By September 19, 2017 0 Comments Read More →

French utility sees rapid growth in EV charging network

EV charging

EDF’s Sodetrel offers EV charging stations at retail locations, including IKEA as well as a along French motorways. Parkindigo.com photo.

EV charging stations along French highways tripled from last year

French utility EDF says it hopes to increase the number of docking stations and see rapid revenue increases from its EV charging network, according to a report by Reuters.

The company’s electric mobility business, Sodetrel, has seen its revenue grow by 50 per cent annually in the past three years.  Sodetrel now operates about 4,000 charging points nationwide, and most are located in public spaces.

energy eastCorri-Door, Sodetrel’s new fast-charging network along French highways reached 3,000 stations in August, up from just 1,000 in August 2016.  The company operates a high percentage of EV charging stations located on the country’s highways.  Other brands only operate a handful of stations.

Currently, Corri-Door has placed 200 fast-charging 50 kilovolt stations at 80 Km intervals at gas stations along French highways.  Drivers stopping at the stations can recharge their EVs in 20-30 minutes.

Corri-Door cost 10 million euros and is operated by Sodetrel in partnership with Renault, Nissan, BMW and Volkswagen.  It is a key link in Europe’s EV charging network.

“There are no queues at our charging stations yet, but some of them are highly utilised,” Sodetrel CEO Juliette Antoine-Simon said at an EDF strategy presentation on Tuesday.

She adds Corri-Door stations in the Paris area, as well as those located on major highways to the south, north and west were used intensively.  The company is looking to add more charging points to busy stations and is looking at offering EV chargers at new locations.

All EV car brands, including Tesla, can use Corri-Door.  Sodetrel customers also have access to about 50,000 EV charging stations located in other European countries.

The race is on for utilities competing to build the first pan-European EV charging network as the number of electric vehicles increase and governments put more regulations on gasoline and diesel burning vehicles.

France’s Engie recently bought Dutch EVBox and E.ON, a German utility, has partnered with Denmark’s CLEVER.

Concerning the possibility of building an EU-wide network, Antoine-Simon said while Sodetrel has strong ambitions, her company will only invest where it sees demand.

Sodetrel has a market share of nearly one-third of France’s public charging stations not located on major highways.  The company is looking to take over the running of charging stations from construction companies who build charging facilities as part of construction projects, but leave operations to other firms.

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