(Bloomberg) -- Chaevi, a South Korean maker of supercharging stations for electric cars, is planning on building out an ultra-fast network in the US and partnering with automakers in Japan as consumers around the world embrace cleaner passenger transport.
After installing some 26,000 EV chargers at home since the company was established in 2016, Chaevi has opened an office in Silicon Valley and is considering a US manufacturing base, Chief Marketing Officer Young Min Kim said.
While that would mean going up against supercharging incumbents Tesla Inc., EVgo Inc. and Electrify America LLC, the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act is pushing Chaevi to consider investments in North America. The act, which seeks to reduce reliance on China and encourage automakers around the world to produce more cars in the US, may also provide for subsidies for EV charging makers.
Japan, where electric vehicle penetration is still low, is another market where Chaevi sees big growth, Kim said. There are plans to open a Tokyo office, he added, without elaborating.
This willingness to look outside of Korea may be driven by the Asia nation’s stringent rules around EV chargers, Lee Chang-hee, an analyst at Samsung Securities Co., said.
“Korea has strong regulations for EV chargers, such as limiting the number installed at a parking lot,” Lee said. “So some Korean charger makers are seeking overseas expansion.”
Others are getting in on the act, too.
SK Group, which controls EV battery maker SK On Co., is a backer of US electric charging solutions provider Atom Power Inc. while Hyundai Motor Co. has struck a partnership with Lotte Group under which the retail giant will provide real estate for Hyundai’s charging stations.
Although the number of charging points per electric car in Korea is high, consumers still feel they’re lacking, with many sites far from residential areas or constantly broken, according to an October report from state-run Korea Development Institute.
Chaevi forecasts Korea will need around 210,000 slow chargers and 24,000 fast ones by the end of next year to support its goal of reaching half a million EV charging points across the country by 2025. There were around 149,000 fast and slower charging sites as at the end of August, government data show.
China, the world’s biggest market for electric cars, doesn’t appeal however, Kim said. The political risks are offputting and the market is already crowded, he said. China has about 346,950 fast chargers installed, compared to 29,541 in Europe and 23,159 in the US, according to BloombergNEF.
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