Charge4Europe (C4E), a joint venture between innogy eMobility Solutions and DKV Euro Service, is setting up the largest independent roaming network to help create an interoperable service for electric vehicle charging across Europe. We interviewed C4E company directors Christopher Schäckermann (36, DKV) and Diego Ramirez-Gölz (32, innogy) about what the young company is working on right now and how its roadmap for the future looks.
The two of you have headed up Charge4Europe since the beginning of the year. What’s the thinking behind the joint venture?
Ramirez-Gölz: Charge4Europe is a joint venture between DKV Euro Service and innogy eMobility Solutions, with each company holding a 50% stake. Together with DKV, we’re currently laying the foundation to ensure our successful market entry as a pan-European charging network provider. Both companies are leaders in their respective fields. DKV is a leading mobility service provider for the logistics sector, transportation industry, and fleet operators, while innogy eMobility Solutions is a leading technology provider for E-Mobility. At Charge4Europe, we bring these skills under one umbrella.
Schäckermann: The benefits are clear. As the biggest provider of E-Mobility infrastructure, we’ll be able to offer a brand-independent, Europe-wide network of public charging points. To do this, we’re supplying our customers – primarily charging station operators and E-Mobility service providers – with a technical platform. This will help make charging and billing processes run smoothly, and will be available from a single source across different networks throughout Europe.
Who are your customers and how they will benefit from the roaming network and your nascent partnership?
Schäckermann: We’re right there in the background focusing on charging station operators – we’re working to attract these operators as customers in our capacity as a technical E-Mobility service provider. Our parent companies, innogy and DKV, will offer our pan-European charging network to their customers as a service or offer them a white label technology solution. In that context, our service will help the charging station operators in particular to market their charging networks more effectively and with greater reach. E-Mobility service providers will also benefit from expanded access to charging stations and a much simpler, more streamlined billing process for their end customers without the complexity created by different currencies – for instance, for company fleets. Charge4Europe will bundle the charging services together, giving innogy and DKV (in their roles as EMPs) a billing process that’s simplified to the level of a single invoice – in compliance with legal requirements with notifications of VAT charged for all countries.
Charge4Europe was founded in December 2018 What’s happened since then?
Ramirez-Gölz: We’ve already accomplished a great deal – and in the scheme of things, we’re still just getting started. It feels like a start-up with two strong companies in the background that have big ambitions around E-Mobility. Since we started up, we’ve been focused on two areas. First, we’ve further expanded our network of partners. The first step here is to increase our visibility in the market, allowing us to get charging station operators on board – DKV is the main party pressing ahead on that front. In mid-June, we were able to agree to our first major partnership with e-roaming platform Hubject. And second, we’re working together with innogy eMobility Solutions to further develop our roaming platform.
What’s the way forward for the rest of 2019?
Ramirez-Gölz: In line with our go-to-market strategy, the plans are for DKV and innogy to get started with our customer acquisition activities in the key markets and gradually build out our charging network. In our ongoing market development, platforms like Hubject will be important partners for us as we establish and expand our network. In addition, charging station operators are going to be gradually switched over to our roaming platform. This year, the first charging station operators will be migrated onto our platform via what we call “direct connections”. We’re currently finalizing our first contracts with charging station operators in Germany and the Netherlands to make this a reality.
Schäckermann: We’ll also be constantly improving our processes so that we’re ready for the platform to scale up. Lastly, as Charge4Europe, we want to make it easier to charge electric vehicles using our platform. That way, we can ensure that E-Mobility service providers and charging station operators find a way around the current complexity in a fragmented European EV market and can do their part to advance the transition to sustainable transportation.