Ionna selects headquarters and adds to leadership team

The OEM-backed EV charging initiative is gathering momentum

Ionna selects headquarters and adds to leadership team
The charging start-up has big ambitions to challenge market leader Tesla

Ionna, the US charging network founded by a coalition of OEMs BMW, GM, Honda, Hyundai, Mercedes, Kia and Stellantis, has selected Durham, NC as its global headquarters.

“We are thrilled to call Durham home," says Ionna CEO Seth Cutler. "The area's established history of research, innovation, and its vibrant growing community, make it the perfect place for Ionna to join, thrive, and pioneer.”

Durham sits within the so-called Research Triangle, the moniker of a metropolitan area in the Piedmont region that includes the cities of Raleigh and Durham and the town of Chapel Hill. The region encompasses three major research universities: North Carolina State University, Duke University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; as well as Research Triangle Park, the largest research park in the US and host of numerous tech firms.

Ionna commends its new home’s “thriving research ecosystem and leading universities”. And it promises that “the area's dynamic blend of tech talent and commitment to innovation mirrors Ionna's own mission to develop and deploy a cutting-edge customer charging experience”. Current Research Triangle park tenants include battery materials development firm Cleanvolt Energy and graphite company Urbix, as well as renewable generator Ecoplexus and US environmental regulator the EPA.

“Ionna's decision to make Durham County its home validates our global reputation for the EV industry," says NC governor Roy Cooper. "This cutting-edge company and its founding automotive manufacturers will benefit from the innovative ecosystem, highly skilled workforce, and central location of North Carolina to take its pioneering technology to market."

The new NC headquarters will house a customer experience lab that the firm says will “serve as quarterback and central node to seven new satellite labs at each of the founding OEM’s facilities, playing a pivotal role in accelerated deployment, interoperability testing, and continuous improvement of features that work from day one”.

Ionna has also unveiled new executive appointments, including Derek Rush arriving from the BP Pulse charging division of oil major BP as CFO and Ricardo Stamatti as Chief Product Officer from the charging division of Ionna shareholder Stellantis. The latter will be tasked with “driv[ing] the vision, strategy, and execution of Ionna's product development and commercial efforts, ensuring that Ionna builds high-fidelity products that meet customers' most pressing needs and the company's ambitious business goals”.

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Shankar Muthukumar also joins as COO, having previously been general manager of the e-mobility division at construction heavyweight Mortenson. And again reliability and user-friendliness of the new network is a key point of his job description, as he “will manage all operational aspects of Ionna's expanding network, ensuring that its systems not only raise the bar in reliability and efficiency, but are also scalable to meet the company's future vision of a genre-defining customer experience”.

Ionna officially launched only in February — having first emerged as a concept in July last year — and aims to deliver 30,000 ultra-fast charging points by 2030. The firm anticipates opening its first charging stations in the US later this year, with plans for expansion into Canada at a later stage.

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