Volta Grabs $32M to Develop Electric Vehicle Charging Network

Electric vehicle charging network startup Volta Charging announced this week that it netted $35 million in a Series C funding round, which was launched to fund a rapid expansion of the company’s charging network.

The fundraising round, led by the Invenergy Future Fund, with both the Invenergy Future Fund and Activate Capital assuming Series C Board seats, also included returning investors such as GE Ventures, Orsted Ventures and Nautilus Venture Partners.

Volta installs EV chargers in high-traffic locations in some of the top media markets in the US, partnering with national brands that sponsor the free, public EV charging appliances.

The company deploys and maintains networked chargers at prominent community venues, including grocery stores and sports stadiums.

Charging is offered free to drivers, and site hosts are given the hardware, installation and lifetime maintenance at no cost.

In addition, Volta uses Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform to process analytics data in real time, which lets Volta display interactive media designed to boost user engagement.

Volta plans to double its network footprint by the end of 2018 by adding more stations and opening new markets, including the Bay Area with 98 stations; Los Angeles with 132 stations; and Chicago with 62 stations.

In 2017, Volta announced a ten-year agreement to deploy EV charging stations near the South and East entrances of the United Center in the Windy City.

The deployment included four open-access universal charging stations, installed near the entrances of the stadium, home to the Chicago Blackhawks and Chicago Bulls.

The company claims that by year’s end, its network will operate nationwide in nearly all of the top ten media markets, in addition to its initial launch market, Hawaii.

“With this influx of capital, we will be immediately able to respond to the respective demand from advertisers, EV drivers, and landlords as we add meaningful value to communities nationwide,” Volta CEO Scott Mercer wrote in a July 23 statement.

This round of funding — Volta’s largest yet — brings the total now raised by Volta to more than $60 million since the company’s founding in 2010.

In January, Hubject, which operates Intercharge, an interoperable EV charging network, partnered with Volta to make charging stations visible in navigation systems from more 60 e-mobility service providers worldwide, including automakers such as Mercedes Benz, Porsche and BMW.

— Nathan Eddy is a filmmaker and freelance journalist based in Berlin. Follow him on Twitter.

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