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EO Charging has been on something of a roll recently. Within the last month, the UK company has announced new deals with Tesco and Mercedes-Benz vans.
However, with the charging market maturing and big fossil-fuel companies throwing money at different charging solutions to help facilitate the move to electric, how can EO Charging compete and thrive in the market?
On this week’s Mobility Moments, EO Charging CEO and co-founder, Charlie Jardine, tells Auto Futures how the company is making a point of difference in an increasingly challenging market.
Could you describe EO Charging’s offer and how it differs from other charging providers?
We design and manufacture EV charging stations and cloud-based management software for electric vehicle fleets at our headquarters here in the UK. We like to think ‘beyond the plug’ for our customers and also provide installation services through to ongoing operations and maintenance services.
Over the past few years, the business has gone from strength to strength, and we’re proud to now power some of the world’s biggest businesses including Amazon, DHL, Go-Ahead, Tesco and Uber. I recently found out that we’re currently powering electric vehicle fleets for more than half of the UK’s biggest online retailers!
I’m excited about the future of vehicle charging, especially for fleets, and how software like ours can revolutionise fleet management. Behind the scenes, we’ve been focused on developing the most complete charging infrastructure offering available for car, van, truck and bus fleets. We’re confident that it includes everything a business or government needs to electrify return-to-depot or return-to-home vehicle fleets at scale, and at pace.
You’ve recently secured a big deal with Tesco – how did this come about and what did the supermarket like about EO Charging?
Tesco is arguably one of the most important businesses in the UK when it comes to setting the precedent for gold standard supply chain logistics. We’re not just providing the business with charge points and management software but instead a blueprint for how they can successfully power a fully electric delivery fleet by 2028.
Reliability of charging infrastructure is mission-critical for businesses like Tesco. Whether you’re moving food, people, or parcels – we understand the importance of sticking to delivery schedules and maximum vehicle uptime. Our partnership with Tesco includes round the clock operations and maintenance to ensure we can diagnose and resolve a charging fault before they do.
As part of the first phase of the electrification programme, we’re supplying more than 200 AC fast chargers and 5 DC rapid chargers across five sites. The charging depots in Lakeside, Oxford, Glasgow (two sites) and Enfield will serve both day-to-day charging requirements as well as emergency cover in case of short turn-around times required for vehicles. So far, the business has rolled out 30 electric vans, with plans in place for an additional 150 in 2022.
Can you describe the work EO Charging is doing with Mercedes-Benz Vans?
To achieve our mission of becoming the global leader in charging electric fleets, we need to develop a deep understanding of the barriers our customers face. Partnering with Mercedes-Benz Vans allows us to get a better look under the bonnet of van fleet operators and develop a charging solution that makes the switch to electric hassle-free.
We’ll be working with Mercedes-Benz Vans UK to provide its customers with electric vehicle chargers, charge point management software and ongoing support and maintenance. For retail customers whose vehicle batteries will be charged at home, an EO charge point will be supplied and installed free of charge. Fleets and small businesses ordering vehicles for operation from one or more depots can also purchase our chargers from Mercedes-Benz and its official UK retail network.
Mercedes-Benz Vans prides itself on vehicle reliability and wanted a charging partner that could deliver the same level of service. We know that a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work for businesses and have created a bespoke support package that makes sense for any-sized business. We currently have an ongoing programme covering several thousand AC chargers at more than 50 sites across six countries for one of our clients. As part of this, we resolved any Europe-wide on-site or remote issue in an average time of under three hours.
What does the EO Cloud offer companies for charging their fleets?
EO Cloud sits at the heart of our fleet charging platform – dedicated management software that combines charge scheduling, site load management, vehicle telematics integration and energy data to reduce infrastructure installation costs and optimise fuel cost per vehicle.
It balances flexibility with reliability, so it’s the ideal plug-in partner for fleet managers, whether they are building a new charging infrastructure or looking to integrate an existing EV charging network onto a more reliable and scalable platform. We’ve made it hardware-agnostic, so we onboard any OCPP compliant charge point. We want to give fleet managers a more streamlined, single-platform view of fleet data, and therefore more control and insight into their fleet’s performance.
Our open approach provides first-class analytics and valuable vehicle assessments to inform better decisions when managing a fleet – whether you’re optimizing energy consumption costs, prioritizing charging scheduling or managing routes.
What else needs to be done to convince other companies to adopt fully electric fleets?
Switching to electric is no longer a question of “if”, it’s now a question of “when”. Governments around the world are beginning to implement the right carrot and stick measures and it’s simply a matter of time before all businesses make the leap. The electric revolution is fully underway.
Most fleet operators are already looking into how they can make the transition to EVs and are seeing the successes of those that took the leap at an earlier stage. Switching to electric is not just about reducing emissions – it’s an unstoppable movement driven by a blend of environmental awareness, public opinion and the desire to reduce operating costs.
For fleets to decarbonise quickly and painlessly, it’s vital that the Government continues to stimulate the industry with easily accessible incentives. Company vehicles account for 59% of traffic on UK roads so they need to be a core part of the government’s planning for the EV transition.
Pledges also need to be delivered at pace – the bus industry here in the UK is still awaiting much-needed detail on funding for eBuses. We’re also due to see details next year of a zero-emission vehicle mandate, setting targets from 2024 for manufacturers to deliver a certain percentage of zero-emission new car and van sales. This will help increase the production of electric vehicles, spurring on EV production for the UK market.
What are the international growth plans for EO Charging?
We have big ambitions and want to become the global leader in charging electric car, van, truck, and bus fleets. With the accelerating pace of EV adoption by fleet operators, we feel well-positioned to capture a large proportion of the market.
We already serve some of the world’s leading businesses and have deployed about 50,000 chargers in more than 35 countries worldwide since we began. This year we ranked number 27 on the Financial Times’ FT1000 list of Europe’s fastest-growing companies, the highest position of any EV charging company on the list.
A few months ago, we announced an agreement for a business combination with First Reserve Sustainable Growth Corp., which is expected to result in EO Charging becoming a public company listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange in New York. Through this transaction, we’re positioned to grow further and plan to expand our geographical reach into huge markets such as the US. And of course, we’re constantly seeking to drive innovation to deliver the best possible solutions to our fleet customers. Our outlook has never been stronger.