chargepoint’s-ceo-explains-why-the-best-is-yet-to-come-for-ev-charging

ChargePoint’s CEO Explains Why the Best Is Yet to Come for EV Charging


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A ChargePoint plug sits connected to a vehicle in Los Angeles.


Dania Maxwell/Bloomberg

The EV charging- infrastructure company

ChargePoint

blew past expectations for its second-quarter sales, raising its forecast for the full year and sending the stock higher. It was a big quarter, but the EV and EV-charging industries are just getting going: ChargePoint CEO Pasquale Romano sees even better days ahead.

ChargePoint (ticker: CHPT) stock was up about 9% in early trading Thursday. The

S&P 500

and

Dow Jones Industrial Average

both had gained about 0.4%.

“We don’t take [the guidance increase] lightly,” Romano told Barron’s, pointing out his company moved ahead even though it is still facing pressure from Covid-19. “You can imagine …what that says about what we think about the future of electrification, just in the back half of this year.”

Many people are still working from home, so they aren’t parking their cars in office lots, limiting the immediate need for companies to buy charging stations. Supply-chain problems remain a challenge as well, as they are in many industries.

ChargePoint now expects to generate about $230 million in 2021 sales, up from a prior forecast of about $200 million. Analysts were projecting about $208 million in full-year sales before the earnings report.

ChargePoint doesn’t actually own chargers that people use. Their business model depends on demand pull. Businesses buy equipment from the company, paying monthly network fees as well, because they want it. Sales are strong because businesses are seeing more EVs show up at their businesses.

The strong quarter wasn’t the result of any government incentives coming from President Joe Biden’s trillion-dollar infrastructure bill. Those dollars won’t add to the amount spent on charging infrastructure for years.

“What’s remarkable about the quarter I think is how uniformly positive [it was] across all verticals in our business,” added Romano. Demand from residential users, businesses, fleet operators, and customers in Europe is strong.

Increasing adoption of EVs is creating demand for charging. Roughly 310,000 EVs were sold in the U.S. during the first half of 2021, almost as many as the 320,000 sold in all of 2020. Charging capacity has to expand in line with the increase in the number of EVs on the road.

“We are in the early innings …we are far from done” in terms of growth, Romano said. “It keeps going until the fleet turns over.”

At the moment, about 280 million cars and light-duty trucks are on U.S. roads. About 2 million are electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles. At recent selling rates, the U.S. fleet turns over every 15 to 20 years. Even if Biden and the auto industry meet his aggressive EV sales goals, only about 25% of cars on the roads will be electric by 2030. There is plenty of growth ahead.

Romano expects EV adoption to accelerate not only because of falling costs, or government incentives, but because of increasing availability of different models. EVs are selling well in 2021, but there are still many segments of the market where car buyers don’t have an all-electric option.

Wall Street is upbeat about the outlook. Eight of the 10 analysts who cover ChargePoint stock rate the shares at Buy. The average Buy-rating ratio for small capitalization stocks is about 60%.

Write to Al Root at allen.root@dowjones.com