Video - 9:49 minInfrastructure

“I am talking about how to make the industry fly.” Jussi Palola – CEO, Virta

Jussi Palola leads a hidden champion right inside the charging industry. Near invisible to users, Virta products power around 90,000 charge points in 35 countries. The Finnish company expects to grow fivefold in Europe and Asia over the next two years, and the CEO reveals their drive.

Insiders, of course, know of Virta. The Financial Times listed the Finnish company among the 1,000 fastest-growing businesses this year. Energy giant E.On has been Virta’s prime investor for years and reportedly helped raise another €85 million in growth funding a few months ago. 

The question of what Virta does must still be asked. The company’s most actual product is the Payment Kiosk, and Jussi Palola went on to explain.

It answers to “one big topic,” he says, direct card payments or simply PAYG, thanks to Virta’s cooperation with Mastercard and FSI Worldpay. (Virta does not exclude Plug’ N Charge but sees the systems not necessarily entwined.)

For their solution, while designed to make EV drivers’ lives easier, one of the main goals was to “present a business case to CPOs,” says Palola, because only that would lead them to roll out networks widely. 

“It is an equation between usability and economics.”

Jussi Palola, CEO of Virta

During our interview, the Virta CEO would call for scalability and make a real business case often. Staying with payment solutions that he claims work with any hardware, the CEO emphasises that connecting to a single payment unit means “reasonably low cost” even when retrofitting. “It is an equation between usability and economics,” says Palola, and a solution “to fit the nails in this case”. 

He means that Virta nailed it, and they are doing it globally. The company is currently on the roll-out in the Nordics, but the CEO reveals that they are “already negotiating in Germany as well”.

Moreover, having collected €85 million in funding this year, the CEO puts the plan in one word: expansion. “We are one of the lead companies in the segment because the unit economics and the benefits for the users and CPOs come with high scalability.”

Talking about scalability, which requires system maturity, led Palola to his second big topic: innovation. More specifically, innovation in “flex energy systems,” which he considers “the next level, which I think about a lot”. Virta estimates virtual power plants made of EV batteries on its platform could hold up to 15,000 MW of energy by 2025, equivalent to ten nuclear power plants.

“Flex energy is the next level, which I think about a lot.”

Jussi Palola, Virta CEO

As for the biggest charging trends, Jussi Palola names high-power charging expansion by considering the return on investment. Says Palola: “I am putting this note (of profitability and connectivity) in everybody’s mind.”

The Virta CEO was talking about more than just money amidst the billions spent on EV infrastructure. “I am talking about how we progress together to make EV driving as easy as possible and to make the industry fly.”

See how this may happen when watching the full video on our channels.

Interview by Carla Westerheide at the Intercharge Conference ICNC in Berlin.


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