Uniper aims to deploy 1,300 mobile fast-charging units

A new initiative from utility Uniper envisions a network of mobile, that is grid-independent, fast-chargers deployed throughout cluster regions. The firm revealed a few details ahead of the launch such as the stations serving as charging units where required as well as energy storage when clustered together at depots.

Technologically, Uniper says the charging stations are to deliver 150 kW, all without being connected to the grid. Instead, the mobile energy storage units recharge at central hubs in medium-voltage range areas, that is at locations where the network is highly developed, such as transformer stations or power plants. There the units also double as grid balancing devices if not needed elsewhere.

The project is set to launch in a few days at the E-world 2020 trade fair. In an interview with Energate, the project leaders provided further details, however. Uniper sees the mobile chargers located primarily in ten cluster areas, regions such as Berlin, Munich or the Ruhr area. When deployed, the charging station can deliver where there is a need for fast-charging but no sufficient grid connection. This not only goes for charging electric cars but also for providing electricity at concerts and events.

Uniper calls the idea “Infrastructure-as-a-Service” and claims “the offer can be implemented in less than 24 hours and this throughout Europe”. While qualification has yet to be received, Uniper says pilots are planned and sees companies with several locations and places in public space as partners. “These include petrol stations, supermarket or restaurant chains. But we also have municipal utilities in our sights as partners,” project manager Cabezas Jimenez said.

And Uniper already has a pricing structure. Explains Jimenez: “There are three revenue streams. One of them is energy sales. Related to this are the installation and rental fees. (…) The starting price for renting is about 50 euros per day for a charging station. The second revenue stream is the marketing of the charging points as advertising space. Here the customer can provide the charging station with a logo, but also market it to other interested parties. Marketing on the control energy market is the third revenue stream, but not the main source of income for the charging points. It is more for optimisation purposes so that the batteries have income even if no electric car is charged with them.”

The first pilots are scheduled for late 2020 in Germany. Uniper beholds to want to deploy up to 1,300 of the mobile fast-charging units by 2024. It is unclear which capacity they hold, but each unit is about the size of a telephone booth. Uniper has not disclosed its technical partners either.

Mobile charging units are not entirely new. San Francisco start-up FreeWire has convinced investors like BP Ventures and Volvo already in 2018 as reported. Also VW recently announced the deployment of mobile charging, or say energy storage units.

energate-messenger.de (original interview, in German)


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