in a statement. “We are creating a network that is very easy to use, making the transition to electric vehicles desirable and not a constraint."
The funding round was led by the Dutch pension fund service provider, PGGM, with Bpifrance and the startup’s historical investors also contributing. The round brings Electra to €600 million ($650,439,000) raised in capital over the last 3 years.
“This fundraising will allow Electra to become one of the leaders in fast charging in Europe,” de Meaux said.