Interview: Cutting-Edge E-Mobility Technology and Service Models for B2B Customers | Elke Temme, Senior Vice President eMobility, innogy SE

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Energy systems provider innogy SE is determined to actively shape the energy transition. Located all across Europe and with a new company site in the USA, innogy SE uses the current upswing in the e-mobility to create enthusiastic projects and the right framework for a sustainable energy world.

The ees International talked to Elke Temme, Senior Vice President eMobility, about her optimistic view on the e-mobility sector’s development and innogy’s business model.

Elke Temme, Senior Vice President eMobility, innogy SE

ees International: In your opinion, what are the opportunities for your company in the field of e-mobility and charging infrastructure?

The opportunities are fantastic: e-mobility is gaining in importance throughout the world. This can be seen on the numerous initiatives in various European markets, whether through announcements of companies involved or state incentive programmes. This optimism can also be perceived in the USA, where we have launched a subsidiary this year: the huge number of electric cars and the infrastructure in California bear witness to this. This growing market is very attractive to us in many ways, which is why we are determined to promote e-mobility through our solutions and services and to pave the way for its lasting success.

ees International: Could you briefly explain the benefits of your product/your products/your offer?

For an energy company it may not seem to be an obvious positioning but we offer our customers cutting-edge technology and thus a diversified portfolio of solutions and also services. In addition to our varied hardware portfolio, the focus is placed on our software-as-a-service-solution (saas). This solution makes it possible for the charging infrastructure to be integrated into the daily live, to monitor it and to provide users with a suitable service – whether through innogy itself or through a white-label solution.  We cover the complete spectrum. Solutions for B2C customers, from charging at home to a contract for charging on the road with the fairest of all billing methods: billing only for kilowatt hours actually used and based on authorisation from the German Federal Office for Calibration.
In the B2B segment, we are our customers’ partner: we advice, plan, install and operate their charging stations and provide the maintenance service – everything from one provider. We use our competence in energy for rendering additional services. Through our load management we guarantee a consistent utilisation of the company electricity network, the predominant use of electricity from renewable sources and the consideration of individual charging preferences: The electric car of an employee working the whole day in the office does not need to be charged as quickly as the electric car of a salesperson, who is on the road most of the time and needs to charge his car in between two appointments.

ees International: Who are your customer target groups?

Unfortunately, in many countries the expansion of electric cars has not progressed very rapidly in the private customer segment. For this reason we are currently concentrating on the corporate customer segment. In addition to strategic partnerships with automobile manufacturers, as for example Daimler, we have been able to win many other customers. In the field of fast charging, we are working on setting up a transit network in cooperation with Tank&Rast, a German autobahn services firm, throughout Germany. Furthermore, we are building up the infrastructure for Aldi Süd and we are integrating solar PV systems on the store roofs of Aldi Süd, just to name a few examples.

However, our solutions are not only targeted at large corporate customers. Medium-sized companies, craft enterprises and smaller businesses are also interested in our comprehensive product range. They have to deal with this topic and thus need a partner like innogy, who can look back on a decade of experience. In many areas we have a competitive edge, which we want to retain and to expand through further innovations.

ees International: Which partnerships and networks do you regard as helpful when it comes to marketing?

When it comes to mobility, the first group that springs to mind are the automobile manufacturers, and this is why they are of great importance to us. However, we are also trying to form partnerships in other sectors and make use of our networks. Our subsidiaries in Europe and the USA use our offer in their respective markets and adapt the solutions in line with market requirements. This is where networks are also important, namely in order to be able to understand and implement regulatory and customer requirements. Standardisation bodies are an essential partner in this. We fully bank on international standards and open system landscapes.

ees International: What is your USP?

The customer is the central focus of our solution. Customer focus is more than mere rhetoric. Every day, we strive to optimize our solutions for the users and to offer operative excellence. This is what motivates me and our team and the result is thoroughly positive: a user-friendly comprehensive system of software and hardware, which is in the operative system available more than 99 % of the time, including functionalities like ISO15118 (plug and charge), billing only for kilowatt hours used (in accordance with German calibration standards as well as a dynamic load management.

ees International: How does your payment system work? Or do you offer different systems? If so, where is the difference between them and why does such a diversified offer make sense to you?

Here again, we concentrate on the customer focus. All different methods of payment have to be available, from a car electricity contract to direct payment by e.g. credit card or Paypal at the charging point itself. This is where the preferences of customers in different markets diverge. But we believe that they all have something in common: the customers only want to be charged for those kilowatt hours of green power which they actually use. This is what we do despite high calibration requirements and here we are a leading player.

ees International: How do your services become a business model?

Well, I have already described our comprehensive range: leading technology, which we offer to a broad and international customer group. Economies of scale help to offer the customer competitive prices. It is possible to minimize investment costs through our saas-offer and its operation as a service, and at the same time to reduce the time-to-market considerably. In a nutshell: Our B2B customers benefit from our business model and many years of experience and know-how – it’s a win-win situation.

ees International: Which national markets are relevant to you, in the short and medium term?

Germany, as our home market, is of course extremely important to us, but with our loading infrastructure, we are present in 20 countries. In European countries like the UK, the Netherlands or the Czech Republic, in which we have operating subsidiaries, we are automatically present and offer our solutions. We think it is essential to position the company throughout Europe, as mobility doesn’t stop at national borders.

This year we have also ventured across the Atlantic and set up our subsidiary in the USA, where we see a special dynamism and the sheer size of the market is of course also very interesting. In the medium-term we would also like to take a leading position in the US-market, like in Europe, and are delighted about first successful customer projects.

ees International: If you had one wish: which obstacle to marketing would you like to immediately eliminate, or which legal framework conditions would you like to change instantly?

I myself am an avid driver of an electric car and don’t want to do without it anymore in everyday life. I would very much like this experience to be available to a large customer group and look forward to first volume models of fully electric vehicles, which have been announced for the next few years. The faster these vehicles enter the market, the faster the market will develop. Until then we are concerned with the creation of a suitable charging infrastructure, so that the electric mobility experience is a positive one for everybody. However, sometimes we also encounter bureaucratic obstacles. At the same time we see the willingness of all market participants to overcome these and promote electric mobility.

ees International: You will be an exhibitor at the Power2Drive Europe, taking place from 20-22 June 2018 in Munich under the umbrella of The Smarter E Europe. In what way do you think you will benefit from this?

We are looking forward to presenting our comprehensive portfolio of solutions at the Power2DriveEurope so that we can convince potential customers of our promise to deliver. PV-systems, battery storage, charging infrastructure and energy management: Everything has to work together and has to be fully integrated.

The contact to international potential customers, existing customers and market participants is very important to us. We would like to understand which challenges our customers have to face and how we can help them with optimal technology and service models. I would like to invite everybody who is interested to come to our stand and visit the innogy world. We are looking forward to meeting you there!

Elke Temme, Senior Vice President eMobility, innogy SE

Interviewed by
Sabine Kloos, Editor in Chief, ees International

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