September 7, 2018 / 2:13 PM / 3 months ago

INTERVIEW-Sweden's Vattenfall targets German electric vehicle sector

* Company is in talks with German carmakers -Vattenfall executive

* Says has added 100,000 retail energy customers in Germany (Adds quotes, context)

By Christoph Steitz and Tom Käckenhoff

FRANKFURT, Sept 7 (Reuters) - Swedish power utility Vattenfall is making a push into the German market for electric vehicle (EV) services and is in talks with carmakers to further its efforts to secure a place among the leading players.

Vattenfall board member Tuomo Hatakka, who drives an all-electric BMW i3, said the energy company aims to provide charging solutions for private customers and corporate fleets, adding that public infrastructure is also a possible revenue source.

The state-owned group has so far installed between 9,000 and 10,000 charging points in Sweden, the Netherlands and Germany and intends to make a significant part of its planned 3.1 billion Swedish crowns ($341 million) of spending on new technologies dedicated to the electric vehicle sector.

“We are trying to understand the market and are in talks with all the relevant players. It would not be serious if that didn’t include the carmakers,” Hatakka told Reuters.

In Germany, leading players Innogy, E.ON and EnBW are all eager to capitalise on an expected surge in demand for charging stations and electricity in the wake of a mass rollout of battery powered vehicles.

Vattenfall has already struck a deal with Geely-owned Volvo this year to help car owners recharge their vehicles at home, and Hatakka said that partnerships with German manufacturers cannot be ruled out.

“What these partnerships will look like remains to be seen,” he added.

Germany is a key market for Vattenfall, accounting for 38 percent of the group’s underlying operating profit last year. The group plans to invest 4 billion Swedish crowns in Germany over 2018 and 2019.

Vattenfall has achieved a net addition of about 100,000 gas and power customers in Germany this year, Hatakka said, bringing the total to about 3.5 million, up from about 2.6 million a decade ago.

Having sold its lignite activities to Czech rival EPH two years ago, Vattenfall still operates five coal-based combined heat and power (CHP) plants in Germany, which it plans to shut down by 2030 and gradually replace them with other technologies.

The fate of its 1,654 megawatt hard-coal plant Moorburg, meanwhile, is in the hands of a German commission tasked with finding ways to end coal-fired power generation. It is expected to submit proposals by the end of the year.

Vattenfall is exploring options for the plant’s future, Hatakka said, adding that a sale was not on the agenda. ($1 = 9.0886 Swedish crowns) (Editing by David Goodman)

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