The need for 100,000 public charging stations offers enormous opportunities in the B2B market
With the agreement of 18 May on the tax incentives for electric company cars, the Belgian federal government fired the starting gun for the transition from refuelling to recharging. One of the major bottlenecks, however, is the availability of public charging stations. One in two Belgians doesn’t have the space to install their own charging station and will therefore have to charge at the office or in a public place. Optimile estimates that in order to achieve the target of a 100% electric company car fleet by 2026, more than 100,000 new publicly accessible charging stations will be required in Belgium. Optimile is convinced that the B2B market will play a decisive role in this. CEO An De Pauw sees an important role for companies, real estate developers, retailers, energy suppliers, car dealers and operators of charging facilities. She estimates that of the 100,000 public charging stations required, more than half will be installed in the car parks of businesses or commercial centres.
Optimile makes it easy
Optimile’s cloud-based platform allows businesses to easily integrate charging for electric vehicles into their overall offering to customers and employees. The accompanying smartphone app and charging card gives them instant access to one of the largest networks of charging stations in Europe, with over 120,000 locations in 19 countries. In addition, the customer can also connect any other brand of charging station to the platform, so that new charging stations can be added easily. So customers choose how extensive they want their charging network to be based on their wants and needs.
Optimile also has a specific service for fleet managers of companies who want to offer their staff optimal and above all carefree green mobility. The Optimile app not only shows all the prices of the publicly accessible charging stations, but also ensures easy settlement of public charging sessions, automatic reimbursement to employees who charge at home and the provision of charging stations for customers and visitors.
Finally, Optimile’s app can be used immediately when a government-promoted mobility budget is launched for employees. Thanks to a smart multimodal route planner, the Optimile app suggests various route options including combinations of different modes of transport, for example public transport and a shared bike. Tickets for the journey can also be purchased directly from the app.
Extra power, doubling employment
Optimile wants to grow strongly in the e-mobility market in the next few years and has chosen to concentrate primarily on the B2B market. The extra capital of 8 million euros for this comes from AG, Touring and BNP Paribas Fortis. Last year the Optimile team already expanded from 10 to 25 employees. Optimile wants to double this number and add 25 extra experts in the technical and commercial teams. The management team will also be further strengthened. Benoît Criel, previously active within IT at BNP Paribas Fortis, joined the ranks as Chief Operations Officer at 1 June. In this position, Benoît Criel reports to CEO An De Pauw.
An De Pauw, CEO of Optimile:
“This capital injection from our three shareholders confirms the confidence in Optimile and gives our team extra energy to go even further in the most innovative developments. The investment comes at just the right time as we are now seeing a breakthrough in the market for electric cars and flexible mobility solutions. Moreover, car manufacturers, governments, charging infrastructure developers and software producers are fully engaged in sustainable partnerships in the field of e-mobility. These new resources will enable us to further expand our SaaS-based mobility platform through strategic partnerships and gain a leading position in the e-mobility market for CaaS (Charging-as-a-Service) and MaaS (Mobility-as-a-Service) solutions.”
Max Jadot, CEO of BNP Paribas Fortis:
“BNP Paribas Fortis is playing an active role in a number of areas related to sustainable mobility. We are fully committed to electric mobility via Arval, which has both a leasing offer and, since last year, an integrated offer that Arval offers in partnership. With AlphaCredit, we promote more sustainable mobility with more advantageous rates for low-emission cars and soft transport modes and are partners in several alternative mobility projects. And of course, we also do this through our own bank, where we advise both private and professional clients on important mobility choices on a daily basis. The fact that BNP Paribas Fortis lends its energetic support to Optimile should come as no surprise. We are convinced that the increasing importance of shared transport means; the transition towards electrification of the vehicle fleet, as well as the shift towards multimodality will determine the future of our company. Optimile already plays an important role in this today through its mobility-as-a-service software and as a software provider for electric mobility (charging stations and charging cards). Last but not least, we are convinced that Optimile has the talent on board to offer even more efficient and user-friendly mobility solutions in the coming months and years, which will enable the bank to continue to surprise its customers in a positive way.”
Heidi Delobelle, CEO of AG:
“The recent government decisions on company cars underline once again that the mobility behaviour of Belgians will undergo drastic changes in the coming years, especially when it comes to the electrification of the car fleet and the evolution towards multimodal travel. In both areas, Optimile’s expertise and innovative capacity can be a game changer. AG wants, with both its product strategy and its sustainability strategy, to help shape and steer these developments, and therefore fully supports Optimile’s growth potential. In addition, by offering an adapted range of insurance and services and by involving subsidiaries such as AG Real Estate and Homeras/So Simply in these developments, we can give an extra boost to the mobility of the future.”
Bruno de Thibault, CEO of Touring:
“The electrification of mobility is no longer unthinkable in our society. Recently, the federal government has decided that all new company cars must be electric by 2026 if they are to receive tax incentives. Touring, which always puts the interests of the road user first, believes that it should be as comfortable as possible for consumers to use and recharge their electric vehicle. This can be achieved by offering multifunctional platforms. This will determine the success and accessibility of vehicle fleet electrification. Touring does not want to miss this 'boat'. That is why we are investing even more in Optimile, which develops such platforms and brings appropriate mobility solutions on the market. We strongly believe in the creativity, know-how and expertise of the company to develop performing and user-friendly mobility solutions. As a complementary mission, Touring itself will play an important role in the future through our roadside assistance and our assistance centre in terms of service and maintenance of charging stations.”
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With a share (end 2020) of 29.2% in the Life insurance market and 16.3% in Non-life, AG is the undisputed leader in the Belgian insurance market. To better tailor its offer to fulfil different customer needs, AG has a multi-channel distribution strategy that includes independent brokers and Fintro agents, bank branches (BNP Paribas Fortis, bpost bank) and collaboration with large corporate clients and sectors for their group insurance. AG employs over 4,000 specialised staff members. More information on www.ag.be
Founded in 1895 by a group of cycle tourists and having grown into the largest mobility organization in Belgium, it defends each individual's absolute freedom to travel in the manner and with the means of his or her choice. Touring is part of FIA, the International Automobile Federation, the world's largest mobility organization.
As the first organization in Belgium to provide roadside assistance (1948) and travel assistance (1958) in Belgium and abroad, Touring is among the most experienced players on the Belgian market. Over the years, Touring has consolidated its market position and evolved into a large organization with more than 2,800,000 affiliates and 450,000 households with travel assistance cover who can rely on medical, technical and personal assistance on a 24/7 basis, as well as specialized advice on a broad range of mobility matters.
Touring's International Alarm Center receives an average of 145,000 calls per year from Belgians in trouble abroad and carries out an average of 35,000 medical or technical interventions. The National Alarm Center processes more than 680,000 calls per year from motorists, motorcyclists and cyclists who have broken down. In Belgium, Touring has approximately 200 vehicles out on the road for breakdown and roadside assistance services.
BNP Paribas Fortis (www.bnpparibasfortis.com) offers the Belgian market a comprehensive range of financial services for private individuals, the self-employed, professionals, companies and public organisations. In the insurance sector, BNP Paribas Fortis works closely, as a tied agent, with Belgian market leader AG Insurance. At international level, the Bank also provides high-net-worth individuals, large corporations and public and financial institutions with customised solutions, for which it is able to draw on the know-how and international network of the BNP Paribas Group.