Volkswagen starts energy trading on EPEX Spot
Volkswagen and its energy business Elli started trading on Europe’s largest power exchange, EPEX Spot, today. At the heart of its electricity trade is the so-called PowerCenter made of e-up! batteries and controlled by a new trading platform from Elli.
As for now, the trade is happening in Germany. Kora Töpfer, Head of Public & Regulatory Affairs at EPEX Spot, welcomed the Volkswagen Group and Elli “as the first automotive company to trade with us on the German electricity market.” The electricity exchange needed companies that “want to get involved in trading and control the growth of renewable energies with us to compensate for fluctuating demand and energy supply,” said Töpfer.
Energy trading is an automated business and comes down to seconds, so Elli’s platform places bids automatically on the stock exchange. The trading logic is to buy electricity at low prices – Volkswagen puts the “tendency towards a high share of renewables” in brackets – and to sell excess energy at high prices. The results are revenues and better use of renewable energies, explains Elli.
The effective use of power from renewables also requires energy storage. Elli’s current ‘PowerCenter’ introduced today comprises 28 battery systems and 34 cell modules from decommissioned e-up! cars, one of Volkswagen’s earliest EV models.
This first installation is a pilot project by Elli and Volkswagen After Sales. Still, the Group is working towards integrating electric car batteries as bidirectional energy carriers at a much larger scale. The future will hold Vehicle-2-Home and Vehicle-2-Grid applications and EVs as mobile power banks. Elli adds it is already possible for subscribers to charge the car when there is a lot of renewable energy available at low cost, basically smart charging.
Its new CEO Giovanni Palazzo added, “Our long-term goal is clear: We want to give our customers a clear advantage in terms of electricity prices and at the same time develop new, high-revenue business models that will strengthen Elli in the long-term”.
The company is already “investigating the possibilities and scalability of large-scale storage systems” together with Volkswagen Group’s battery company PowerCo. Volkswagen has not disclosed more details.
What is clear, however, is that energy trading will become an integral part of the Group’s offering with perhaps global consequences. When Elke Temme resigned as Elli CEO in February, Giovanni Palazzo took over this month. He is the former Head of Volkswagen’s fast-charging network Electrify America. When he took over, VW said Palazzo would not only focus on expanding the fast charging network but also push the intelligent energy platform. Elli and Electrify America should cooperate more closely and roll out new business models internationally.
Volkswagen created the Charging and Energy division at the turn of 2020/2021 and placed it under Volkswagen Group Components. The intention was, and still is, to bundle its global activities. The Group published an interim report on its charging infrastructure 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,” said 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 and with Volkswagen Group’s brands.”