In the beginning there is the idea: "We want to participate in electric mobility! But then the question arises: How does it work? Who gives advice on charging stations and electric cars? Who can ensure that your own connection has sufficient capacity? As is often the case, the right contact is close at hand: your municipal electricity provider and its wallbox installation service.
In order to get an idea of what smaller energy companies can contribute to e-mobility, we spoke with Stephan Buffi, sales manager at Stadtwerke Elbtal GmbH. The energy company based in Radebeul in eastern Saxony offers its customers electricity, natural gas, heat and services as well as products related to electric mobility - all from a single source. The small regional provider supplies households between the state capital Dresden and the famous porcelain city of Meißen.
ELECTROMOBILITY: HOW DO REGIONAL ELECTRICITY PROVIDERS SEE THE OPPORTUNITIES HERE?
Stephan Buffi explains: "We took up the topic of 'electromobility' about one and a half years ago. We wanted to channel the increasing customer enquiries and also be able to advise with personal experience." Since then, the municipal utility between Radebeul and Coswig has had its own electric car, a VW e-up. "I and my team enjoy driving our electric runabout. The automatic transmission is comfortable and phoning with hands-free equipment is very quiet," Buffi continues. However, he has also had negative experiences: "At an appointment in Bautzen, I hadn't connected the electric car properly and the charging process didn't work." Pure deceleration: "To be able to drive back, I had to wait at the bakery and drink tea.
However, this unique experience has not diminished his enthusiasm for electric mobility. Mr Buffi's main concern is to be able to talk credibly about e-mobility and its advantages and disadvantages with his customers. If only short ranges are needed, e-cars are excellent. In the future, however, there will have to be an even greater mix of mobility, says Buffi. "If I want to go on holiday to the Baltic Sea, it will hardly be possible in the future without a combustion engine, perhaps via car sharing," says the sales boss. He already travels easily by train to trainings in Berlin.
POWER SUPPLY AND E-MOBILITY: MORE THAN ELECTRIC TARIFF AND WALLBOX Installation service
In order for companies from the various sectors to be able to "switch over" to electromobility, prerequisites must be created. In addition to the purchase of an electric car, there is also the question of how and where to charge the vehicle. Here in particular, it is worth picking up the phone and calling the local electricity provider. "When someone asks us about electric mobility, our first task is to provide advice," says Stephan Buffi. Together with his colleague on the grid side, the first step is to find out to what extent charging capacities are needed. Is it just one vehicle or should an entire fleet be charged? Should the charging station be publicly accessible or only for the company's own employees? And of course: can this additional load for the on-site power connection be handled? "Once these questions have been answered, we calculate an offer. Here it is important whether wallboxes are enough or whether entire charging columns have to be set up and construction measures have to be carried out accordingly," explains Sales Director Mr Buffi. The construction planning, the wallbox installation service and the actual implementation are also carried out by the municipal utility. "We can even offer the corresponding software for billing at public charging stations," continues Mr Buffi.
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E-CARS ARE ALSO ATTRACTIVE IN MORE RURAL REGIONS
The advice has also already convinced some customers in the Elbe Valley. These include, for example, the Volkssolidarität Elbtalkreis-Meißen. Its care service has been on the road with a VW e-up since March 2018; the 11 kW wallbox was designed and installed by Stadtwerke Elbtal. "The daily route of about 100 kilometres is perfect for the range of the small electric car," says Mr Buffi. Every day, the electric car is on the road to care for the more than 300 people in need of care in the district at home.
But it is not only the care service that relies on electromobility and the close advice provided by the municipal utility. Car dealerships such as Autohaus Hammer in Radebeul and Sachsengarage in Coswig also rely on e-mobility. A wallbox was installed at the Sachsengarage, as well as a charging station with two 22 kW and the billing service "Stromticket" for public electricity refuelling. Those who want to be particularly "eco" on the road also use the green electricity of the regional energy company.
ELECTROMOBILITY: SACHSENENERGIE COMPLETES THE OFFER
Stadtwerke Elbtal offers its customers practical products and takes care of the most essential questions concerning the start of electric mobility for commercial customers. For some detailed questions, Mr Buffi is also happy to refer to the larger energy companies in the immediate vicinity. "SachsenEnergie already has many years of experience with e-mobility and electric cars. We draw on this knowledge or arrange contact," explains Mr Buffi. More extensive tasks such as fleet analysis can be efficiently handled there, and questions about electric car subsidies are also gladly answered. Even test drives with electric cars can be arranged at these and a few other energy companies.
CONCLUSION: ELECTRICITY PROVIDERS ARE THE CONTACT PARTNERS "AROUND THE CORNER" FOR ELECTROMOBILITY
Small electricity and energy providers such as Stadtwerke Elbtal are also well prepared for the requirements of electromobility. In addition to non-binding advice, they often also offer the installation service of wallboxes or even the structural implementation of charging columns. A non-binding call here often provides initial clarification if you want to get started with your own e-cars and charging columns on your own company premises.
If you are a small or medium-sized company in Saxony and are interested in the promotion of electric cars and charging stations, you will find a practical help in our Checklist for electric car subsidies practical help for you to print out. In our comprehensive white paper, which you can download free of charge, you will also find a wealth of information on charging infrastructure and best practices from Saxony. You have
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