The company views itself more and more as an infrastructure supplier and is pushing forward themes relevant to the whole of society such as smart city and district development and, naturally, electromobility.
The company has had to clearly position itself in order to be ready to face the important themes of the future. “Our engagement in electromobility comes from the deepest conviction,” says Dr. Frank Mastiaux, Chief Executive Officer of EnBW. “This sector is just as important to us as the expansion of renewable energies.”
EnBW and its subsidiary Netze BW cover the most important parts of the value added chain for e-mobility: Netze BW provides the electricity grids and storage solutions, while EnBW generates electricity from renewable energy sources and is further expanding the charging infrastructure – while offering corresponding products and services to the commercial sector, local authorities and private consumers. “For example, we offer our business customers full e-mobility packages for the operation of their vehicle fleets or we can connect the photovoltaic power plant on the roof of a private customer’s house with an electricity storage system and their electric car,” explains Timo Sillober, Head of Sales at EnBW. This means that the customer uses their own electricity generated from solar energy to operate their car.
EnBW combines its services in the area of electromobility in the EnBW mobility+ product family. “We have brought together everything you need to be electrically mobile,” explains Sillober, describing the concept behind the product family. This includes so-called wallboxes (compact charging stations for installation at home, for example in the garage), charging infrastructure while out and about and digital services such as the EnBW mobility+ app that enables users to charge at stations not operated by EnBW.
The decisive factor for achieving more widespread use of electromobility is the development and expansion of corresponding infrastructure. The task for Netze BW is to bring the charging electricity to where it is needed: on the motorway, in the city, in the countryside and at home. EnBW is in turn tasked with operating the required charging stations at these locations. This results in a clear mandate for the company that Head of Sales, Timo Sillober, expresses as follows: “We want to make our contribution to ensuring that people can set off in their electric cars without having to worry about the distance they can travel or the charging opportunities available to them. In addition, we will combine individual solutions to create new applications so that our customers will be able, for example, to use their own solar electricity generated at home to charge their e-car when they are on the road.”
EnBW already assumed a pioneering role in the area of charging infrastructure many years ago. The company began installing charging stations for electric vehicles in Stuttgart in 2012 and has since supplied electricity to the largest fleet of electric vehicles in a major city. No wonder then that Stuttgart is considered the city with the best conditions for electromobility across Germany according to a study carried out by the consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.
The Services Division at the subsidiary Netzte BW is responsible for installing the individual charging stations for EnBW. Netze BW has a high level of expertise in the planning, installation and operation of critical infrastructure and has become an expert in charging infrastructure. “We have aligned our services to the new requirements of modern mobility and drivers of electric cars can rely on the fact that they will be able to charge their vehicles from Munich to Hamburg,” explains Axel Hausen, Head of Product Management at Netze BW, Services Division.
Product development, sales and managing the development of the charging infrastructure – as well as its operation and maintenance – is, on the other hand, the responsibility of EnBW. “Our main focus is currently the expansion and operation of quick-charging stations,” says Marc Burgstahler, Head of Electromobility at EnBW, describing the current activities of the company in this area. In comparison to conventional AC charging stations (alternating current), DC charging stations (direct current) allow a significantly quicker charging process. This means that customers can, for example, charge their vehicle with enough electricity to cover a distance of around 100 kilometres in just 3 minutes at DC charging stations with a charging capacity of 300 kilowatts (so-called “high power chargers”). EnBW is one of the market leaders for the operation of quick-charging stations in Germany with currently more than 130 quick-charging stations, primarily at motorway service stations and in urban areas. And it has ambitious targets: “We aim to operate 1,000 quick-charging stations across Germany by the end of 2020,” explains Burgstahler. EnBW is cooperating with partners such as OMV, Tank & Rast and hagebau.
