Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

E.ON creates EV charging unit, invests in Kite Power

William Payne
January 5, 2017
 
German electricity supply company E.ON has created a new unit to push the development of electric vehicle charging across Europe. In a separate move, the company has also invested in British off-shore airborne wind power start-up, Kite Power Solutions.

E.ON's new electric vehicle (EV) charging unit will develop a range of services for electric vehicle owners. As part of this plan, E.ON will secure locations for charging stations where it can install and operate charging technology. E.ON will offer the customer tailor-made products such as an opportunity to charge with green electricity or a flat rate that provides for unlimited mobility. 

In a statement, the company says that its new unit will join together with major partners in implementing this concept. The company says that discussions and tests are currently already underway.

"We firmly believe,” says Karsten Wildberger, a member of the E.ON management board, “in the future of e-mobility and the related potential for growth. By virtue of our core strengths and experiences we are in an excellent position to succeed in the growing field of e-mobility. We aim to making e-mobility as convenient as possible for our customers."

In Denmark, one of the more advanced e-mobility markets in Europe, E.ON operates around 2,500 charging points and, with 300.000 charging transactions expected by the end of 2016, is the market leader in that country. Based on the data about customer behaviour E.ON develops services and pricing models for further markets. 

In October, E.ON started setting up charging networks in Britain and Sweden, and began offering municipalities as well as individual customers a variety of e-mobility products such as charging systems and pricing plans. In partnership with the platform, e-clearing.net, drivers of electric cars can already have access a live-view of charging stations via their navigation systems.

In addition, E.ON is offering companies and municipalities in Germany innovative charging stations for either sale or lease. E.ON supports these customers applying for subsidies with regard to German government's new Charging Station Subsidy Directive, which is expected to go into effect in January.

E.ON is also switching its own vehicle fleet to electric. The first step will be to gradually convert the existing German network fleet, which consists of 4,500 cars and commercial vehicles. 150 vehicles have already been procured during the past few months. Other parts of the company are set to follow.

The company has also made an investment in British start-up Kite Power Solutions (KPS). The company has developed high-altitude wind power generation technology. Instead of a rotor, KPS’s technology is harvesting wind by using a sail comparable to kite surfing in altitudes up to 450 meters.

E.ON believes that the potential is to transform the global offshore wind generation market as the system is cheaper to manufacture and easier to deploy and maintain than conventional wind turbines. The cost potentially is so low that kite power generation would not need government incentives. Additionally it can be deployed in waters deeper than 40 metres found offshore of countries such as Portugal, Japan and the United States. Kite power systems can also be deployed onshore.

This latest investment will support KPS’s plans to deploy a 500 kilowatt power system at West Freugh, Stranraer in Southwest Scotland next year, leading to an onshore demonstration array of multiple 500 kilowatt systems within the next four years. Thereafter, KPS will develop a 3 megawatt onshore system and then deploy a similar sized power system in offshore waters.

“E.ON has been looking into airborne wind technologies for five years. It supports one of our overall targets to drive down the costs for renewable energy. In addition to this, we catch the opportunity to be a first mover in producing renewable energy at locations where it is for economic and technical reasons not possible today.” said Frank Meyer, Senior Vice President B2C & Innovation at E.ON.