Engen rolls out EV charging stations in Réunion

Engen has established a network of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations on Réunion, the French island in the Indian Ocean.
Engen rolls out EV charging stations in RéunionThe company has already rolled out 12 of a planned 17 Point Luciole Firefly charging stations at selected outlets in its 39-strong retail service station network. An additional five outlets will be opening soon.

Hervé Maziau, managing director of Engen Réunion, says the Firefly roll-out continues Engen's tradition of innovation in Réunion. "The Réunion retail petroleum industry is fairly saturated, and future growth will depend on innovation. Initiatives like this will keep Engen current and fresh."

In addition, a rapidly changing energy landscape is driving innovation, he says. "Already the energy mix is 37% renewable, and regulations target 25% EVs for government agencies and administrations. Government fuel tenders have begun to ask questions about oil companies' EV strategy. Soon, we could offer EV as an additional service in traditional fuel tenders."

Incentive for sales

France (and thus Réunion) is further mooting a law to compel public areas to install charging stations, after a campaign started in 2008, incentivising sales of EV cars. "All signs point to surging EV development for 2014, and Engen wants to be a part of that - and if possible, lead the innovation curve," he says.

Engen's opportunity to enter the EV industry came in 2013, when it began discussions with AER, a France-based multinational manufacturer of EV bikes, cars, trucks and buses.

"We came to an agreement with them to install standard-charge Firefly charging stations," says Hervé. "After a thorough review, the project was launched in May, to the great excitement of Engen dealers."

Engen's 12 charging stations makes it one of the largest EV charging networks in Réunion. By the end of the project the company foresees having 40 to 50% of the total charge map on the Island. The remaining five stations are planned for new construction sites and refurbishment operations.

Market analysis

A market analysis shows that Réunion drivers cover on average 35km per day. Consequently EVs, with a real driving autonomy of 100 to 110km on a full charge, are entirely suitable for the Island, says Hervé.

"With the EV charge distribution on the island, drivers can be assured of always finding energy to power their car around Reunion," he says. Access to Firefly charging stations is achieved by purchasing a €10 Firefly card using RFID technology. A one hour standard charge (3Kw) costs €1, which is much cheaper than offers by Engen's competitors.

To step up its innovative edge, Engen is investigating the use of solar power at Firefly stations, to reduce its carbon footprint by reducing the emissions of generating electricity. AER solar car ports could be available at Firefly charging stations by the end of the year.

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