This week, we had the pleasure of welcoming Alain Rolland, founder and CEO of Stations-e. He explains the model and the very original positioning of this operator, takes stock of its deployment, its projects and its objectives, and gives his opinion on the environment and his confidence in the future.
The world of transport has never been so uncertain. The future of the internal combustion engine has been brutally darkened this year: the price of gasoline has soared under the effect of the Ukrainian conflict and nearly 30% of service stations are out of supply due to strikes in the French refineries.
Faced with the now proven urgency of climate change, the government is calling on the French to migrate to electricity and is promoting numerous devices to encourage the deployment of charging stations on the territory… In recent months, announcements of impressive fundraising have been follow on ambitious projects (Electra, NWgroupe, PowerDot, etc.).
But at the same time there is talk of rationing the supply of charging stations in the event of a peak in consumption this winter! In short, these inconsistencies create an anxiety-provoking climate in which the French are lost.
On the eve of the Paris Motor Show, which promises to be the first show centered on low-carbon mobility, Tesla Mag takes stock with the main charging operators.
Article and interview by Benoît Chamoux, for Tesla Mag
E-stations: an original model
It is not only an operator of public charging stations (therefore accessible to all) for electric vehicles. Each terminal is also a connected multi-service kiosk that is part of the local fabric and offers: high-speed telecommunications relays, connected lockers (Amazon-type delivery points or relay point), car-sharing services, etc.
An original positioning
This is a strong differentiator for Stations-e, and justifies its deployment objectives in all regions: as each station is designed to provide several services, including EV charging, it is not only on the service of charging Stations-e finances itself, which allows it to aim for profitability even in areas where a charging station alone would not be profitable.
After raising €30 million last year, the company was able to accelerate its deployment and went into industrial mode. Its objective is ambitious: a network of peri-urban and rural territory with 10,000 stations throughout the territory, or approximately 1,000 per region, for a planned total investment of €240 million in this network of stations.
Stations-e invests on its own without asking for subsidies from local authorities or private owners. For Alain Rolland, with his model, Stations-e participates in the energy transition but also brings economic attractiveness in the territories with a social dimension, by contributing to the rapid migration to electricity for all, with charging prices content for users, and without incurring any costs for the communities or owners who host this equipment.
This is what attracted the Banque des Territoires, which invested in the company. Stations-e does not target necessity charging, so for example will not open terminals on the motorway, but focuses on daily charging in peri-urban areas and in the provinces.
The Stations-e proposal
It is simple: load up without thinking about it » and recover 150 km of autonomy over the duration of the stop, whatever the vehicle. The bias is therefore to offer sufficiently fast recharging without ever exceeding the natural charging power of electric cars (recharging speed provided by the car in regenerative braking, i.e. between 50 and 60 kW approx.), in order not to damage The batteries.
In accordance with its model, Stations-e is therefore both:
- a charging station operator deploying its own network,
- and a service operator offering its customers a charging service operating on all existing terminals (on all charging networks on the Gireve platform).
Its customers can therefore recharge anywhere once they have activated their Stations-e card (which is also free!).
The stations of the Stations-e network are open to everyone. You can charge by paying:
- either with the Stations-e card,
- either with that of any other competitor offering roaming on other French networks,
- or finally by bank card, each terminal being equipped with a contactless TPE.
Finally, an in-house app is currently being tested, and should soon offer additional services to make life easier for e-station customers!
Based on a solid model, Stations-e has fine-tuned the customer journey on the terminal, which for the moment seems to pay off with a very low rate of return to its customer service, and is transparent about its pricing: 36 cents / kWh everywhere (i.e. around €5 for 100 km…), with prices maintained, despite the increase in electricity costs.
It is progressing well, with 120 charge points activated to date, and a target of 300 active points by the end of the year. And from 2023, an optimized industrial deployment from design to installation, to reach 2000 sites per year over the next 5 years, with a regionalized organization, using only elements made in France!
For example, the complete installation of a site lasts a maximum of 8 hours, once the electrical connection of Enedis is ensured!
As for the environment of charging operators, apart from certain sites of interest that attract the desire of many operators (especially commercial areas), in the vast majority of cases, deployments are complementary.
Out of around 50 private networks currently referenced in France, there is currently relatively little direct competition between the networks: a few big players are concentrating on the motorways, others on the commercial areas, others on the city centres. cities, and still others in peri-urban areas such as Stations e.
To summarize : ” It’s a big desert, there’s room for everyone, you just have to deploy “.
For Alain Rolland, private operators have an important role to play in meeting the population’s charging needs, in an intelligent dialogue with local authorities, and in addition to their networks.
Indeed, communities and public money will not be able to meet the needs of the population alone. Stations-e intends to be one of the pillars of this future landscape!
Finally, concerning the outlook for the energy crisis this winter, Stations-e is not worried about the risks of possible cuts in the electricity supply during peaks, because the charging networks still only represent a marginal energy use in France.
What are Stations-e’s development projects?
Stations-e has worked extensively on energy storage for the needs of charging stations and has invested in a project in partnership with the SNCF and the industrial group Lohr for the charging of light battery trains, associated with energy storage. This project is in the development phase, but its principle will certainly apply to other uses in the future.
With its original model, Stations-e also confirms its vocation to develop internationally, particularly in Europe, but initially concentrates its effort and funding on French deployment, then will turn to the international market through partnership with foreign actors to whom it will benefit from its know-how, rather than raising a lot of money to reach the international level alone.
Thanks to Hotel Gabriel Paris
25 Rue du Grand Prieure, 75011 Paris