SAFE – the electrical charging network for Baden-Württemberg – provides comprehensive infrastructure
The State of Baden-Württemberg – often dubbed the automobile state – believes that it has a special obligation to help electromobility make the breakthrough and thus pave the way for environmentally friendly mobility. As part of the funding programme to establish a core charging network for electric vehicles covering the whole of Baden-Württemberg (SAFE), a consortium consisting of 74 municipal utilities and regional suppliers as well as three local authorities under the leadership of EnBW has developed a closely meshed network of charging stations in the past few months.
Drivers of e-vehicles in Baden-Württemberg will already have access this year to a charging station with a charging capacity of at least 22 kilowatts in a grid with a mesh size of 10 by 10 kilometres from any location. In a grid with a mesh size of 20 by 20 kilometres, there will also be at least one quick-charging station with 50 kilowatts of charging capacity.
Stable electricity grids are a basic requirement for the reliable charging of e-cars. It is not the volume of electricity that is the issue but the peak loads that occur when lots of vehicles are being charged at the same time. This is because the grid can only remain stable when the same volume of electricity is being fed into it as is being extracted. Therefore, it is vital for electricity grid operators such as Netze BW to take suitable measures to adapt the supply to the requirements of electromobility early enough, so that they are ready to anticipate peaks in demand. Against this background, Netze BW is investing around 500 million euros in the expansion of its electricity distribution grid up to 2025 so that it can cope with the increased demand. Ultimately, a stable electricity grid is worth every cent.
EnBW has not only taken on a leadership role as part of the SAFE funding programme, the company and its subsidiary Netze BW are also actively involved in a series of other initiatives for the further development of e-mobility.
As early as the summer of 2017, Netze BW was the first energy company to join the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA). Since the turn of the year 2018 / 2019, Netze BW has also been a member of the Research Association of Automotive Technology (FAT) in the VDA and contributes to the discussion from its perspective as a grid operator.
In addition, EnBW is also involved in the Strategy Dialogue for the Automotive Sector in Baden-Württemberg, which was founded by the state government in 2017 and has representatives from the worlds of politics, business, science and civil society. The Managing Director of Netze BW GmbH, Dr. Martin Konermann, is Co-Chairman of the “Energy” steering group, while Timo Sillober is a member of the Advisory Board of e-mobil BW. The State Agency for New Mobility Solutions and Automotive Baden-Württemberg is responsible for the various themes covered by the strategy dialogue.
Whether electromobility is fit for everyday life is best demonstrated by how easily and intuitively it can be accessed by users. “Our EnBW mobility+ app has established itself as a kind of smart guide in this respect,” says Christoph Ulusoy, Head of Product Development and Digital Solutions at EnBW. “The free app offers drivers of electric vehicles everything they need: an almost seamless overview of the available charging stations, full transparency with respect to tariffs and convenient payment functions. All of this makes the award-winning application the most downloaded app in the area of electromobility in Germany.”
The app ...
- ... is linked to around 25,000 charging stations from various operators in Germany, Austria and Switzerland – currently the largest charging network (as of January 2019) – and provides an overview in map form.
- ... indicates whether a charging station is free or occupied and guides the driver directly to the nearest place they can charge.
- ... enables EnBW customers to charge their vehicles at more than 90 percent of all publicly accessible charging stations – the highest network coverage in Germany, Austria and Switzerland – and pay directly.
- ... is also suitable for drivers of electric cars that are not customers of EnBW for locating free charging stations, showing them the way and checking the payment options.
- ... offers simple, understandable tariffs. Instead of the standard time-based pricing models, EnBW wants to offer precise consumption-based billing that is independent of the model of electric car. Since 1 March 2019, the company has been billing solely on the basis of the electricity that has actually been used during charging – to the precise kilowatt hour. This means that it bills at one uniform tariff across all stations in the roaming network.
- ... has an integrated driving simulator that can also be used by drivers of cars with a combustion engine to find out what e-car would best suit their own driving habits.
The EnBW mobility+ app is further confirmation of the pioneering role that the company is playing in the expansion of electromobility.