Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Innogy brings smart EV charging to USA

Steve Rogerson
July 18, 2017

German energy company Innogy SE is bringing smart technology to the American electric vehicle charging market through a subsidiary in California.
Innogy SE is a subsidiary of the German energy utility RWE and was created in April 2016 when the renewable, network and retail businesses of RWE were split into a separate entity. Car maker Daimler and RWE are running a joint electric car and charging station test project in Berlin in which Daimler plans to deploy a fleet of more than 100 cars powered by lithium ion batteries.
The US subsidiary is targeting the e-mobility market. Trading under the name Innogy E-Mobility, it is based in Los Angeles and will focus on California and other US states that have stipulated zero-emission requirements for new vehicles. Cameron Funk is to manage the subsidiary as its first CEO. His previous role was director of business development for ABM Industries.
“I am delighted that in Cameron Funk we have gained a pioneer in the American e-mobility industry,” said Martin Herrmann, COO of retail at Innogy SE. “With his outstanding body of work, network in the industry and comprehensive experience, he will be leading our business in the US market.”
As one of the founding members of the EVCA (Electric Vehicle Charging Association), Funk has contributed to the progress of electric mobility in the USA. He is experienced in developing EV charging programmes for major OEM car makers including an extensive public infrastructure EV charging background.
“I am excited to be given this opportunity to help shape Innogy’s entry into the e-mobility market in the USA as a representative of one of the top players in Europe,” said Funk. “We have the right products and an excellent, highly motivated team, which will enable us to build a successful future in the USA.”
Partnering in the subsidiary is California-based BTC Power, a hardware company for high-speed charging systems, which have been upgraded with an increased range of functions thanks to the IT system from Germany. BTC Power (Broadband TelCom Power) was founded in 1999 to commercialise its proprietary flat matrix transformer technology by developing power supplies and converters for the telecoms and internet infrastructure market.
“We are firm believers in the future of electric mobility,” said Peter Terium, CEO of Innogy SE. “For this reason, Innogy is working constantly to drive forward the expansion of clean, climate-friendly mobility. In Germany, we are already the leader in terms of number of charging points. Now we want to continue this success in the USA. For there too, electric mobility and climate protection are a mega-topic for many states and big cities, and we have the innovative solutions for tomorrow’s traffic.”
The subsidiary’s portfolio spans the length of the value chain, from the production, marketing, supply and construction of charging up to the operation of charging infrastructure based on its in-house software. Innogy also markets a range of additional services in connection with e-vehicle electricity.
Innogy’s software has been integrated with BTC Power’s hardware and the first charging points are working. For example, customers visiting the Clayton location of Commerce Bank, a Missouri-based, $25.3bn regional bank, have access its electric vehicle charging technology.
This smart networking lets all charging procedures be managed and coordinated to avoid load peaks. And electricity generated from renewable energy can be harmonised with electricity sales.
Load management has also been an important aspect of Innogy’s research. For example, the company has had a partnership with the University of California in San Diego since 2015. The main focus of this research is on how to harmonise electricity sales from renewable sources with regard to electric vehicle consumption.
There are 26 charging points offering green electricity that is generated on the campus, which can charge the batteries of several smart Fortwo electric drive cars. The goal of the project is to harmonise electricity use with renewable energy generation through innovative charging management.
Innogy has around 5800 EV charging points, making it one of the leading operators of charging infrastructure in Europe. In Germany, the company has partnered with more than 150 municipal utilities to establish a large interconnected charging network.
This month, it gained UL certification for the American market. The certificate is a basic prerequisite for Innogy to sell products in the USA.
UL – Underwriters Laboratories – independently and comprehensively tested Innogy’s charging points, which have been modified for the USA. The main focus was on electrical safety, fire protection, usability and customer friendliness.
"UL approval is a significant step and opens the door to one of the world’s most attractive markets for electromobility worldwide,” said Elke Temme, head of electromobility operations at Innogy. “States like California are the trailblazers of a stricter climate-protection policy. The interest in emission-free driving is thus huge."