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Weekly News Review | 6 March 2017 | Automotive Purchasing and Supply Chain Automotive Purchasing and Supply Chain

Talking Point

Daimler invests in infrastructure, takes the fight to Tesla

On March 3, Daimler announced that it had invested $82 million in the world’s largest EV charging network Chargepoint, a California-based company looking to expand into European territory and propel the adoption of electric cars in the region. The automotive industry is now starting to lean towards ‘e-mobility’, with more capable EVs entering the market and pressurising petrol and diesel cars off our public roads. However, the market is still waiting for the tipping point, where we will finally see an advanced infrastructure system with sufficient charging points that will convince consumers to commit to the change. The German automaker has finally realised that, to take on EV front-runner Tesla, it cannot only focus on producing vehicles, but the environment that surrounds the product. Tesla has burst out of the starting gate, dominating the EV market through a strong, exclusive infrastructure that supports its vehicle line-up. EVs have become part of a new global ecosystem, so it is important that OEMs collaborate with authorities and e-mobility pioneers to progress in the new market.

Daimler’s investment within Chargepoint will lay the groundwork for an advanced charging network around Europe, something that will attract potential buyers who are not only unsure about EV range and performance, but concerned about charging their car away from home. Tesla has already established an extensive EV charging network around the US, including ‘superchargers’ which enables charging possibilities on long-distance travel, and is looking to capitalise in Europe. This regional domination alone is what puts Tesla above rival EV manufacturers, giving the automaker a competitive advantage with its future alternative-fuel vehicles. Daimler will now go head-to-head with Tesla to protect its home turf from Californian domination.

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter who wins. The increasing level of collaboration is helping the automotive industry and societies around the world build an extensive global charging network, constantly adding resources that will help the adoption of EVs. Of course, this also benefits many of the EV charging suppliers around the world, like Chargepoint, who are receiving a number of investments from a range of businesses. For example, Chargepoint has raised over a quarter of a billion dollars and now boasts 33,000 independently-owned EV charging locations around the world. There are countless EV charging companies which are trying to capitalise on the new market, which will further grow the e-mobility infrastructure and finally reach that tipping point as more automotive powerhouses such as Daimler get involved. All in all, competition is what has driven this industry to where it is today, and more rivalry is welcomed.

Alex Kreetzer

Alex Kreetzer - Digital Editor

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