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Swtch Energy raises $13M for EV charging

Illustration of a large EV charger docked on the side of an apartment building.

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

Swtch Energy has raised $13 million to expand its portfolio of EV chargers in apartment and condo buildings in North America.

Why it matters: Reliable access to at-home EV charging remains a hurdle for city-dwellers — especially those who don't live in a standalone home. Swtch says it's found a (profitable?) way to address that challenge.

The details: The startup raised $10 million in a Series A led by Aligned Climate Capital's venture arm.

  • Additional investors included Landmark Management, Elemental Energy, IBI Group, Active Impact Investments and Pacific Reach.
  • The capital raise also includes a $3 million credit facility from Silicon Valley Bank.

By the numbers: Swtch, which is based in Toronto, has installed and operates about 1,500 charging stations across 200 multifamily buildings in both Canada and the U.S.

  • About half of the charging locations are in low-to-moderate-income apartment buildings, CEO Carter Li tells Axios.
  • Some 200 chargers are deployed in the U.S., largely in the Northeast.
  • Buildings effectively "lease" the chargers from Swtch for about $50-100 per month per charging port.

Flashback: Swtch had initially aspired to become an "Airbnb of charging," with owners of at-home chargers renting their charging stations to other EV drivers, Li tells Axios.

  • "But people who have chargers live in the suburbs, and the people who need the chargers live in the city and don’t want to drive an hour to charge their vehicles," Li says.

What they're saying: While expanding public charging infrastructure for EVs is vital, Li says, providing access to at-home charging is just as crucial.

  • "People are thinking about a gas station model where they need to be thinking about a cellphone charging model, where we plug in our phone overnight and it’s charged in the morning," he says.
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