November 01, 2019 08:59 CET

Electric Vehicles: Powered by Vattenfall & IoT

EV charging stations powered by IoT

Electric mobility is expanding at an astonishing rate: Electric Vehicle (EV) sales are expected to hit 8.4 million by 2025, while sales of Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEV) are predicted to reach more than 25 million vehicles – or 23% of global sales. This dramatic shift away from fossil-fuel driven vehicles means a growing need for easily available charging points, as well as preparation for the further changes yet to come. Vattenfall has been not just laying the groundwork but actively expanding its network of charging points for much of the past decade – and they’re not stopping any time soon.

Electric vehicles were first seen on the roads as early as the 1830s but despite their popularity with consumers a combination of factors, including Henry Ford introducing mass production and the discovery of Texas crude oil, made gasoline-powered cars the norm.

The case at a glance

Company: Vattenfall

Region: Europe

Sector: Electric charging stations

Challenge: Connect EV charging stations across Europe

Solution: Tele2 IoT cellular connectivity; 2CONTROL

Result: Connected charging stations in cities across Europe; remote monitoring and identifying unusual consumption patterns or interruptions in the connection

It wasn’t until the late 1990s that the modern push for electric vehicles started to take off, with the first mass-produced hybrid electric car, the Prius, hitting the Japanese market in 1997 and going global in 2000. By the time Tesla came on the scene in 2006, the market was primed for electric and hybrid options.

Vattenfall’s Electric Vehicle Commitment

With nearly 100 thousand electric vehicles registered across Europe during Q2 2019 alone, it’s obvious that those cars need to be powered – and consumers as well as transport and fleet enterprises need an easy, convenient way to ‘fuel up’.

Vattenfall, one of Europe’s largest electricity providers, is always on the lookout for future trends. About ten years ago, when the first EVs slowly started to appear, the company saw a great opportunity – and in 2009 installed its first charging station in Amsterdam.

“At that point in time the charging point was like a wall socket with a key to gain access,” explains Basten De Jonge, Chargepoint Engineer, Vattenfall. “Today, we have about 2500 charging stations in Amsterdam alone, with more than 5000 charging sockets.

“Ten years ago, we made a big commitment to providing connected charge points for electric vehicles to Europe.  We currently have about 15 000 across Europe and are putting more than 180 stations in the ground each month. Our target is to become a top three player in e-mobility.”

Connecting Electric Charging Stations

It’s Tele2 IoT connectivity that makes Vattenfall’s charging stations work, and it’s 2CONTROL (Cisco Jasper) that allows them to monitor the stations. Vattenfall is also developing their own state-of-the-art backend solution, which is hardware supplier agnostic.

 

We happily rely on Tele2 IoT in regard to our communications. The ability to connect and communicate with our charging stations over the air is a great opportunity for us and it’s what makes everything work in our solution.

“With 2CONTROL we can identify a lot of issues, such as unusual consumption patterns or interruptions in the connection,” explains De Jong. “By identifying these issues, we can contact, for example, our hardware supplier and identify things like a lot of switching on the network – and then we can fix the problem. The level of integration is in an infant state and we’re still developing it – but we see the value of 2CONTROL and it’s on our roadmap.”

All Vattenfall InCharge public charging stations charge by kWh via the Vattenfall InCharge App or InCharge Card. This makes it simple and easy to charge your car on the go, because you not only can find where a charging station is located but also whether it’s free and even where competitor’s stations are located.

 

Electric Vehicles & Sustainability

Electric and hybrid vehicles are a response to growing concerns about the wellbeing of our planet. So, in regard to sustainability, the energy used to supply Vattenfall’s charge points across Europe is 100% clean. De Jonge says Vattenfall’s commitment to sustainability isn’t negotiable.

“While there is a difference between the regular energy mix (of which the majority is already fossil-free), when it comes to our charging stations there is no discussion: it’s the cleanest option you can get to drive your’ electric car and is 100% fossil-free, using a combination of energy sources such as wind, hydro, and solar. We are committed to being ahead of the curve, because it means we’re creating new opportunities in this area.

“We went from one charging station in one city to 15 thousand across Europe in ten years. Now we have five years left to reach our goals. The numbers are kind of absurd, but the winds of change are here. Doing this is a testament to not just our commitment but also our ability to look to the future and then make it happen.”