Swedish utility Vattenfall will start rolling out electric vehicle (EVs) charging infrastructure in the UK next month, and said all drivers will be able to use its charge points on a pay-as-you-go basis.
The firm’s head of E-mobility, Tomas Björnsson, said an open network of chargers, available to all drivers, would enable faster adoption of EVs by alleviating range anxiety and making charging “hassle free”.
Meanwhile, he said an open model unlocks higher utilisation and returns for those that invest in charging infrastructure.
As well as installing its own chargers, the company said it will also strike roaming agreements with other charge point operators or driver service providers, a model common in northern Europe.
Vattenfall added that it is now targeting commercial developers, real-estate companies, industries, fleet owners and local authorities to install charging infrastructure.
The company has an independent DNO licence, significant wind generation, and supplies energy to both domestic and business customers, having entered the UK market a year ago. It is now scaling its EV team in the UK and said a country director will join next month.
Björnsson told The Energyst that the company would develop vehicle-to-grid services – but when the market is ready.
He said a vehicle-to-grid strategy “is something everybody needs to have in their longer-term plan”.
“EVs are not only an integration of the transport and electricity industry, but also an integration between the electricity and real estate industries. So having those integration capabilities over time is a pre-requisite to making it work,” he said.
Dynamic tariffs, common standards
In the meantime, he said there is more value in managing network constraints, with the firm planning to draw on its experience with dynamic EV charging tariffs in Amsterdam to help distribution network operators reduce peaks.
Björnsson called for industry to push towards common communications standards and protocols to drive EV uptake through better interoperability. “It won’t be an industry where [one player dominates], there will be many infrastructure and hardware providers involved,” said Björnsson, “so the more standardisation of protocols, the better it is for everyone.”
That said, Vattenfall has set it sights on being a market leader within EV charging across northern Europe, including the UK, “which means we want to grow significantly faster than the market in the next couple of years,” added Björnsson.
Key to that ambition is partnering with real estate owners in the public and private sector, where Björnsson believes its experience across northern Europe will be a key advantage in an increasingly competitive sector.
“Understanding pain points, how to commercially set up an offer and commercial partnerships is one big learning we can apply,” he suggested.