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CarPlugs: smart, secure and universal charging solutions

Sustainable mobility

Electrabel and Cofely Services, subsidiaries of GDF SUEZ, both very active in the innovative area of electro-mobility, particularly smart charging and charging infrastructures, relied on their partner Powerdale –a young Belgian start-up specialized in energy control and electro-mobility. Kristof Corthout, Sustainable Mobility Product Manager at Electrabel, shares his views.

Do you consider year 2015 to be a pivotal year for electro-mobility?

Kristof Corthout: “Electrabeland Cofely Services, subsidiaries of GDF SUEZ, together with Powerdale -33% of the capital of which was acquired in August 2014 by GDF SUEZ New Ventures – (GDF SUEZ’s investment fund dedicated to start-ups and young innovative companies focused on energy transition), formed an alliance in Belgium with partners such as Volkswagen, Belgium’s most popular car making brand, to supply charging solutions and services for electric vehicles. We invest in new solutions such as load management systems or optimized charging management tools”.

Has electro-mobility become a priority in Europe?

Kristof Corthout : “Standardization is key to the quick and economical development of electro-mobility in Europe. Without doubt, transportation is a threat for the future since it currently accounts for 20% of CO2 emissions. Moreover, we are heading towards a more and more urban world with the rise of over-consuming megacities. Within this context, new forms of mobility appear. The promotion of public transportation is essential and governments support the use of alternative fuels such as biogas, CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) and electric cars. The EU has set an objective of 5% electric vehicles by 2020. To ease this deployment, solutions to charge these vehicles must be supplied.

The GDF SUEZ Group, through its different subsidiaries, boasts of a unique set of capacities ranging from CNG & LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) stations’ installation to the development of charging solutions for electric cars. In Belgium, Electrabel sells gas and electricity, Cofely Services manages installation and technical operations and Powerdale is our innovation partner. Among other tools, Powerdale develops innovative payment solutions based on the use of QR codes, dynamically integrated within the LCD screen mounted within each different charging terminals”.

What are the solutions displayed by Electrabel ?

Kristof Corthout: “Electrabel and Cofely Services already jointly contribute to Powerdale’s sub-metering solutions and have also closely collaborated to the implementation of global charging solutions including services’ terminals and platforms. We contributed firstly to infrastructure design, in the form of wall-boxes or terminals. Terminals have the particularity, other than supplying power to the vehicle, to actually follow-up its energy consumption and allow remote control and monitoring of the charge. Compatible with all types of rechargeable vehicles, the CarPlug ensures a charge up to 100km of autonomy per hour -which is much faster than with the car’s original cable- using a dedicated 10-Ampere socket. Energy consumption and associated costs can be easily, safely and quickly visualized on a smartphone, a tablet or on the Web”.

What are electric cars’ technological assets?

Kristof Corthout: “Electric cars are an ideal solution for individuals and corporate fleets. Not only because 100% electric or rechargeable hybrid vehicles do not emit any CO2 or fine particulates locally, but also because their energy consumption costs as well as their maintenance costs are much lower (up to 3 times inferior to those incurred by petrol or diesel-fueled vehicles). By 2020 each automotive brand will have no choice but to have a panel of electric or hybrid-plugin vehicles with an average 95-grammes CO2 emission. The launch of a new electric or hybrid-plugin vehicle is announced each trimester. Whether you talk about autonomy or charging speed, technology sure evolves fast”.


Source: Hugo Whitemore

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