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Fortum Charge & Drive acquires Plugsurfing

The Plugsurfing system uses smart keys and an app platform to connect drivers with chargers.

Berlin-based Plugsurfing will now show Fortum EV charging points across the Nordics

Nordic utility Fortum’s EV charging business – Fortum Charge & Drive – has acquired e-mobility network provider Plugsurfing for an undisclosed sum.

Plugsurfing is one of a number of independent charging service providers in Europe, and uses an app-based system with charging and payment capabilities to enable EV owners to use multiple charging points and platforms.

According to Fortum, the Berlin-based startup “has been one of the few to successfully take on the challenge of Europe’s fragmented charging networks” and currently holds a userbase of around 50,000 EV drivers and over 200 charging networks. In total, they have access to more than 65,000 chargers across 24 European countries.

“Our purpose is to make it easy to use electric vehicles and charging points so that we can all move towards a cleaner world. Fortum Charge & Drive, together with PlugSurfing, is able to better serve the drivers of electric vehicles, car manufacturers and several other key businesses. As one of the first steps, the Nordic charging network of Charge & Drive will be available on the PlugSurfing application for access and payment. Our aim is to improve EV drivers’ accessibility to charging networks when travelling between countries,” said Fortum Charge & Drive VP Rami Syväri.

Fortum Charge & Drive is based mainly in Norway, but is also developing a network across the Nordic markets. Internationally, Charge & Drive also has a cloud-based platform that enables charge point operators to remotely manage charging stations.

However, the acquisition also has wider implications for Fortum’s involvement in charging projects, as the operator will now discontinue its plans to join as an investor in the proposed pan-European project for high-power charging.

Dubbed “MEGA-E” the initiative would have seen  Fortum help build 322 “Ultra-fast chargers” and 27 smart charging hubs throughout 20 European countries, in partnership with Allego. Fortum had agreed to work on infrastructure in the Nordic region, with financial close expected during the first half of 2018.

It is unclear what impact the company’s departure will have on development plans for MEGA-E.

Source: Fortum


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