Giovanni Palazzo wants to bring Elli and Electrify America closer together
Giovanni Palazzo has been in charge of the Volkswagen Group’s global charging infrastructure and energy business since 1 July. In addition to the charging services under the Elli and Electrify America brands, he will increasingly focus on solutions for load distribution, energy market optimisation and energy trading.
Giovanni’s predecessor Elke Temme resigned from her position in February with immediate effect. Giovanni Palazzo, the former President and CEO of the North American fast-charging network Electrify America, has now taken over the reins. Palazzo held the position since 2018 and worked for the Volkswagen Group for seven years before joining Electrify America, most recently as head of electric mobility strategy. Earlier in his career, he held positions at Mercedes-Benz and Daimler AG. Palazzo was succeeded at Electrify America on 1 June by Rob Barrosa as the new President and CEO.
According to a Volkswagen statement, Palazzo will focus on expanding the fast charging network and the development of the company’s own smart energy platform. Elli and Electrify America should also cooperate more closely and roll out new business models internationally. In addition, the division will strengthen cooperation with the Group’s brands and intensify proximity to private and fleet customers.
Volkswagen created the Charging and Energy business field at the turn of 2020/2021 and placed it under Volkswagen Group Components. The intention was, and still is, to bundle the Group’s global activities in charging infrastructure and energy services. The Group published an interim report on its charging infrastructure expansion at the beginning of the year.
“Volkswagen Group can build on the expertise of its brands in the field of charging and energy, in particular Electrify America – the largest open charging network in the US – and Elli, which is already the largest mobility service provider in Europe,” says Palazzo. “We want to further expand this expertise along the entire value chain and verticalise the energy management business, which will be an important revenue driver in the future. This is based on a new strategic orientation, new business models and closer cooperation within the division as well as with Volkswagen Group’s brands.”
Giovanni wants to expand the strategic direction towards innovative solutions around load distribution, energy market optimisation and energy trading. For example, the Volkswagen Group plans to launch the first smart charging management services for fleet customers from 2024. In North America, Electrify America already offers charging and energy services such as public charging, green energy, and energy management. The company wants to anchor the EVs as an intelligent consumer and power bank in the power grid, thus contributing to the future’s energy system. In other words, VW wants to push further into the V2G sector.
“We recognised early on that charging and energy is one of the most important future fields for the ramp-up of electric mobility and the energy transition. It is therefore crucial to develop our own products and services along the entire value chain and to conclude strategic partnerships in the energy sector,” says Thomas Schmall, Member of the Volkswagen Group Board of Management responsible for Technology and CEO of Volkswagen Group Technology. “With Giovanni Palazzo, we now have an excellent industry expert and a modern leader in our team who will strengthen the Group’s competencies in the energy transition. As an internationally experienced manager, he has the skills to drive global cooperations and innovation partnerships.”
With its partners, Volkswagen intends to establish more than 43,000 fast charging points in Europe, China and North America by 2025. In North America alone, the fast-charging network under the direction of Electrify America is to double to 8,000 charging points by then. In China, the joint venture CAMS is targeting 17,000 fast charging points by 2025. Volkswagen does not specify a concrete target for Europe in its communication. However, the order of magnitude can be calculated: Around 18,000 fast-charging points remain for Europe, according to the information just provided.