CORRESPONDENT IN NEW YORK
There is a joke in the automotive industry that electric cars are like ‘crêpes’: the first is bad, the second is better and the third is good. It is difficult to know in which ‘crêpe’ the electric car sector is now, but it must be at least between the second and third.
After years as the great promise of the industry, electrics have exploded. Three years ago, in Europe a little less than 200,000 vehicles of this type were sold; this year they are expected to be close to 1.2 million.
In the US, markets have blind confidence in Tesla, its large producer of electric vehicles, while the president, Joe Biden, has just set a goal that half of the cars sold in the country by 2030 will be electric.
The entire sector – from traditional manufacturers to dozens of new specialized companies – is racing to take a piece of a sector that no one doubts will multiply in the next decade. And a Spanish company seeks to star in part of that explosion.
“We are prepared for an exponential growth of the electric car”, Enric Asunción, co-founder and CEO of Wallbox, assures this newspaper from the New York Stock Exchange. The company, dedicated to electric vehicle charging systems, wants to eat a big piece of that cake.
Wallbox is already a world leader in domestic charging systems, with a presence in more than eighty countries,
factories in Spain and China – and one more to open in Texas next year – 600,000 chargers sold and more than 700 employees.
The visit of Asunción and the rest of the Wallbox team to the New York Stock Exchange, the great world stock market, has to do with this objective of taking advantage of the emergence of the electric vehicle sector. This week saw the debut on the New York trading floor of Wallbox, which has been reached through a SPAC – the most fashionable investment vehicle in the US – through which it has combined its business with the investor Kensington Capital Acquisition. The company took advantage of all the paraphernalia of the IPO to greet the stock market: ringing of the bell at the close of the session, a large banner on the neoclassical façade of the stock market and a demonstration of its products in the middle of Wall Street, among onlookers and office workers.
The transaction will mean net income of about $ 252 million for Wallbox to complete its business plan and take advantage of the open road in the battery recharging industry. “We only have 3% of the market done so far, we have enormous growth ahead,” says Asunción, who assures that Wallbox will take advantage of the fact that 80% of users charge their cars at home, a system where his company is “a world leader ».
According Jordi Lainz, CFO of Wallbox, “the size of the pie that the US will represent in the sector is difficult to predict,” but the company’s goal is to control 10% of domestic charging systems in the country by 2025.
“To maintain a leadership position we have to have a technology that is differential,” he acknowledges Eduard Castañeda, co-founder and product manager of Wallbox, which seeks to advance not only in the domestic sector, but in public chargers. Its new factory in Texas will focus on that type of product.
Asunción assures that it is not afraid that big technology companies – Amazon, Apple or Google – will penetrate this sector and unseat companies like Wallbox. “We have many patents on very small and very cheap products”, says about its technological position. In addition, the window for the entry of actors in the sector “is closing: the winners of 2025 are being decided today.”
One of the key challenges for the industry today
–Problems in the supply chain, especially in semiconductors– which has become a strategic opportunity for Wallbox. “A super opportunity” is defined by Asunción, which ensures that the company is one of the few in the sector that controls the supply chain, with its own factories. “We are the only actor that has one hundred percent vertically integrated production,” says Asunción. “We are being able to manufacture four times more, without our customers noticing. Obviously, there are tensions with each supplier, but by controlling the whole process, for example, you can change the designs of the electronics to find alternative components more quickly. It is something that allows us to increase market share faster. It will last a little less than a year, but it gives us a chance.