German energy giants take over Better Place charge docks

Encouraged by Denmark’s climate goals, E.On has moved in to fill the electric car service vacuum left after Better Place folded

The dream of the electric car gaining a foothold on the Danish market has been recharged after E.On Danmark, the Danish daughter company of German energy giants E.On, purchased hundreds of battery-charging docks from the now-defunct electric car company Better Place.

E.On Danmark said in a press release that it chose to purchase the 770 charging docks, which are scattered throughout the nation, due to a greater focus on green transport solutions in Denmark. In its climate plan, the government recently revealed that one of its goals was to have the entire transport sector covered by sustainable energy by the year 2050.

“The government’s climate plan confirms a long-term and ambitious goal within the transport arena,” Tore Harritshøj, the head of E.On Danmark, said. “There are not so many electric cars on Danish roads now, but the ambition is right and I have no doubts that, via co-operation between decision makers and companies, there will be significant development within the electric car area in the coming years.”

Yes to docks, no to battery swaps
Harritshøj said that E.On was already looking into taking on the Danish market when Better Place folded, so when the opportunity arose to buy the charging docks, it seized the moment.

Better Place invested heavily in the battery-swapping technology, but the German company has decided against continuing with that research and chose not to purchase Better Place’s 18 battery-swap stations.

“We bought the docks because we believe the technology has a bright future. Battery swapping, which Better Place focused on, is not something we see as being relevant at the moment,” Harritshøj said.

Mostly in the cities
E.On’s electric-car vision in Denmark also differs from that of Better Place. While Better Place, via their swap stations, went for creating a nationally-encompassing network, E.On is banking on the electric-car market primarily growing within urban areas. 

Martin Lidegaard (Radikale), the climate and energy minister, was pleased that the charging docks had been taken over.

“The more commercial actors that enter this market, the more active investors we will see and the greater competition we’ll have, including better prices,” Lidegaard told Information newspaper.

Most of the 770 charging docks are located in larger cities – 400 in Copenhagen alone – and a smaller number are at private houses.

The German energy providers did not want to reveal the price they paid for the 770 charging docks but said that it expects the chargers to once again be able to service Danish electric cars by the end of this month.