Energy Tech Review interviewed Eric van Voorden about the future of electric!
Among the many strategies deployed by governments worldwide to tackle climate change, electric vehicle (EV) adoption seems to be at the core, creating the most significant impact. Virtually every automaker is marching towards an electric and autonomous future by capitalising on the clear benefits that EVs offer—less maintenance than gas-powered vehicles, the fuel is less is expensive and the vehicles are easier to refuel without human intervention. It is safe to say that for governments, organisations and end-users, the cost of not adopting EVs is likely to be much bigger than the price of a delayed pivot to electrification. As the EV revolution sets the trend for a cleaner and greener tomorrow, Rotterdam-based Last Mile Solutions is moving the needle with its complete, independent EV charging and smart energy management platform. Built on the desire to help cities transition to a local ecosystem of renewable energy, Last Mile Solutions is enhancing the quality of life for city residents and visitors with its remotely managed digital products.
With more than 37,000 charging stations, 200,000 charging cards, and users in 22 countries, Last Mile Solutions has grown into the largest independent provider of e-mobility platforms in Europe. Since entering the e-mobility world back in 2008, the company has been focused on helping EV drivers travel easily across Europe with convenient options for charging. “We set up the roaming system to provide customers with a consistent, reliable, and hassle-free charging experience no matter where they drive while also offering complete information on prices, different charging locations, and the type of charger they would need,” says Eric van Voorden, Founder and CEO of Last Mile Solutions.
Last Mile Solutions’ scalable, customisable, and hardware-agnostic management platform is geared primarily towards the needs of Charge Point Operators (CPO) and e-Mobility Service Providers (e-MSPs), including energy utilities, OEMs, and fleet and leasing companies. The intelligent, cloud-based platform comes with a full suite of billing and payment options, advanced station management tooling, smart charging solutions, large roaming capabilities, self-service driver tooling, bespoke reporting services, and more. “Our white-label platform makes it easy for our clients to streamline their business activities and focus on selling their products. In the background, we ensure that the products work seamlessly everywhere,” says Voorden.
In 2015, Last Mile Solutions collaborated with LomboXnet, Elaad, and Renault for the “We Drive Solar” project in Utrecht, which integrated solutions for mobility and energy systems for the future and has already witnessed several world firsts. The project involved combining the locally generated renewable energy, vehicle-to-grid storage and static storage into a complete ecosystem, facilitating electric cars as well as the local area with electricity. The first among the many innovations was the large-scale connection of thousands of solar panels to charging stations and batteries. The second was the development of the bi-directional AC charging station. This enabled energy to be fed back to the local power grid when needed, and it’s an essential step towards decentralisation. This ‘smart’ charging station makes it possible for compatible cars to serve as neighbourhood energy suppliers and thus accelerate the energy transition and prevent grid overload. The EV charging & smart energy management platform from Last Mile Solutions has been pivotal in driving We Drive Solar’s vision of 100 percent sustainable mobility. The first sun-controlled charging station was successfully installed in the Lombok district way back in 2015 as part of the project. Since then, the number of charging stations in and around Utrecht has been growing steadily, and more than 120,000 transactions have been processed on the approximately 250 charging stations of We Drive Solar. “We believe e-mobility, electric vehicle charging and smart city will grow in tandem, helping each other to make the business sustainable and reliable,” notes Voorden.
As EV, autonomous driving, and car sharing bring about disruptive changes in the market, Last Mile Solutions prepares itself to become a more significant part of the upcoming developments. “Our partnership with different automobile OEMs allows us to do all kinds of experiments on automated driving, testing vehicle to grid connections, plug and charge solutions, all of which are necessary to thrive in the future,” asserts Voorden.