The regional policy chief of Uber, the embattled ride-hailing company, is leaving to enter ChargePoint, a U.S. electric-vehicle charging-network maker that has drawn the attention of major financial backing from European transport companies.
In an interview on Tuesday, Christopher Burghardt informed reporters that he intends to join ChargePoint early next month as the company’s lead regional executive. He will supervise the aggressive charging-point expansion plans in Europe of the Silicon Valley company.
Uber faced a year filled with regulatory battles and mounting scandals after Burghardt signed on last September as policy and communications chief across the 45-country Europe, Africa, and Middle East region of the company.
ChargePoint provides charging software and hardware that are used to connect outlets. It has no re-charging stations of its own. However, it works like an Uber or Airbnb to schedule bookings and generate a network of locations at available charge points.
“The energy and mobility spaces are coming together,” said Burghardt. “ChargePoint is really one of the leading companies in electric vehicle infrastructure – where the two trends meet.”
This year, the company, which operates a network of about 40,000 electric charging stations, mainly in the U.S, raised $125 million in financing, led by Daimler, a German car maker, and Siemens, the industrial giant. It had raised almost $300 million since its founding ten years ago.
The demand for electric cars depends on a network of charging points, which engineering groups, utilities, start-ups, and automakers are competing to provide and control before the sector takes off.
They intend to work with ChargePoint to create a recharging network in Europe, where it will face competition from Engie, a French utility, which has acquired EV-Box, a Dutch firm, and Innogy, a German electric utility. Both rivals are moving into the home market of ChargePoint in the United States.
In May, ChargePoint unveiled its most important network deal in Europe to date by signing an agreement with InstaVolt to provide it with 200 ChargePoint rapid charge systems.
Before joining Uber, Burghardt spent seven years in sales, business development, and public policy executive roles in the Middle East and Europe for First Solar, a U.S. solar-panel maker – a difficult period of transition for the industry when European governments loosened up incentives for solar producers.