Volkswagen dealer group Citygate has entered a new partnership with energy company Centrica to provide electric vehicle (EV) charge points at its dealerships and for its customers.
Centrica will install EV charging points 10 Citygate dealerships across London and the south-east. The company will also help fulfil aftersales support on EV accessories and charging products, including home charging installations.
Jonathan Smith, CEO of Citygate, said: “EVs are moving from niche to mainstream, so it is vital that we are able to support our customers both in store and post-sale. The measures we are putting in place will put our sales, marketing and servicing staff at the forefront of EV enablement. Centrica’s scale and level of experience in this space made them an obvious partner.”
The two companies will collaborate on the development of an ‘EV Centre of Excellence’ as part of the agreement. Centrica will install an on-site virtual power plant (VPP) by linking EV chargers and other large energy-consuming assets into a cloud platform, so they can be turned down or turned off when demand for electricity is particularly high, reducing the need for baseload power stations and helping to decarbonise the grid. The impact of these measures will be visible to Citygate customers and staff through educational showroom displays.
Customer information will be available on topics such as charging, energy tariffs, climate change and air quality, which will form part of the Centre. Centrica will also develop training programmes for Citygate staff and educational materials for customers to provide knowledge and insight into the decarbonisation of transport and the home.
Carl Bayliss, vice president of Mobility Solutions at Centrica, said: “We are moving to a future in which our cars will become an extension of the fabric of our homes and businesses. Most cars are stationary 95% of the time, so it makes sense to use the collective storage capacity as a mini power plant, to power our lives and support the grid.”
Centrica provides end to end support in charging solutions including charger infrastructure, energy management, financing, and optimisation. The company has expanded its digital service, Local Heroes, to offer homeowners electric vehicle (EV) charging installations while Centrica Business Solutions has launched a package of solutions for large businesses that includes new solar and battery storage facilities to help meet increased onsite power demand.