Electric vehicle charging network companies know that this is crunch time.
Low utilization rates and high operating costs are hamstringing profits. Money is tight. Charging satisfaction is at an all-time low. And after waiting years for networks to get it together, automakers are joining with Tesla Inc. in an unexpected alliance.
Two of the largest publicly held charging networks in the U.S., ChargePoint and Blink Charging, have less than a year of cash left, according to their most recent quarterly filings.
They both said their business models, reliant on charger equipment sales more than owning and operating networks themselves, were not as sensitive to cash burn. But company leaders and industry analysts agree that this is a decisive moment for the networks.
"It's kind of a perfect storm" for charging network companies, said Sam Abuelsamid, an analyst at Guidehouse Insights. "They're facing new competition, and their customers are not happy, and they need to spend money, but they can't get the money, so it's kind of the worst of all worlds for them."