Swiss leader in mobility

Active in charging infrastructures for electric vehicles, Green Motion is now working with China and looking to expand to India in the near future.

Green Motion, a pure player in electric vehicle charging infrastructures, moved into its new 1,250 m2 head-quarters at Le Mont-sur-Lausanne in February 2017. "We design, produce, and market our charging stations and make the required software platform for managing the recharging networks available to our operating customers," explains CEO François Randin. "We therefore supply hardware as well as software."

The company markets its products to clients for private use, but when the charging stations are destined for public use, Green Motion then offers to finance the project in its entirety as part of a concession system. "Our aim is then to benefit from the revenue generated by the use of the public charging network," the CEO continues. "We are investing over 30 million francs in an initial phase – between now and 2020 – to finance the rapid implementation of a network of 3,000 public charging stations throughout Switzerland."

With the quality and density of its network, the company hopes that by 2020, 4% of all vehicles in Switzerland will have converted from fuel to electric power. They offer a full range of charging stations, from ones for home use which cost less than 700 francs, to public stations coming in at 15,000 francs. Its software platform – which is available on the Internet and as a mobile application – also enables centralized management of a charging network, a locating system for charging stations, real-time updates on the status of the network, identification of users, and, of course, a charging payment system.

L'équipe de Green Motion

Competition is limited

Founded in Bussigny in 2009, Green Motion is the only Swiss manufacturer of electric vehicle charging infrastructures. "The competition is limited in Switzerland and is restricted to a few energy distributors who prefer to import products from abroad rather than promote a Swiss-made solution, which is a shame for companies which are part of the public sector," Randin says. "We are therefore the Swiss market leader and this position is getting stronger."

In October 2015, the Chinese government announced the deployment of a network capable of recharging five million electric cars by 2020, and the Zhongding Group selected Green Motion technology for this project. The Vaud-based company signed an exclusive licensing agreement for its technology for China. "The Chinese had the resources to acquire any technology or global company they wanted. They chose us and that is something that we are very proud of," Randin continues. "Furthermore, it was they themselves who selected us and got in touch with us. The agreement came together very quickly, and everything ran very smoothly. They are reliable and efficient business partners."

This contract gave the company, which currently has 30 employees, a very significant influx of cash – one that could not have been dreamed of until a few years ago. "We sold our technology to build the Chinese charging network in 2016, and we are currently prospecting the Indian market in partnership with an important local player," Randin continues. The company also recently began a collaboration with Romande Energie, the largest energy supplier in Western Switzerland, which now distributes Green Motion products to its client-base as well as the services it provides – representing a significant new catalyst for sales.

Network of 60 partners

Green Motion currently has a network of 60 partners which distribute its products throughout Switzerland. As well as Romande Energie, the network includes main energy providers such as Services industriels de Lausanne (SiL), Viteos, ESR, AEW, EWS, and SAK, as well as automotive manufacturers Renault, Mitsubishi, and Kia. "We have always had a local production strategy," Randin explains. There is a network of sub-contractors that we use for the production of our charging stations, most of whom are from Vaud, with the exception of the electronic components which are produced in the canton of Solothurn. In the region, our main partner is Fondation Polyval, which has done the assembly and cabling of all our stations since 2012."

The company has a list of 450 institutional clients in Switzerland, including both major businesses and the main public bodies in the country. Among these are the cities of Zurich, Geneva, and Lausanne, as well as Nestlé, Ricola, and Richemont. "The electric mobility market is better developed, so we are now targeting all of the municipalities, regardless of size, to provide them with our equipment," says Randin.

A valuable support from the Economic Promotion

"In the first years of our existence, we benefited from two inputs of 100,000 francs from SPEI for the development of its new products," explains Randin. "A significant part of our prototyping costs were covered by these grants. What I should also point out is that these sums were awarded very quickly via a close and efficient collaboration with SPEI, unlike other aid systems in Switzerland which can be very time-consuming. We also benefited from several thousand francs from SPEI to take part in and exhibit at various events, most notably the Geneva Auto Show. We were then supported by Innovaud as part of our financing with the banks. Since 2016, we are very proud to say that we have Scale Up Vaud certification."