Charging infrastructure startup EVPassport says its charging stations are designed to pass the grandma test.
“When you arrive, you don’t need to download an app. You just scan a QR code and it integrates with your digital wallet,” Hooman Shahidi, co-founder and CEO of EVPassport, told TechCrunch. “Or if you’re really old fashioned, you can put in your credit card and you’re off to the races.”
Shahidi says EVPassport is all about removing barriers to adoption, like the extra annoying step of downloading an app. The company also hopes to make it easier for enterprise and commercial businesses to meet their EV goals by providing charging infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS). In other words, EVPassport provides all of the hardware, software, firmware and connectivity on one central platform, and it installs, operates and maintains the chargers for businesses.
Charging IaaS is a growing field in the EV charging landscape, as businesses want to offer their own customers ways to top up without having to buy, own and operate charge ports themselves. Companies like EV Connect, Greenlots and WattLogic are deploying similar business models.
And it’s a structure that’s gotten the attention of investors. EVPassport announced Thursday it has secured $200 million to accelerate the buildout of its electric vehicle charging stations. The funds came from Northleaf Capital Partners, a private equity firm that has acquired a controlling stake in the startup.
Since launching in 2020, the startup has deployed 5,000 chargers across 35 states in the U.S., as well as Canada and Mexico. Over the next two years, EVPassport hopes to deploy another 1,000 DC chargers and 10,000 additional Level 2 chargers, prioritizing areas with high EV adoption like California, Texas, Florida, Chicago and the northeast corridor, according to Shahidi.
Each DC charger will have one plug with Tesla’s North American Charging Standard, and another with the Combined Charging Standard. The type of Level 2 plugs installed will be at the customer’s discretion.
EVPassport has also committed to building a large charging hub in Viejas, California, with 426 plugs in one site.
For comparison, electric mobility company Revel has opened two charging hubs in Brooklyn, New York with a collective 40 DC fast chargers. Revel also hopes to build a 60-stall site in Queens, a 30-stall site in the South Bronx and a 10-stall site in Manhattan.
EVPassport’s customer base is “basically anybody that has a parking space,” says Shahidi. That could be real estate investment trusts, hotels, public garages, sports venues, hospitals. Existing customers include Viejas Casino and Resort, National Development, Ace Parking, Nuveen and Millennium Park Garages.
Millennium, a 10,000-space underground parking garage, is one of Northleaf’s portfolio companies, and it’s how the firm became acquainted with EVPassport.
Olivier Laganiere, managing director at Northleaf, told TechCrunch that aside from the startup’s seamless user experience, the firm decided to back EVPassport because of its open API system that can integrate with customer platforms like facilities management solutions or building maintenance solutions.
For instance, in the hotel industry, EVPassport’s API could help link EV charging with a customer’s hotel reservation that can connect to a hotel card or rewards program, allowing a customer to use those credentials to start a charge. Or in a multifamily housing development, managers can integrate the EV charging experience with property management software so they can learn how tenants are interfacing with amenities.
“That provides some flexibility and optionality for future growth that we think most customers really like,” said Laganiere, noting that the functionality also aligns with Northleaf’s vision of investing in infrastructure.
Langaniere also noted that EVPassport’s business model provides an economic incentive to businesses to partner with the startup because the service is not only subscription-based, but also involves a 50% revenue share.
EVPassport’s average contract length is about 10 years, said Shahidi. A Level 2 charger could cost “as little as your Netflix subscription,” and a DC fast charger could cost about $1,000 per month.
“When you think about DC fast charging, the hardware alone on a CapEx side is about $100,000, not to mention the installation,” said Shahidi. “And so for us to be able to say, Hey, here’s a subscription for $1,000 and you get to keep half the revenue, it’s a win-win situation for all the parties involved.”