Octopus funds charging network in Northern Ireland with £50 mn
Weev, the Belfast-based startup on a mission to bring better charging to Northern Ireland, has received a funding boost. Octopus Investments, part of the Octopus Energy Group, is investing up to £50 million and says the capital was to address the shortage of charging infrastructure in Northern Ireland.
In its funding announcement, Octopus states EV drivers in Northern Ireland were “disproportionately underserved” in charging infrastructure. According to the British Department for Transport, the region had only 20 public charge points per 100,000 people, substantially lower than the UK average (60).
These findings were also what made Weev come out in April 2022. The startup at the time was planning to invest £20 million in a new privately-operated public charging network with 1,500 charge points at over 350 locations across Northern Ireland.
Today, Philip Rainey, CEO of Weev, added that the investment from Octopus enabled a “major expansion to the size and scope of the rollout we announced at launch last year. We can now increase our focus on providing more rapid and ultra-rapid charging hubs in response to growing demand from EV drivers. In total, the capital will enable us to install and maintain a network of thousands of EV charging points over the next five years using locally-based teams and expertise.”
Initial plans saw Weev roll out six fast charging hubs. The company has yet to detail new targets with fresh capital.
This will be the first investment for Octopus Sustainable Infrastructure Fund (OSIF), a strategy with cornerstone investment from the UK Infrastructure Bank. OSIF will provide growth capital to the next generation of infrastructure companies with proven technology and transformative potential critical to meeting the scale of the UK’s net zero ambitions, so Octopus.
At Octopus, Lukasz Michalak, Investment Director, Sustainable Infrastructure, called Weev the perfect example of companies doing just that. “By backing Weev, we see a great opportunity to deliver a positive impact to Northern Ireland’s communities while meeting the financial objectives of the fund.”