E.ON Amps Up Its E-Mobility Plans With ALD Automotive Partnership

A new partnership between E.ON and ALD Automotive will see Europeans getting vehicle charging so smart it will fill up your boss’s car before yours.

The fleet vehicle charging systems being planned as part of the collaboration will also make sure electric vehicles that are needed urgently get priority charging, said Markus Nitschke, E.ON spokesman for e-mobility.

“The customer can define, for every single car, a hierarchy of charging,” he promised. “Our software will manage this.”

The utility’s E.ON Drive smart charging systems are understood to run on software developed by the Finnish company Virta. They will even let you charge your company car at home using a tariff negotiated by your employer, Nitschke told GTM.

The charging stations will avoid peak charging and grid congestion by integrating large-scale batteries for renewable energy storage, he added. These batteries, along with those within the electric vehicles connected to the charging systems, will be able to make money by selling energy back to the grid.

At the same time, E.ON is studying the feasibility of using secondhand electric vehicle fleet batteries for large-scale energy systems. “Currently we are running a project with used EV batteries at the university in Aachen,” Nitschke said. "After evaluating the results, we will know if there is a business model behind.”

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A new strategic partnership

E.ON announced its alliance with ALD Automotive, a full-service leasing and fleet management services company operating across 43 countries, earlier this month.

The two companies said the strategic partnership was aimed at jointly developing and marketing digital enhanced mobility, financing and energy services for corporations, municipalities and private customers in Europe.

The joint offering will include consultancy and planning, installation, operation and maintenance of charging infrastructure, E.ON said.

One of the first fruits of the partnership was an electric vehicle leasing offer for private E.ON customers in Denmark, which launched this month.

In Norway, meanwhile, E.ON and ALD have launched a fleet product for corporations, offering electric company car leasing on the same conditions as for conventional vehicles, with a fuel card for electricity. E.ON is using an advanced billing system to take care of invoicing.

Beyond Denmark and Norway, the partnership will see ALD Automotive and E.ON developing joint activities in Germany, Sweden and the U.K.

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The tie-up shows that Essen, Germany-based E.ON, which created waves in 2016 by selling off its traditional generation assets, sees EVs as an important future market.

In addition to ALD, E.ON has inked a deal with the Danish e-mobility company Clever, to develop a network of 48 ultra-fast electric vehicle charging stations across Denmark, Norway and Sweden by 2020.

Overall, E.ON hopes to have 180 ultra-fast chargers across Europe by 2020, each capable of delivering 400 kilometers (around 250 miles) of charge in up to 30 minutes, according to E.ON’s website .

“Building an ecosystem of partners is core to our strategy and key to electrify mobility,” said Andreas Pfeiffer, global domain head of e-mobility at E.ON, in a press release. “Bringing together the experience and excellence from different industry sectors helps us to build unique solutions for everyday needs of our customers.”

Bundling EVs with other energy offerings

Nitschke said E.ON was also planning to bundle e-mobility with its energy offerings.

“Our e-mobility solutions contain bundles and offerings with wall-box or charging stations, green energy tariffs, charging cards, installation at home and parking areas, billing [and] maintenance,” he said.

For residential customers who are planning to buy an electric vehicle, the utility will pre-install cabling along with an oversized home PV array and battery system, plus a connection to E.ON’s SolarCloud virtual energy storage service.

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E.ON’s deal with ALD is another step in an ongoing landgrab for EV charging that is increasingly pitting utilities against oil companies and other players, including automakers in the case of Tesla.

Research published last August by Wood Mackenzie (formerly GTM Research) predicted that more than 1 million public charging points will be deployed globally by 2020, while residential charging points will surpass 5 million.

Report author Timotej Gavrilovic said governments, utilities, oil companies, independents and charging technology developers are all moving into the sector, with no clear leaders at present.