Centrica and leading Volkswagen dealer group Citygate have agreed an Electric Vehicle technology partnership that will accelerate what the car retailer offers to customers both in-store and at home.
Under the planned partnership, Centrica will install the latest charging technology at 10 Citygate dealerships across London and the south-east. In addition, Centrica will help fulfill aftersales support on EV accessories and charging products, including home charging installations.
Citygate and Centrica will also 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 programs 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.
“Citygate is leading the way to realising that future for their customers and I believe we are uniquely positioned to help both business and domestic customers to transition to an increasingly electrified, net-zero world.”
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.”
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 include new solar and battery storage facilities to help meet increased onsite power demand.