Behind the Term Sheet: How Wallbox’s Ecosystem of EV Charging is Pushing Forward the Shift to Sustainable Mobility

Innovation in the mobility space has recently been driven by factors falling roughly into two categories: economy and climate. Both are essential in the shift to a more sustainable economy, and in the case of mobility, it is also a driver for most human activities. Some of the biggest modern evolutions have largely stemmed from a shift in energy production and consumption, such as the industrial revolution, with the next phase being the transition away from fossil fuels to renewables. Further, with increasing populations — particularly with the rise of emerging regions — it’s critical that we find better, more efficient and less wasteful ways to produce, share and consume energy.

With the rise of AI and digitalization sweeping across all industries, we are currently seeing the emergence of the connected car, self-driving vehicles and the wildly popular car-sharing industry. Meanwhile, under the constant and urgent threat of climate change, we’ve seen impressive innovation in alternative and renewable energy along with the electric vehicle (EV) boom.

At Cathay, we work with some of the leading corporations in the world dedicated to the sustainable transition of the mobility and energy sectors such as Valeo, Total, Air Liquide and Michelin. In addition to our global innovation funds, we’ve raised two specialized funds dedicated to fight climate change (Cathay Smart Energy) and fuel innovation in mobility (Cathay Cartech & Mobility) — investing in startups around the world such as Drivy (acquired by Getaround), China’s first self-driving car unicorn Momenta or commercial hydrogen fuel cell startup Re-fire.

The transition requires investment not only in the production of new energy sources, EVs, data and digital networks — but also the new infrastructure that will enable it and bring it all together. Thus, today we’re delighted to announce our participation in the €33M financing of Wallbox, the Barcelona-based startup building an integrated ecosystem of EV chargers. Partnering with co-investors such as Iberdrola and WIND Ventures, we’re looking forward to supporting Wallbox on its mission to reduce the world’s dependence on fossil fuels.

Europe’s EV Boom — A Product of Innovation, Culture and Government

The EV market has seen explosive growth worldwide, with some estimates pointing to 35–50% of vehicles being electric within this decade. China has emerged as a global leader, with 1M EV models built in the last year, followed by Europe and the US. The growth is highly motivated by governments and utilities who are looking to see the shift to EV happen quickly in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

While Europe may be behind in some fields compared to China and the US, its policies around energy usage and sustainability are certainly not, which may catapult the region to a leadership position in the EV market. For example, in Europe a €500B green stimulus plan was approved in July including a €123B incentive for EV chargers — expected to accelerate the EV adoption curve by one to two years. In France, subsidies can nearly cover the cost of the vehicle such as the ZOE car for the price of €24K with €19K in subsidies. Despite the COVID-19 crisis and the lockdowns in 2020, the number of EVs sold in Europe grew by 137%.

However, the number of EV chargers sold is lagging behind EV sales globally and the limited number of chargers per EV is exasperated further with nearly 50% deployed not operational. Thanks to its mix of innovation, public policies and a real cultural push towards sustainability, we believe Europe is specifically well suited to breed startups solving parts of this global problem — with EV charging being one piece of the puzzle presenting a sizable opportunity.

Enter Wallbox — The Integrated Ecosystem of EV Charging Reducing the World’s Dependence on Fossil Fuels

Wallbox was founded in 2015 by former Tesla employees and energy veterans, Enric Asunción and Eduard Castañeda with the mission to liberate the world from fossil fuels. Wallbox is providing the infrastructure for the transition to sustainable (and electric) mobility, by building the integrated ecosystem of EV chargers. The company offers a full set of premium chargers for homes, businesses and cities, all with high user experience as well as an over-the-top software and data layer for both Wallbox hardware and 3rd party chargers.

This ecosystem is particularly impressive for two reasons: the quality of their hardware and the huge potential of their data. Wallbox’s innovative hardware products (private, semi-private and public) are highly advanced with different types of AC/DC technologies, their bi-directional charger is the world’s lightest and smallest on the market and are positioned as premium products well ahead of competitors.

On to the data — the company collects data to create a value-added service for all stakeholders to save energy and money. Its cloud software platform, MyWallBox, enables users and operators to control and optimize the utilization of private chargers including payment integrations and a real-time view of data around energy consumption, costs and broader EV adoption. In addition, they acquired the B2C app Electromaps, the ‘waze of EV chargers’ that enables end users to locate public chargers, extending its offering in the public sector. By optimizing when to charge cars or pump energy out of cars into the grid, Wallbox can optimize energy consumption for users and production for utilities — setting up the company to play a big role in the energy management space.

Wallbox, already with an international presence across Europe, the US and China, is scaling impressively with 100,000 charger deployments on sight and active partnerships with leading utilities. With what we see as the best-in-class product, and the development of a network of charging stations worldwide underway, we believe that Wallbox is not only an emerging leader in mobility but will be a key energy player worldwide.

Parting Thoughts — Wallbox’s Role in the EV Revolution & the Shift to “Dynamic Power Sharing”

The EV revolution is here, but in order to make a lasting impact we need the infrastructure to support it. This is why companies like Wallbox are critical, who is creating a strategic infrastructure for the EV ecosystem we need — the products and the digital layer that empowers the interaction of people and technology to find more sustainable ways of using and sharing energy.

In this next phase, the world will shift to “dynamic power sharing” to flatten the energy demand curve while strongly reducing costs of energy at peak loads which stands to have a huge impact on energy producers and consumers alike. More importantly, the fight against climate change is undeniably one of the greatest battles yet and we’re thrilled to be able to partner with Wallbox, who we believe will play a major role in the EV revolution — positively impacting consumers, businesses and the planet as whole.

Co-founder and CEO of Cathay Innovation