Large scale fast charging: Mission impossible?
Is it at all possible to fast charge when all cars become electric? Electric heaven or hell during Easter traffic? Hang on through this expert throwback to the Nordic EV Summit.
In two articles we look back on a very successful Nordic EV Summit. 720 participants, 50 speakers and 40 exhibitors from in total 33 nations all made their important contributions. In the first we summed up the different perspectives on electrification from Nissan and Audi. Today we bring an rather long extract from the session where the Norwegian EV Association´s Head of Analysis / Consultancy and conference co-chair Erik Lorentzen asked both important and challenging questions about future fast charging to Jan Haugen Ihle, CEO, Northern Europe IONITY, Rami Syväri, CEO, Fortum Charge and Drive, Ole Henrik Hannisdahl, Managing Director, Grønn Kontakt AS and Tore Harritshøj, CEO, E.ON Denmark and E-mobility Nordic. (Hereafter: JHI, RS, OHH and TH). How will public charging networks scale up to 100% electric transport the coming decades? Is it even possible? How fast will fast charging be in the coming years? What are the experiences from the Norwegian fast charging operators in the world’s most advanced EV market? How many (fast) chargers will we need in the future? Read PDF handouts from the speakers at Nordic EV Summit 2018 But first; let´s have their four brief introductions. JHI: «In November 2016 four big OEMs from Germany, Volkswagen, Daimler, BMW and Ford announced a joint venture (IONITY) to establish high power charging network to make driving around Europe with an EV possible. 350 kW charging, partner owned stations and an average of six charging outlets on each location. Our business model is to be a pure CPO (charge point operator). The customer will have an agreement with, for example, one of the OEMs or an EMP (the company that provides the service, interface and invoicing to the customer).» «Excellent. How about E.ON?» TH: «In the Danish market we just reached 1 million transactions. With only 10,000 BEVs that is actually quite good. We saw the Norwegian market, and what you have been doing up here, setting the standard for the whole world, as a market to look into. We think the solutions we provide in Denmark, Sweden and Europe also should be available in Norway. We will put up 180 fast chargers around Europe. 20 will be in Norway and 20 in Sweden. You will be able to move from Trondheim to Rome.» «Rami, you have been around for a few years in this game…» RS: «We had already been into charging for a while when we commercialized services in Fortum Charge & Drive in 2011. We started off inn Norway, Sweden and Finland providing charging services for «first movers», businesses and municipalities. We then started building infrastructure and are now the leading provider of charging services in the Nordics, running a network of more than 1,900 chargers in the region and have around 15 percent of all quick chargers in Europe. We have learned a lot from Norway and the growing mass market.» «And last, Ole Henrik!» OHH: «I have been in this business since 2009. I have been to conferences like this since 2009 and I can tell you that conferences in 2009 did not look like this. They were more or less held in a shed outside the hotel and drawing attention from about ten people (laughs from the) having visions about the future. It´s quite amazing to sit here and experience this. It´s been an interesting journey, and it´s far from finished. We´re in the middle of it. We´re starting to get some pathways to the future. So we are a one-stop-and-shop charging company. That means that own and operate our fast charging infrastructure. We invested roughly 100 MNOK into that segment last year. We will probably keep that up. As well as solutions for homes, apartment buildings, office buildings and public charging. An entire eco system. We invest because we think it´s a profitable business. We also believe strongly that it has to be profitable in order to scale.» «One of the most important learnings from Norway: We can show that charging can scale commercially. We´re essentially telling the rest of the world that if you manage the transition into EVs you will have a customer driven charging market. The good news is that in Norway there are actually customers. We can listen to them, learn from them and try to figure out their behaviour. Everything from user experience, pricing, locations. We want to be where the customer is. We don´t want the customer to come to us. We want to be inside the customer journey. And if we get this right in Norway… we try, we fail and we try again and fail some more. Eventually we get to the right way to do it. We strongly believe that what we learn here can be applicable to other countries.» «Are you already starting to make a profit in the Norwegian market?» OHH: «It´s a question of definition. If I was to run our existing network, and just run it, let´s say we just keep staff to do customer service and stop building more chargers. Yes, then we will be profitable. However, we don´t want to stop here. We want to keep growing. For that reason we´re not profitable as a company yet, because we´re still in the expansion and investment phase. But yes, actually we would be profitable if we wanted to.» «I think we´ll start the further questions with IONITY and E.ON as you are new to the Norwegian market. Where are you planning to build the new fast charging stations? In cities? Between cities?» TH: «We will build the infrastructure where the demand is, first of all. And we see that demand in destination charging is sort of covered. What we need right now is charging to connect cities and areas. The way we are entering the Norwegian market, for starters, is building the ultra fast charging stations across the Norwegian market.» «Can you see in your customer data that people in cities are actually using the nearby fast chargers instead of charging at home?» TH: «They are using it as a supplement. In the future it will shift. In the data we have seen from other markets, not being in the Norwegian market until now, there´s a shift towards using public charging more.» «How large fast charging stations are you planning to build?» TH: «The 20 stations will deploy 150 kW charging power. There will be 4-6 chargers in each location.»