Aldi builds electric filling stations

Author: Mario Schmidtgen
Date: 10.08.2018

28 branches near the motorway are affected

Currently there are only a few electric filling stations in Germany. However, that could be quite different soon: Aldi Süd is now expanding its network of charging stations at 28 branches. But Aldi is not the only trading company that brings its customers in the branches through charging stations.

Electric car owners can breathe a sigh of relief, because soon it could be much easier for them to travel across Germany. Along the German motorways, Aldi Süd wants to establish fast-charging stations, where their customers have the opportunity to charge vehicles for free. Depending on the vehicle type, a range extension of about 200 kilometers in just 30 minutes is possible.

The background: Some retail chains have discovered that they can win customers by using electric mobility. Currently, public charging stations are still a scarce good in Germany and above all fast charging stations shine with absolute rarity. Only recently a header of the “Handelsblatt” was “Germany is a developing country according to charging stations for electric cars”.

But the number of retailers offering the charging stations is increasing. For example, Ikea has equipped 53 furniture stores with e-filling stations. In 2019 all department stores will be equipped. Ikea said that the offer will be used by customers, especially on Fridays and Saturdays.

Rewe has also set up charging stations at more than 50 branches, and even Kaufland has set itself the goal of building up to 100 fast charging stations by the beginning of 2019. At Lidl customers have so far in nine branches the opportunity to recharge green. “Our goal is to equip each newly opened branch with an e-charging station in the future” says the company.

“Invovement in electro mobility definitely pays off for companies. It strengthens the image and makes the brand appear more youthful and environmentally friendly” explains Martin Fassnacht, marketing expert at the WHU business school. In addition, the establishment of charging stations attracts a target group that is very solvent.

Even if it currently seems as if other retail chains had this idea before Aldi, it is not true. Since 2015, the company has been erecting first charging stations at selected pilot branches. These are however almost exclusively in the big cities. Now the next step should be to expand the service to the main traffic routes.

“So far, we have concentrated on urban areas and inner cities. Now we enable our customers to also plan their holiday trips with us” says Florian Kempf, Head of Energy Management at Aldi Süd. The newly selected branches are all within a maximum of five minutes’ drive from the A3, A5, A6, A7, A8 and A9 motorways.

But keep in mind that the stations are located only in southern and western Germany, so at the locations where Aldi Süd is active. Aldi Nord does not participate in the operation. In response to inquiries, the company said “Aldi Nord currently has no charging stations for electronics vehicles.” The reason given by the company was that there are currently too many different charging systems, and they would like to present their customers a standardized system.

In addition, it is currently not clear how the so far rather low demand will develop in the coming years. Aldi Süd indicates that they perform just “four to five charges per opening day”.