According to a media report, Volkswagen wants to sell shares in its US subsidiary Electrify America. The German carmaker is said to be looking for a co-investor willing to invest around US$1 billion in the charging infrastructure specialist.
The news was broken by Reuters, citing people in the know. According to the report, Volkswagen is said to be looking for external funding to expand its charging network in North America. According to the news agency, the car company is working with Citi in its search for investors. Volkswagen as well as Electrify America and Citi declined to make an official statement when prompted by media.
The founding of the company and the public charging network of the same name goes back to Volkswagen’s emissions cheating scandal in the US. As part of a settlement, Volkswagen agreed at the time to invest two billion dollars in charging infrastructure and the promotion of zero-emission vehicles in the US in lieu of further fines. The founding of Electrify America followed in 2017. The network now has around 630 charging parks with 2,700 charging points and charging capacities of up to 350 kW. By the end of the year, the expansion to 800 charging parks with 3,500 charging points is planned. This was announced by Electrify America CEO Giovanni Palazzo at Volkswagen’s ‘Power Day‘ in March.
Spreading the high investment costs for further expansion over several shoulders is strongly reminiscent of the approach of the German joint venture Ionity. The Europe-wide fast-charging network of the same name is a joint initiative of Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Ford, Volkswagen (via Audi and Porsche) and, since the end of 2020, Hyundai-Kia. The five shareholders each hold a 20 per cent stake in the joint venture. Reuters also reported a few days ago that other players want to participate in Ionity, probably including Shell and Renault. Ionity is known to be behind schedule with the rollout of the HPC parks: around 350 of the 400 charging parks promised by the joint venture for the end of 2020 have been completed.