Ex-Googler's TeraWatt raises $1B to expand commercial EV charging

TeraWatt Infrastructure, a company that builds electric vehicle charging infrastructure for fleets, has secured over $1 billion in a Series A round to build out its portfolio of commercial charging centers.

The recent injection of capital follows a $100 million seed round from Keyframe Capital and Cyrus Capital, which both followed on into the current round alongside Vision Ridge Partners.

The infrastructure for charging private passenger EVs is becoming easily accessible and well developed. But as more electric vehicle models for fleets begin to come to market, the commercial sector will need its own charging centers, and that's where TeraWatt comes in.

“The future of electrified transport is at a critical inflection point, whereby solutions for large-scale EV charging infrastructure must be established to meet the increasing demand for electrification of all fleets,” said Paul Luce, managing director at Vision Ridge Partners, in a statement.

Since TeraWatt came out of stealth in May 2021, the company has scooped up real estate in strategic locations that are relevant to fleets, like along highways, and built out a growing network of charging centers. The $1 billion in funding will help TeraWatt both develop charging infrastructure at its current portfolio of properties, as well as acquire new properties, according to Neha Palmer, TeraWatt's CEO and former head of energy strategy at Google.

"We plan to more than double the number of new employees over the next year to fulfill needs across charging operations, real estate, sales, marketing and more," Palmer told TechCrunch. "In the coming weeks, TeraWatt will announce the largest and most ambitious charging project to date for the electrification of long-haul transportation along a major highway corridor."

TeraWatt currently has sites across 18 states, some of which the company is actively developing into charging centers, according to Palmer. The company intends to initially deploy charging centers in the western United States, with some additional sites in the east. TeraWatt works with companies that have EV-first business models, as well as established companies that are starting to transition to EVs -- and it works with fleets across light, medium and heavy-duty vehicles.

As more EVs come online, both in the private sphere and within fleets, experts worry that the grid won't be able to handle the influx of demand. TeraWatt claims to solve that problem by taking electric capacity availability into account when choosing the location of charging centers, according to Palmer.

Palmer says part of TeraWatt's strategy is to start the development process early enough to collaborate with utilities companies from the get-go. The company also works on ways to leverage tools like on-site generation and batteries to interconnect quickly and have greater flexibility around energy consumption.

"To be clear, grid capacity will be an issue for the entire industry, and for many industries as the 'electrify everything' transition continues," said Palmer. "There will have to be a lot of collaboration between stakeholders, including grid owners, operators, utilities, regulators and end users to ensure that the grid can evolve alongside the shift to electric transportation."