Be.EV / Octopus EV charger

Manchester-based EV public charging network Be.EV is set for major expansion after Octopus Energy Generation agreed to invest up to £110m to enable it to install new charge points across the north of England and beyond.

Octopus Energy already supplies all of Be.EV chargers with 100% green electricity but this is its first stake in EV charging infrastructure.

The deal will help grow Be.EV’s 150-strong public charge point network, with Be.EV committed to adding 1,000 further charge points across the north of England and beyond by 2024. The move will increase the firm’s charge point coverage by over 600%.

Recently data published by the Department for Transport shows public EV charge points are currently unevenly distributed in the UK, with a bias towards London.

The backing from Octopus means Be.EV, which already operates Greater Manchester’s largest public EV charging network, can rapidly address this imbalance.

Its business model aims to build concentrated, community-based charging networks where they’re most needed to ensure more equitable access to public chargers and instil confidence in going electric.

Octopus Energy Generation is one of Europe’s largest renewable energy investors. This deal is part of its strategy to invest in high-growth companies driving the energy transition.

Matt Setchell, co-head of Octopus Energy Generation’s fund management team, said: “Our first foray into funding EV charging infrastructure is a significant milestone. We’re accelerating the green energy transition, with more deals coming up to turbocharge it. As a nation, we need to rapidly build more EV charge points to meet the growing number of drivers going electric. Easy and fair access to chargers will help phase out petrol-guzzling cars once and for all.”

Asif Ghafoor, CEO and co-founder of Be.EV said: “Everybody, not just the wealthy, must be able to make the switch to electric cars but currently people who live outside London or in less affluent areas are underserved by public EV charging. If you live in a flat or terrace, you can’t charge at home. This investment addresses that imbalance and helps kickstart a national infrastructure effort that, for once, doesn’t start in London.

“The backing from Octopus Energy Generation is transformational for us. We have sites lined up and under way that will form dense clusters of chargers that give people the confidence to go electric. We’re also building infrastructure that communities can be proud of, reinventing charging locations as green neighbourhood hubs and developing iconic designs. Octopus’ support means we can take this unique approach to other parts of the country, addressing the imbalance in charging provision across north and south, urban and rural communities.”

This deal marks the next step in Octopus Energy Group’s advancement of EVs. Its EV roaming service Electric Universe aims to make charging EVs simple as drivers can use one card and app to access more than 310,000 public charge points from a range of brands globally. As part of this agreement, Be.EV will be joining Electric Universe, alongside the 460-plus other charging networks on the platform.