Private equity firm Zouk Capital has invested £30m to launch a new public EV charging company Zest, which aims to fill the gaps in the UK’s EV infrastructure.
According to Zest, today’s EV infrastructure has evolved to serve early adopters, prioritising home driveway and rapid en-route charging. Its mission is to make the shift to EV a realistic option for everyone, by growing a network that makes fast charging available where people regularly park for more than 30 minutes, whether it is when shopping, at leisure or at work.
For landowners such as enterprises, parking operators or local authorities, Zest aims to remove the financial and operational barriers to committing to large-scale charger deployments. This includes planning and installing the chargers, as well as ongoing maintenance.
It is estimated that up to half a million destination and public charge points will be needed by 2030, yet there are fewer than 30,000 today. Zest said by making it easier for landowners to provide charge points, and by making the customer experience a seamless part of everyday life, it will add impetus to the UK’s transition to EV.
“Customer experience is at the centre of everything we do. Our commercial proposition is a proven successful solution for landowners who want to cater for the increasing numbers of EV drivers visiting their properties,” said Robin Heap, Zest CEO.
“Zest removes the major worries for site hosts, such as significant capital outlay, unpredictable utilisation rates, and having to operate and maintain the hardware and software systems.”
This latest investment is supported by the Charging Infrastructure Investment Fund (CIIF), the dedicated fund established by the UK government in 2019 and backed by HM Treasury to help develop public charging infrastructure points for electric vehicles throughout the UK. Zouk manages the CIIF.
Massimo Resta, partner at Zouk Capital, added: “Zest is deploying its charging network in locations such as shopping centres, car parks, restaurants, city centres where people regularly park their cars for extended periods of time. The idea is to provide a way to charge EVs without disrupting people’s routines, and at the same time making it easy for landowners to join the EV revolution.
“Electricity is everywhere and Zest’s mission is to make EV charging as accessible, convenient and stress free as possible. This is fully in tune with CIIF’s central objective of scaling open-access, public EV charging networks for the UK’s EV drivers. We are looking forward to working with Robin and his team to build this new EV charging company.”