Fastned and gridX aim to increase Europe’s charging capacity

07 October 2021

The European Union (EU) is racing to hit its infrastructure target of building one million charging points by 2025. One company aiding this effort is Fastned, which is now collaborating with German smart-grid company gridX. The collaboration will allow both businesses to expand across the region as demand for faster and smarter charging continues to rise.

Fastned enables charging up to 350kW and aims to build 1,000 fast-charging stations powered with renewable energy at prime locations across Europe. The Amsterdam-based company was founded in 2012 and has since built fast-charging points in the Netherlands, Germany, the UK, Belgium and Switzerland. The listed startup is on a mission to increase its presence in the region – and its partnership with gridX will be enormously beneficial to this end.  

Smart charging

A smart grid is key to the smart charging of electric cars as it distributes available energy and optimises the charging processes to avoid peak loads. It also adheres to customer preferences by offering individualised solutions. The first 20 Fastned stations will be equipped with gridX technology this year, and more will follow.

So, what does gridX’s technology entail? The startup operates a digital energy platform, Xenon, which provides scalable infrastructure to connect and control distributed energy resources. The German company makes use of edge and cloud services to create digital solutions for smart charging and energy management. With its sustainable approach, it wants to make renewable energy accessible and independent of manufacturers.

‘We are very happy with the gridX technology being implemented at our stations,’ said Roland van der Put, head of charging technology at Fastned. ‘With this energy management system, we are able to optimise the utilisation of our grid connections and reduce costs at our stations. Most importantly, this technology allows us to increase the charging capacity of our network and serve even more electric drivers.’

Both companies want to develop their cooperation in the near future. Fastned plans to build its own load management system on the Xenon platform. The startups also aim to integrate local battery storage systems and an interface for third-party signals. This can include grid operator capacities or current electricity prices.

Energy transition

Since its launch in 2016, gridX has grown into a successful business that has won over big-name companies, such as Viessmann and DHL. Energy provider E.On was so convinced by the startup that it recently acquired a majority stake in gridX as part of its digitalisation strategy. Both the energy and automobile industries are going through a major transformation due to the rising significance of electromobility, brought on by governmental policies and green initiatives in Europe.

However, the EU was recently criticised by the European Court of Auditors (ECA), which said the union was still a long way from reaching its Green Deal target of providing one million charging points in the next four years. The ECA also pointed to the bloc’s lack of a strategic roadmap for electromobility. Companies such as Fastned and gridX will grow in significance as Europe transitions to greener energies.

‘With Fastned as a new customer, we are once again one step closer to our goal of advancing the energy transition as quickly as possible,’ said David Balensiefen, co-founder and CEO of gridX. ‘Now that for the first time one million electric vehicles are on German roads, we also need the corresponding technology at charging stations to enable efficient and intelligent charging.’