Filip Thon has been CEO of E.ON Energie Deutschland since April 1, 2021. In an interview with MO/OVE, he talks about why individual mobility and climate protection are not contradictory and how E.ON is driving e-mobility forward.
E-mobility is out of the experimental phase. The innovations, the exciting new vehicles, are no longer only available as studies or samples at the trade fairs, you can buy them - and they are bought. Admission numbers are increasing. According to our opinion poll, the trend is also continuing: the majority of German drivers can in principle imagine switching to an electric car, and incidentally, families in particular are particularly open to driving an electric car.
In view of the climate crisis, we have to fundamentally rethink mobility. However, individual, automotive mobility will continue to play a very important role. Having no car is not a solution either. Because people can get from A to B flexibly with their car. Only the car can offer these freedoms. And there are still many rural regions that are not sufficiently connected to the public transport network. The good news is that electromobility makes it possible for individuals to be on the move by car in a climate-friendly way.
Electromobility is one of the megatrends of our time - with enormous economic and operational disruption potential. Not only has the automotive industry been shaken up by this, we as energy suppliers are also feeling it: We see ourselves confronted with an increasingly fragmented, networked and complex – but at the same time more flexible – world. We see this development as an opportunity. Because it gives us the opportunity to offer completely new, exciting products and services that – driven by the constant pursuit of sustainability and efficiency – also allow us to get closer to our customers. There is no other way: Only together can we pave the way to a green future. In close cooperation between the sectors and, above all, very close to the customer.
For example, E.ON has been offering a comprehensive 24/7 mobility guarantee for electric car drivers since the end of August. The guarantee helps if, due to an event through no fault of your own, the battery charge of the e-car is not sufficient to reach the next charging station. In this case, users are given uncomplicated help, for example by transporting the vehicle to the next charging station. I am particularly proud of the E.ON Drive Booster: a fast charging station that can be set up without any civil engineering work or adjustments to the grid connection, and which can charge two e-cars at the same time with up to 150 kW of power.
Exactly, because we not only have private mobility in mind, but also look at companies. An E.ON survey has shown that employees reward and even demand employers' commitment to e-mobility: 90 percent of those surveyed would like employers who provide company cars to also offer their employees electric vehicles and make appropriate charging facilities available . For example, we are currently setting up one of the largest company charging networks in Germany with BMW, with 5,000 charging points.
As an energy company, we already offer innovative solutions, such as intelligent green electricity tariffs, for cheaper charging in the evening and at night. With our know-how, we can also enable services such as time-variable charging - depending on the electricity price. In other words, depending on availability and price trends, it will be possible to skilfully control the charging and discharging of the energy in cars - individually for each driver, but of course also as an asset in the charging infrastructure of the network. Looking ahead, we can imagine that the e-car will also earn money while standing. So we take advantage of the battery's flexibility by storing electricity when it's cheap and making it available when demand is high. This is how we optimize the infrastructure and consumption in equal measure.
We need concepts that mesh. We have to be efficient, build new structures, but also make smarter use of the existing structures. Data plays a very important role in this. In order to be able to react to developments and act proactively, we have to understand the needs of our customers. Needs are dynamic and constantly changing. Innovation must also take place in all areas of the company. Not only in the technical department. It's not just about hardware, it's also about software. An innovative mindset helps in all areas. And good ideas have to do one thing above all: become reality. We succeed when we work together in a network, bring different disciplines together and discuss new ideas.