Samuel Abuelsamid, principal analyst with Guidehouse Insights, an advisory firm specializing in infrastructure, concurs with that assessment. “There’s certainly a big, addressable market for this type of service,” he said. “This whole area is something that’s going to be critically important, as you’ve got all these automakers making huge plans to build and hopefully sell millions of E.V.s in the next five to 10 years.”
While many current E.V. owners tend to be affluent and can arrange to do most of their charging off street and overnight in their own garages with slower Level 2 chargers, Mr. Abuelsamid noted, “the vast majority of Americans don’t ever buy a new vehicle in their lifetime — about three and a half times as many used vehicles are sold every year as new.”
“As you grow the E.V. market, more of them move into the used vehicle market,” he continued. “A lot of these customers are not going to be able to charge at home. They will need public charging infrastructure. So you need to build that out. And companies like Charge are going to be important — helping to figure out where can you locate chargers, especially for DC fast charging, where you need quite a bit of electrical capacity going into the location.”
Securing regulatory approvals and reliable local contractors is also necessary, he said.
Deciding to piggyback charging onto Charge’s cellular communications business was a crucial move, said Mr. Fox, 49.
“E.V. charging is a separate infrastructure, but we didn’t want to vaporize a ton of investor dollars to build this business,” he said. “And so we’ve acquired companies that were providing infrastructure services for telecommunication, because it turns out maybe it’s not the exact same worker, but it’s the same type of work, running cables.”
Reporting earnings of $357 million in the first three quarters of 2021, Charge now trades over the counter (as CRGE) but is uplisting to Nasdaq. In January, Charge also added EV Group Holdings, which focuses on real estate assets for commercial fleet operators needing charging depots, to its portfolio.
Like Mr. LaNeve, who grew up as the son and grandson of steelworkers in Beaver Falls, Pa., Mr. Fox, raised in Queens, credits blue-collar roots — his father was a union electrician — for his approach to business.