Comfort Charge, on its CPO journey
Comfort Charge is a German electric vehicle charge point operator and the e-mobility arm of the largest telecommunications provider in Europe, Deutsche Telekom. At present, it has already rolled out 135 fast charging stations across the country and is also offering AC charging.
Bruno Jacobfeuerborn has been CEO of Comfort Charge since 2018, when Deutsche Telekom moved its full e-mobility offering under the brand. He has had a 30+ year international career at the telecoms giant and is also Chairman of its subsidiary, Deutsche Funkturm. We asked him for his views on the charging market and Comfort Charge’s plans for the future.
An interview with Bruno Jacobfeuerborn, CEO at Comfort Charge
Deutsche Telekom is a huge and versatile company
which is why I have been able to move around roles and have such a varied career. In 2018, it bundled all of its
e-mobility activities under the Comfort Charge brand and we are effectively a start-up within a bigger company.
Comfort Charge is a charge point operator, with 135 fast charging stations in operation and we offer services alongside them. We also offer AC charging. Our aim is to enable and stimulate growth in the adoption of electric vehicles – an objective which is also fully supported by the German government.
We already have significant experience and are building that out. Additionally, where it makes sense, we are working with other industry players in order to further accelerate the development of e-mobility.
Can you talk to us about Deutsche Telekom / Comfort Charge’s activities?
" It makes sense to synergise wherever we can with other Deutsche Telekom businesses to leverage things which already exist, like the telecoms infrastructure "
Delivering the infrastructure is the key to driving EV adoption but there is a bigger picture to think about; for example, how does it fit with overall cost of ownership?
The German market has not developed as quickly as anticipated. It is quite conservative by nature and the cost of EV ownership is not yet financially attractive compared with a conventional vehicle. Things are starting to change now due to a government incentive which is offering 6,000 euros towards the cost of a new EV and this is looking like the tipping point for EV adoption which will make things much more interesting.
In some areas, it now makes sense to deliver large
Comfort Charge plans to facilitate the breakthrough of e-mobility in Germany. How do you see the future charging landscape and what are the barriers to it?
infrastructure rollouts and we intend to leverage part of Deutsche Telekom’s existing telecom industry premises and infrastructure to do this, giving us approximately 1,000 potential German locations. The plan is to install between 300 and 500 fast chargers in addition to destination chargers.
Ultimately we think that most EV charging will take place at home or at work, with people on longer journeys stopping to top up at high power stations. We aim to optimise that customer experience by providing ultra-fast charging to give customers the quickest refill of their batteries. Our 150kW high power chargers make us a leader in the German market in that respect.
Can you elaborate on your strategy in this space and how smart will it be?
Our immediate aim is to build the right knowledge and experience in Germany. We have started with a smart mix of fast chargers and destination chargers and the idea is to build out where it is most appropriate, according to German market developments. We may watch for individual market opportunities in order to internationalise in the future but it’s not our immediate focus.
It makes sense to synergise wherever we can with other Deutsche Telekom businesses to leverage things which already exist, like the telecoms infrastructure. In fact, other than the drive for sustainability, it was the opportunities for synergy that drove us to start the business. Being able to piggyback what already exists is
a benefit for us and municipalities because it saves time and costs and can build out current service offerings.
Alfen offers strong, scalable hardware, with advanced data and security features. Our relationships are proactive and the Alfen team’s deep technical understanding of the products, challenges and network rollout has helped us to build our own technical knowhow and train our people and business partners. In a relatively young industry, things don’t always go smoothly so it’s important to choose a partner you can trust, who will work with you through the highs and the lows and communicate effectively to share the learning and Alfen does this.
We also appreciate Alfen’s pioneering nature as a member of the Board at OCPP and intricate knowledge of the different geographical markets. In Germany, its knowledge and conformity to the Eichrecht calibration law have been invaluable.
Can you reflect on your relationship with Alfen?