“Vehicle-to-grid makes real sense in fleet environments” Charlie Jardine, CEO and Founder EO Charging
With the electric vehicle charging market growing exponentially, the British company EO Charging caught our attention as a highly ambitious, globally expanding player. We talked to its CEO and Founder to find out more about the company’s vision and strategy, which also includes smart grid applications for fleets.
Mr Jardine, why did you create EO Charging?
CJ: “I previously worked for another UK-based charging station manufacturer and in 2015 decided to start my own business – I saw massive potential for the EV industry! I was convinced there was a better and more reliable way of charging EVs so I set up EO Charging. Our vision was to create smart charging stations for homes, fleets and destinations - both the hardware and the entire software platform.”
How important is the fleet market for EO Charging?
CJ: “Fleets sit at the heart of our business. Since the business was founded, we’ve worked closely with fleet managers to ensure our product development is aligned with what they actually need in terms of charging functionality – both hardware and software. In-depth user research has enabled us to secure some high-profile fleet partnerships with Uber, Sainsbury’s and Addison Lee (just to name a few). Today, we mainly install chargers at depots or on the company’s premises, but we’re seeing a growing interest in home charging for employees. We want to make things as easy as possible for fleet managers, offering a holistic approach to charging electric vehicles.”
Do you have partnerships with OEMs?
CJ: “In the UK, we have a partnership with Arrival, a leading manufacturer of electric trucks and vans. We also partner with BD Auto, a relatively young company that converts Fiat Ducatos and Renault Traffics to electric vans. We’re also working closely with Voltia, a European-wide company that specialises in converting the electric Nissan e-NV200 for urban deliveries. Gnewt Cargo, operators of the UK’s largest fully electric final mile delivery fleet, has a number currently in use – of course, all powered by EO chargers.”
Do you offer both AC chargers and DC fast chargers?
CJ: “We only have AC solutions in our charging portfolio, but we’re currently integrating a number of DC fast charging solutions onto our cloud platform. Fleet charging requirements are evolving and there’s often a need for both AC and DC charging at depots. The DC solutions we use come from Tritium, a leading producer of ultra-fast DC charging units.”
What about bi-directional charging a.k.a. vehicle-to-grid (V2G)?
CJ: “EO Charging, in a consortium with EDF Energy and Arrival, won £4.4 million pounds in funding last year to build an AC V2G 22kW charging station for fleets. The project is well underway and at the end of 2019, we will be installing 100 bi-directional charging stations for Royal Mail, UPS, Oxford City Council and a few others. We believe vehicle-to-grid makes real sense in a fleet environment because of the predictability around vehicle dwell time and known mileage. If you have those two factors, optimising charging to get real commercial value out of V2G could be quite interesting. That’s an integral part of the project: building out the commercial case and understanding the numbers.“
What can we expect from EO Charging in the medium term?
CJ: “We’re currently working on a couple of interesting projects with some well-known fleet operators. My ambition is to provide a strong, compelling fleet charging offering across the world. As large fleets are realising their ambitions to go electric, they need a reliable charging partner that can deliver the same service, the same experience and the same technology in each of the markets they have business operations. At EO, we’ve built a network of distribution partners in over 30 countries around the world. Wherever we operate in the world, we aim to provide the same level of service.“
Picture copyright: EO Charging, 2019