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EVgo, the nation’s largest network of public electric vehicle (EV) fast charging stations, today announced the expansion of its leadership team with clean energy industry veterans to accelerate its delivery of fast charging to electric vehicle owners and operators across the country. Julie Blunden has joined EVgo’s executive team, as Cathy Zoi officially transitions from interim to permanent Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the company.

Zoi, who joined EVgo as interim CEO in November 2017, is a distinguished executive with decades of experience in clean energy, investing, public policy and management. Four months after relocating to Southern California, Zoi and Vision Ridge Partners, the controlling investor in EVgo, have come to an agreement to appoint her permanent CEO. Her leadership experience and proven track record will help continue EVgo’s growth and build on its market-leading position as the nation’s largest public network of EV fast chargers.

“Cathy Zoi is an outstanding partner in growing EVgo and fast-tracking delivery of fast charging across the country,” said Reuben Munger, Managing Partner of Vision Ridge Partners, LLC. “Cathy has moved quickly to scale EVgo, and we are thrilled that she has already recruited Julie to further strengthen her leadership team. EVgo is making the electrified future a reality today, and this team makes EVgo’s bright future even brighter.”

“I am excited to continue to work with Vision Ridge and the team at EVgo to accelerate the deployment of electric vehicles across the U.S. through expansion of EVgo’s public fast charging network,” said Zoi. “As automakers begin selling more long-range and lower-cost EV models, 2018 is a critical year for the transportation sector, and EVgo is well-positioned to continue to lead the way in providing convenient fast charging solutions for the more American drivers.”

Prior to joining EVgo, Zoi served as a clean energy industry senior executive, investor, academic and a senior policymaker. Most recently she served as President of Odyssey Energy, a distributed generation software company that she co-founded. With Odyssey now well-established and its growth trajectory strong, Zoi will transition to the position of Odyssey’s Executive Chairman.

In addition to the transition from interim to permanent CEO, Zoi is continuing to build her senior management team at EVgo with the announcement of Julie Blunden as Executive Vice President for Business Development. Blunden brings decades of experience and significant accomplishments in the clean energy sector, and stands ready to bring her acumen to contribute to the growth of EVgo.

In her role as Executive Vice President for Business Development, Julie Blunden will join CEO Cathy Zoi and CFO Chris O’Donnell to set the company’s strategy and manage and expand EVgo’s partnerships with automakers, site hosts and mobility providers. As part of her duties, she will also lead marketing, communications and policy strategy and implementation. Blunden brings more than three decades of executive experience to EVgo, including growing rapidly expanding companies in new energy markets, including senior roles at SunPower, Green Mountain Energy, KEMA Xenergy, and SunEdison, as well as serving as Chief Executive Officer, President and Director of ClimateWorks Foundation. She is Board Chair of CalCEF Catalyst and Board Member of CalCEF Ventures, as well as founder of her own consulting practice, and former Executive in Residence for the Global Energy Management Program at the University of Colorado Denver’s Business School. Blunden has an engineering and environmental studies degree from Dartmouth College and a Masters of Business Administration from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business.

“Julie Blunden is one of the sharpest minds in clean energy with more than three decades of experience in all aspects of the power industry,” said Cathy Zoi, EVgo’s CEO. “She will be instrumental in helping EVgo deliver on our commitments to our customers and create EV charging solutions for millions of American drivers.”

German energy company E.on SE and Japanese carmaker Nissan Motor Co Ltd today announced a strategic partnership on electric mobility and renewable distributed energy projects.

Under the cooperation agreement, signed at the Geneva Motor Show, the companies will look into pilot and commercial opportunities in the areas of electric vehicles (EV) charging, vehicle-to-grid services and grid integration, as well as distributed energy generation and storage.

The partnership has already started in Denmark where customers get a charging station for their home and an energy flat rate to charge their Nissan EV, E.on said. The partners plan to expand the tie-up to other European countries in the near future.

The partnership will use Nissan's vehicle-to-grid infrastructure and advanced bi-directional charging technology. E.on said that thanks to its experience in home solar and storage, the partners will be able to offer renewable energy solutions to Nissan customers and optimise their electricity costs.

The agreement was signed by Frank Meyer, head of innovation and B2C solutions at E.on, and Paul Willcox, chairman of Nissan Europe.

"Our goal is for Nissan to be recognised as the go-to automotive partner for energy services, with the ultimate ambition to provide free electricity for our EV customers," said Willcox.

