"EV100 is a powerful tool that gives us the visibility we need on electric vehicles and the will and commitment to make the transition happen", says EDF Group

Reading time: 4 minutes
4 April 2018

EDF joined EV100 in December 2017, committing to transition to electric vehicles by 2030. Here, EDF’s Sustainable Development Director Claude Nahon, and Customer and Service Development Director Frédéric Busin, explain why electric vehicles (EVs) were the obvious next step for the utility.

What are the drivers for EDF to take action on EVs?

Claude Nahon: “We believe that electric vehicles are a huge opportunity to decarbonize transport: as we are a leading decarbonized electricity provider, for us, it’s about walking the talk.

“This is about having a systemic strategy. We have an overall fleet of 35,000 vehicles, and if we think that the future of mobility is electric, we must play our part in it. The EV100 commitment was an opportunity to highlight how we are doing this. It was the right thing at the perfect time.”

What does your commitment cover?  Why are these measures important?

Frédéric Busin: “We have committed for our fleet light vehicles to be entirely electric by 2030. This commitment gives visibility to other developments: we are building an offer for our employees, and we are also working on converting other vehicles. Joining EV100 is part of our global strategy on electric mobility. Everybody is enthusiastic about this commitment, which is demonstrating our strong confidence in the future of electricity as the most efficient CO2-free energy.”

What are you going to do by when? How many vehicles are you converting?

Frédéric Busin: “Our roadmap is still a work in progress, but we already have good examples to rely on: in the south-west of France, on the nuclear site of Blayais, we built 36 charging stations with solar panels on the car parks for more than 50 vehicles.

“We plan to equip all 19 of our nuclear plants with such installations between 2020 and 2024, representing more than 1,200 vehicles. With the forthcoming Olympics in Paris, we also plan to have all our vehicles in this area be electric.”

What was the decision-making process within EDF?

Claude Nahon: “Everybody was enthusiastic about the idea of converting our fleet to electric vehicles, including our CEO Jean-Bernard Levy. He gave me a month to explore the opportunity of joining the EV100 initiative: I needed two, which is a very short timeframe in a group like EDF. We saw EV100 as a framework that can support our strategic approach and give it a concrete visibility.”

Frédéric Busin: “EV100 is a powerful tool that gives us the visibility we need on electric vehicles and the will and commitment to make the transition happen.”

What role did you play in getting EDF to join EV100? What challenges did you face and how did you succeed?

Claude Nahon: “I discovered the initiative during Climate Week NYC. Back in Paris, I was involved in a discussion around the role of electric mobility in decarbonizing the transport sector. It all matched up in my head: “we must be part of this”. I wrote an email to our Chairman and CEO, Jean-Bernard Levy, about consistency and he gave a month to finalize the idea. With his support it was easy to bring everybody on board.

What benefits are you seeing from your involvement with EV100? 

Claude Nahon: “A first benefit is consistency between actions and vision, actions and strategy. It helps to give reality to our speeches on electric mobility.”

Frederic Busin: “It establishes our leadership and visibility on ensuring that electricity decarbonizes the mobility sector, and demonstrates this to our main stakeholders, including the French administration and the media. It accelerates our involvement in this emerging ecosystem – which does not mean we do not need to work to build partnerships and strategy, but that people think we have a natural leadership when speaking about it.”

What are the challenges and how are you overcoming them?

Claude Nahon: “The main challenge is that this commitment is just the beginning of our strategy to support electric mobility development in our economy – there’s much more to do.”

Frédéric Busin: “There are many challenges, internally and externally. For example, there are different levels of maturity and feasibility within the Group to reach our goal. We need to identify them and to support the different parts of the Group when they build their own conversion strategy. We need short term successes to highlight the overall potential.

“We know it will give pride to our employees – we are conducting a huge internal dialogue with all our employees in France about energy and strategy. Electric mobility is always part of the discussions, and employees are very supportive of the EV100 approach and looking forward to implementing it. We also hope we can get the support of cities and the neighbourhoods of our locations to get more charging points installed.”

What are your thoughts on France’s goal to phase out internal combustion engines by 2040? What’s the role of EDF in that?

Claude Nahon: “This goal is more broadly aspirational but it gives credibility to our own vision. Today there are cities that want to ban diesel from their centres, including Paris by 2030. The vision of the society we are serving is a carbon-free society. We must be part of that road map and EV100 is a good way to help build it!”

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