mutual fund to rescue recharging points

This is a political goal announced in October 2020 for the end of 2021 but which has not yet been achieved in May 2022: the deployment of 100,000 electric recharging points in France. According to the latest joint barometer of the National Association for the Development of Electric Mobility (Avere) and the Ministry of Ecological Transition, based on data from GIREVE, a platform created in 2013 especially by Renault, Caisse des Dépôts , EDF Enedis, only 60,040 electric charging points, more or less fast, are open to the public in France since April 30.

Electric car: why the deployment of 100,000 recharging points is still stagnant in France

Terminals in consumer places

In other words, the will of Transport Minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari is only 60% satisfied despite the various regulations. Indeed, all motorway service areas will have to be equipped with electric recharging points by the end of 2022. Same deadline for non-residential car parks which will have to reserve 5% of their spaces for electric mobility. Same percentage required for malls.

Among the 38.3 million passenger cars in circulation, according to data from the Ministry of Ecological Transition as of January 1, 2021, 886,439 are rechargeable electric and hybrid vehicles according to the National Association for the Development of Electric Mobility (Avere). All sources combined, 75 to 80% are recharged at home or at work and 25 to 20% when roaming, that is, traveling between point A and point B.

A difference of 1 to 3 or even 1 to 4 that would be in the process of being reduced. Infrastructure investment funds are beginning to invest in actors capable of deploying in places of consumption, such as shopping malls, mass distribution, hotels or restaurants.

“It’s the chicken and the egg”

Last: French capital investor Antin Infrastructure Partners has just injected 150 million euros into Power Dot, taking joint control of the operator of fast and ultra-fast charging stations. The latter demands the deployment – in progress – of 2,500 recharging points in the car park of brands such as Cora and M. Bricolage and franchises of E. Leclerc or KFC. Goal: Reach 7,000 fast recharging points by 2025.

“It’s the hen and the egg: people will buy electric vehicles when they can charge them. We are convinced that it will be a topic of daily life: on Saturday mornings in the supermarket, on Wednesday lunch with fast food with the children ”. Nicolas Mallet, a partner at Antin Infrastructure Partners, explains to La Tribune.

This fund is not the only one that is positioned on the subject. As of 2018, the “company with a mission specialized in the development, financing and long-term management of sustainable public infrastructures” Meridiam has acquired 100% of Allego, an operator of all power and all types of electric vehicles, including scooters, bicycles and kick scooters. In a factory in Valencia, the stations are assembled, before being transported, deposited and connected to their customers.

Thus, the fund has signed a collaboration with Carrefour to deploy, by the end of 2023, 2,000 recharging points distributed in the 200 hypermarkets, more than half of which have ultra-fast recharging. Meridiam, which claims other partners such as the metropolis of Toulouse or the Nissan carmaker, is pursuing other goals, such as shopping malls and leisure activities.

What is the return on investment?

However, your return on investment is already assured: bought “for about 200 million euros”, says a spokesman for the group, Allego, which is listed in New York, was worth 3 billion euros in early 2022. Obviously, it is too early to talk about it with Antin Infrastructure Partners.

“We are looking at the return on investment over time,” trusts Nicolas Mallet, partner. “It’s a less mature investment than a water concession, for example, and it requires capex.” add. That is, if for a water concession, the investor is remunerated and reimburses his investments on the price of water; for an electric recharging point, it must also incur material investment costs.

If a terminal, which has one or more points, “It’s not a big investment” – in the order of EUR 50,000, “the network effect” that is to say, the fact of linking a certain territory, offers to the bottom an infrastructure at the same time “agile” and answering “long time” investment in infrastructure, continues the Antin executive.

Predictability software to study the best locations

Anyway, with at least 7,000 electric recharge points for the latter and 2,000 for Meridiam, the two funds can contribute to reaching at least 10% of the 100,000 point target.

“Installing a terminal, connecting it to the network and getting people to come in may seem easy, but it’s much more complex than that, a lot of terminals don’t work. I don’t know if we can help keep the bet but our know-how is beneficial for the whole sector “, says Nicolas Mallet of Antin Infrastructure Partners.

“There are technical, economic and human means to get it up and running,” the Meridiam spokesman eludes.

The latter, however, says he is developing predictability software to study the best locations for electric recharging points, but will say no more. “for obvious reasons of competition and confidentiality.”

Electric car: the puzzle of charging stations in the “white areas”