ChargePoint Beyond the Market: S.B. 350 and the Future of EV Charging

By Steve Callander, Josh Richman, Julie Makinen
2018 | Case No. SM292 | Length 5 pgs.

In July 2015, a monumental environmental bill, S.B. 350, was making its way through the California legislature. The measure sought to reduce the state’s petroleum use by 50 percent; require 50 percent of energy to come from renewable sources; and double the energy efficiency of existing buildings, all by 2030. Electrical vehicle charging company ChargePoint initially welcomed the legislation, but modifications to the text later alarmed the company. The CEO feared that new concessions granted to utility companies could even threaten ChargePoint’s existence. The company had to figure out how it should position itself around this legislation, and whether it should side with oil companies, truckers and other entities to oppose a bill that had wide public support. The decision required ChargePoint to evaluate its relationship to a number of constituent groups — not just EV drivers but also automakers, environmentalists, and utility companies.


Click to view ChargePoint Beyond the Market: S.B. 350 and the Future of EV Charging case.


Learning Objective

After studying this case, students should be able to:

  • Understand the complexities for companies such as ChargePoint in tracking legislation and lobbying for their interests as the legislative process proceeds.
  • Analyze different constituencies and counter-parties involved in legislation, as well as the decision-making a company like ChargePoint must go through to determine its positioning.
  • Understand how regulatory decisions impact the market development for emerging companies like ChargePoint.
  • Identify risks for ChargePoint in opposing S.B. 350 or fighting utility proposals at the CPUC.
  • Appreciate the impact that political processes and policymaking can have on the strategy and business model of a company like ChargePoint.
This material is available for download by current Stanford GSB students, faculty, and staff only. For inquires, contact the Case Writing Office. Download