Here’s What Siemens’ $450M Stake in Electrify America Will Bring

·3 min read
Photo credit: Electrify America
Photo credit: Electrify America
  • Siemens, a German electronics giant, has invested $450 million for a minority stake in Volkswagen's Electrify America.

  • The investment will support the EV charging network's expansion plans revealed in 2021, including new station types.

  • Electrify America is a Volkswagen EV charging subsidiary, launched years prior to the arrival of the first ID electric vehicles.

German electronics giant Siemens has taken a $450 million stake in Volkswagen's Electrify America, becoming a minority shareholder in one of the largest EV charging networks in the US. The post-transaction deal gives the EV network a valuation of $2.45 billion, while also giving Siemens a seat on its board.

The move is seen as giving a financial boost to the charging network, which was launched in the wake of the VW diesel crisis as part of the automaker's deal with US agencies that also includes investment in other EV related programs as well as unbranded promotion of electric cars. Electrify America currently operates over 750 charging stations housing almost 2500 chargers, with plans to increase the number of locations in the next few years. The deal is meant to support the network's growth plans as well as the development of charging technology and services.

The move gives Siemens an entry into the EV charging market stateside, just as electric cars are expected to receive a boost due to high gasoline prices forecast in the near and mid term, amid fears that a $5.00 national gas average could become the new normal later this year after the EU's recent plans to stop buying most Russian oil.

In addition, Siemens will be the first outside investor in Electrify America.

"The plan is to more than double Electrify America's charging infrastructure to 1800 locations and 10,000 fast chargers by 2026," said Thomas Schmall, Volkswagen Group board member for technology and CEO of Volkswagen Group Components. " Siemens' investment confirms our electrification strategy of making charging and energy solutions available nationwide—to customers of all EVs. With its expertise and portfolio, Siemens is an important strategic technology partner for us on this route."

The investment comes in the wake of several charging agreements with outside automakers for the benefit of new EV purchasers, as automakers scramble to offer incentives to EV buyers in lieu of building out their own networks. Automakers including Ford, BMW, Hyundai, Kia, Lucid, Polestar, and Volvo all offer charging plans through Electrify America, not counting other Volkswagen AG brands like Porsche and Audi. Other US automakers are perhaps wishing now they had also started building their own charging networks years before they even offered EVs in any great volume.

The financial stake also comes during a period of some long overdue changes in the EV station industry, as Electrify America and its competitors begin to focus on larger charging plazas with the amenities offered by gas stations—a component that was notably missing during the first decade of EV station building efforts by Tesla and others. Electrify America and others are now increasingly experimenting with larger station footprints and EV owner lounges in California and a handful of other locations, as EVs become more mainstream, while also working to address quality issues at existing stations that have long been an inseparable and unglamorous part of EV ownership in the past decade.

"Siemens’ expertise in electric vehicle charging infrastructure and technology is a natural complement to Electrify America as we lead the transition to an eMobility transportation system in North America," said Giovanni Palazzo, president and CEO of Electrify America.

Photo credit: Hearst Owned
Photo credit: Hearst Owned