"The partnership between Nissan and E.ON is driven by our desire to set the electric car free," commented E.on chief operating officer Karsten Wildberger.

Giving impetus to the e-mobility ecosystem, including vehicle manufacturers, charging infrastructure companies, fleet operators and service providers, the Union Minister of State (IC) Power and New & Renewable Energy, R K Singh on March 7 launched the National E-Mobility Programme.

According to the Ministry’s official statement, this e-mobility programme will be implemented by Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) which will procure electric vehicles in bulk to ensure economies of scale. In 2017, EESL had issued a tender to procure 10,000 e-vehicles to replace petrol and diesel vehicles.

This year, too, it will issue a new tender for 10,000 more e-vehicles to replace the existing fleet and “cater to the growing demand”. With 20,000 electric cars on the roads, “India is expected to save over 5 crore litres of fuel every year leading to a reduction of over 560,000 tonnes of annual CO2 emission,” says the ministry.

Inviting the industry to invest in manufacturing of e-vehicles and batteries, the minister said that the “the future is electric”. He also referred to the actions taken by many countries in the developed world to phase out diesel vehicles and suggested that switching to electric vehicles is a win-win situation for both environment and economy as per kilometre cost for an electric car is just 85 paisa as opposed to Rs 6.5 for normal cars.

Recently, Anumita Roychowdhury, who heads the air pollution and clean transportation programme at the Centre for Science and Environment, observed that though India is highly unlikely to meet the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan target of having 6-7 million electric vehicles by 2020, the government is making optimistic plans.

During the launch of the programme, Secretary, Ministry of Power, Ajay Kumar Bhalla said that the government is focusing on creating charging infrastructure and policy framework so that by 2030 more than 30 per cent of vehicles are electric ones.

India's push for electric mobility by 2030 is something that has to be considered to decide the right Mercedes-Benz products for the market in future but infrastructure is a key pre-requisite to enter the EV space, according to Daimler AG Member of Board of Management Britta Seeger. For the future journey in India, the company is closely observing changing customer needs and is also constantly evaluating various options, including different drivetrains or different body styles. Mercedes-Benz is a part of the Daimler Group, which is among the leading manufacturers of premium cars globally and the world's biggest commercial vehicles maker. "We are aware that India is strongly pushing into E-mobility by 2030. This is now something we have to take into consideration in order to see what could be the right product that fits the Indian market," Seeger, who is responsible for Mercedes-Benz Cars Marketing and Sales, told PTI. She further said, "Whether you do this with different drivetrains or with different body styles, this is a constant evaluation you need to do."

Seeger, however, emphasised on the need for a robust infrastructure for a successful roll-out of electric vehicles in India. "...We need to observe to what extent the infrastructure is getting ready especially for E-mobility. And we see in other markets, that's a key pre-requisite in order to enter E-mobility," she said. India has set eyes on 100 per cent electric vehicles for public mobility and 40 per cent of personal mobility by 2030. Citing company's experience, Seeger said, "We know from our customers that range anxiety is the biggest topic in the decision process for buying an electrified vehicle. We would like to go into zero emission vehicles, but we need to have the infrastructure." Commenting on the company's take on the Indian car market in future, she said the customer's needs and wishes and requirements are changing.

"We therefore have to see whether the trend in the SUVs segment continues or whether the trend will be in the smaller cars segment in the future, our compact cars for example. So this is one part what we are observing very closely," Seeger said. When asked about technology roadmap of Mercedes-Benz, she said,"We have a clear commitment to invest in the improvement of our internal combustion engines because we truly believe that we will stay with this technology for a long period of time." On the other hand, she added,"we will as well invest in plug-in hybrids and the 48-volt technology. As of today, we have 8 plug-in hybrids in our existing vehicle line-up and the next generation of plug-in hybrids will come with higher ranges in the future because we see this as a very important technology." Stating that the company is also investing 'heavily' in fully electric vehicles, Seeger said, "We will have a strong lineup until 2022 with more than 10 purely electric passenger cars in our portfolio."

Although Mercedes-Benz has a clear commitment to go all in, she said, "But at the end of the day you shouldn't forget that the customer is deciding what kind of car they are buying..." Plug-in hybrids are also a very good alternative for customers, Especially to act as a bridge when infrastructure for full electric mobility isn't ready, she added.

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