EDF plans EV charging network expansion in France

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French utility EDF foresees rapid growth in its electric vehicle charging network and plans to increase the number of its docking stations.

EDF’s electric mobility business Sodetrel has achieved revenue growth of 50% annually over the last three years. It now operates approximately 4,000 charging points across the country and mainly in  public areas.

Sodetrel’s new Corri-Door fast-charging network along French highways has also grown rapidly. The number of individual charges tripled to 3,000 in August this year –up from 1,000 in August 2016.

According to Sodetrel CEO Juliette Antoine-Simon, while there are no queues at EDF’s charging stations as yet, some of the stations are being heavily utilised. Antoine-Simon said Corri-Door stations in the Paris area, as well as on major motorways to the south, north and west were used intensively. Sodetrel aims to increase the number of chargers in busy stations and is investigating new locations.

Corri-Door’s 200 fast-charging 50kV stations are located at 80km intervals in petrol stations along French highways and enable EVs to be recharged in 20-30 minutes.

The Corri-Door network, built at a cost of €10m, is operated by Sodetrel in partnership with Renault, Nissan, BMW and Volkswagen and is a crucial link in Europe’s EV charging network.

All EV brands, including Tesla, can use Corri-Door and Sodetrel customers also have access to some 50,000 EV charging stations in other European countries.

Utilities are competing to build the first pan-European EV charging networks as the range of these cars increase. France’s Engie has bought Dutch EVBox, while Germany’s E.ON partners with Denmark’s CLEVER.

Corri-Door is the biggest player on French highways as other brands only operate a handful of stations.

In terms of charging stations which are not located on the major highways, Sodetrel has a market share of nearly a third of France’s 17,000 public charging stations.

It aims to grow that share as it takes over the running of charging stations from construction companies such as Bouygues which build these facilities as part of construction projects but then leave operation to others.

Sodetrel operates public charging networks in the cities of Paris, Marseille and Grenoble as well as for regions such as Hauts de France and Seine Maritime.

It also operates charging stations for parking lot operator Indigo, in parking lots for IKEA, retailer Auchamps and Paris airports ADP among others.