Posted on Tuesday, Nov 28th 2017
According to Grand View Research, the global electric vehicle charging infrastructure market was valued at $1.16 billion in 2016. It is expected to gain traction over the next ten years driven by the growing demand for electric vehicles. The Asia Pacific region dominates the market with about 50% of the market share in 2016. Based on this growing demand, Chinese company Microvast entered the Billion Dollar Unicorn Club early this year.
Microvast was founded by Diaokun Xiao, Xiang LI, and Yang Wu in 2006 with a vision to drive mass adoption of electric vehicles by addressing the constraints in electric vehicle development and redesigning power systems.
It launched its electric and hybrid bus business in 2010, focusing primarily on Europe and China. At the end of 2016, it had over 15,000 Microvast battery-powered buses operating in public transport networks in China, as well as in five European countries. In 2016, it delivered over 7,500 all-electric and hybrid-electric buses for metro transit use worldwide. Its manufacturing center is located in Zhejiang, China and it has offices in UK and Germany. It is a market leader in the development and manufacturing of ultra-fast charging, long-life lithium-ion battery systems.
Now, the company has set its sights on the US. It has shifted its headquarters to Stafford, Texas. For the US market, its prime focus will be the e-bus sector, while it will also be chasing the truck electrification, mining processes, and grid-scale energy storage markets.
Microvast currently provides three lines of fast-charging lithium-ion battery solutions, including batteries with ultra-fast charge capability that get fully charged in 10-15 minutes; high cycle life batteries with over 20,000 full-depth charge cycles; and thermal performance batteries that can operate in a wide range of temperatures or high energy density. Microvast has a patented Smart Thermal Liquid (STL) protection system for making its batteries extremely safe. Its electric buses have traveled more than 1 billion km without any failures or safety issues.
The prominent vendors dominating the electric vehicle charging infrastructure market include ABB Group, AeroVironment, ChargePoint, Schneider Electric, Chargemaster, Eaton Corporation, Siemens, SemaConnect., ClipperCreek, Tesla Motors, Delphi Automotive, General Electric, and Leviton Manufacturing. The market is witnessing some consolidation. In 2017, Chargemaster announced the acquisition of infrastructure supplier Elektromotive along with its subsidiary Charge Your Car.
Microvast is privately held and does not disclose details of its financials. According to a report by EMValley, its revenue in the first half of 2015 was $69.4 million. The company is reported to be profitable.
The company has so far raised $450 million from investors including CDH Investments, CITIC Securities, IFCI Venture Capital Funds, National Venture Capital Association, and SDIC Fund Management (Beijing). It last raised $400 million in April this year in a round that valued it at $2 billion. Prior to this, it had raised $50 million in 2011 at an undisclosed valuation.
With the funds, MPS plans to launch its next generation products with higher energy density. It also plans a new production facility in Huzhou, Zhejiang, China that would have a targeted production capacity of 11 GWh in Phase III. The total production capacity will reach 15 GWh and will be in operation by 2019.
More investigation and analysis of Unicorn companies can be found in my latest Entrepreneur Journeys book, Billion Dollar Unicorns. The term Unicorn was coined in a TechCrunch article by Aileen Lee of Cowboy Ventures.
This segment is a part in the series : Billion Dollar Unicorns
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