Groupe Renault has created a new subsidiary called Elexent to help other companies find solutions for charging their fleets of electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles. A branch office in France is already operational.
France is not the goal, however, as Elexent wants to operate on a European level. According to managing director Nicolas Schottey, four more branches are expected to be opened by the end of this year – especially in Germany, Great Britain and the Benelux countries.
The foundation of the new Renault subsidiary is based on the recognition that after the successes achieved in terms of cost and range of electric vehicles, there is still one major obstacle to the acceptance of electric cars: charging. “This hurdle had largely been overcome for individuals through the introduction of home charging equipment. But for company fleets, which are key to the large-scale deployment of electric vehicles, something was still missing,” says Schottey.
From Elexent’s point of view, the charging process is a complex matter and requires extensive know-how and strong coordination between different partners. The company therefore wants to offer a complete package from planning, installation and commissioning to control and maintenance. “Our purpose is to help companies establish or expand their electric vehicle fleets by providing ready-to-use charging solutions,” says managing director Nicolas Schottey. Elexent works together with Schneider Electric and Alfen for the hardware, Snef for the installation and Izivia for the service. Strategies for energy optimization and optionally also the integration of renewable energies should be explicitly in the focus of the charging solutions.
All companies with more than two planned charging stations at the site are addressed. The Renault subsidiary has founded the already active branch office in France together with Solstyce, a company specializing in charging infrastructure and renewable energies. Elexent also intends to rely on local partners for its expansion within Europe. The advantage of this is that they know the market and local regulations and speak the local language, says Schottey. According to him, the company is also already working on pan-European projects: “We are working on a franchise project with a car rental company to install charging stations at all its offices in France, as well as with an electrical distributor who wants to expand its electric vehicle fleet. We are also supporting Renault Trucks and Volvo Trucks in the launch of their range of electric trucks,” the managing director enumerates.