Octopus invest £50m to help accelerate Weev’s EV charging rollout in NI

Octopus Investments (Octopus), part of Octopus Group, has announced a £50 million investment into Weev – an electric vehicle charge point operator which is based in Northern Ireland.

Last year the Belfast-based start-up revealed plans to install 1,500 charging electric vehicle (EV) charging points across the country by the end of 2024

Octopus is backing Weev’s rollout plan with up to £50 million to address the shortage of charging infrastructure in Northern Ireland.

EV drivers in Northern Ireland are disproportionately underserved in terms of charging infrastructure. According to the Department for Transport, the region had only 20 public charge points per 100,000 people – substantially lower than the UK average (60). The government’s commitment to end the sale of petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2030 will apply to all regions of the UK and this disparity underpins the opportunity for significant investment into Northern Ireland’s EV charging infrastructure.

Weev was set up by Dominic Kearns and Thomas O’Hagan in 2022 to create Northern Ireland’s largest privately operated EV charging network. The company installs public chargers and end-to-end EV solutions for workplace and fleet. Weev’s chargers enable EV drivers to charge in as little as 20 minutes.

This will be the first investment for Octopus Sustainable Infrastructure Fund (OSIF); a strategy announced last year with cornerstone investment from the UK Infrastructure Bank. OSIF will provide growth capital to the next generation of infrastructure companies with proven technology and transformative potential, that are critical to meeting the scale of the UK’s net zero ambitions.

Philip Rainey, CEO, Weev said: “In a world of rising energy prices, consumers and fleet operators are now thinking more seriously than ever before about switching to an EV to unlock significant cost savings and reduce their carbon footprint. We are helping to enable this switch by breaking down barriers such as range anxiety through access to convenient and reliable EV chargers.

“This investment from Octopus enables a major expansion to the size and scope of the rollout we announced at launch last year. We can now increase our focus on providing more rapid and ultra-rapid charging hubs in response to growing demand from EV drivers. In total, the capital will enable us to install and maintain a network of thousands of EV charging points over the next five years using locally-based teams and expertise.”

Lukasz Michalak, Investment Director, Sustainable Infrastructure, at Octopus, said: “OSIF is focused on investing growth capital into sustainable infrastructure businesses tackling climate change and supporting levelling-up ambitions across the UK. Weev is the perfect example of the next generation of infrastructure companies doing just that. By backing Weev, we see a great opportunity to deliver a positive impact to Northern Ireland’s communities while meeting the financial objectives of the fund.”

“We have great confidence in the Weev team. Not only have they previously been in charge of various successful infrastructure businesses in Northern Ireland, but they also share our ethos of putting the customer first.”

John Flint, CEO, UK Infrastructure Bank, added: “We invested in the Octopus Sustainable Investment Fund with the purpose of increasing capital for the next generation of sustainable infrastructure projects across the UK. The potential Weev has to scale up EV charging in Northern Ireland is significant, and we look forward to seeing the impact on decarbonising the local transport infrastructure to support the UK’s transition to net zero.”

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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