Volkswagen's energy subsidiary, Elli, made a significant appearance at the IAA Mobility event in Munich, providing insights into its future services and expansion plans, with a particular emphasis on expanding its charging network.
Elli's Flexpole fast charging station took center stage at the event, featuring a unique design that incorporates an integrated battery, acting as a buffer. This innovation eliminates the need for special transformers or costly construction, as the Flexpole connects directly to the low-voltage grid while delivering up to 150 kWh of power to a charging vehicle. Notably, Flexpole installations have been spotted at BP stations in Düsseldorf and Shell pit stops in Göttingen, indicating a collaborative effort between Shell and Volkswagen to gradually introduce these charging stations across Germany and other European countries. However, specific expansion targets and markets have not been disclosed.
Volkswagen is steadily expanding its charging network, relying on “premium charge point operators” who form the “Selected Partner Network.” Currently, this network includes Ionity Europe, Audi charging hubs across the DACH region, and Ewiva in Italy.
Elli's CEO, Giovanni Palazzo, expressed enthusiasm about the company's developments at the IAA Mobility event, stating, “With the new Flexpole and the continued expansion of Elli's charging network to more than 540,000 charge points, we are quickly and reliably driving forward e-mobility's expansion.”
This strategy builds upon Elli's previous announcement of the Selected Partner Network in May 2023, accompanied by revised charging tariffs. Notably, discounted fares for ultra-rapid charging, now priced at €0.50/kWh (a 15-cent increase), will be applicable not only at Ionity charging stations but also at other partner stations. At non-partner DC charging points, standard rates ranging between €0.73 and €0.89/kWh, depending on the tariff, will apply.
Palazzo also outlined Elli's future energy strategy, emphasizing the role of electric vehicle (EV) batteries as critical energy storage solutions to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and ensure stable access to renewable energies. He referred to this approach as the “Battery under management” strategy, with the ultimate goal of transforming Elli into a software-driven energy company and a leading provider of holistic energy solutions.
Elli achieved a notable milestone in July 2023 when it commenced trading on Europe's largest power exchange, EPEX Spot. Central to its electricity trading operations is the PowerCenter, comprised of e-up! batteries and controlled by Elli's trading platform.
Giovanni Palazzo, who assumed leadership of Volkswagen's global energy business in July 2023, succeeding Elke Temme, has a strong focus on energy trading. He previously served as the President and CEO of the North American fast-charging network, Electrify America, since 2018. Palazzo envisions closer cooperation between Elli and Electrify America, aiming to introduce new international business models.
Volkswagen's commitment to the electric vehicle charging and energy services sector became evident with the creation of the Charging and Energy business field at the start of 2020/2021. The company recently published an interim report outlining its progress in expanding charging infrastructure earlier this year.