Market Spotlight: IONITY in Germany
As the third employee to join IONITY, Christoph Strecker embarked on a journey to shape e-mobility in the DACH region in 2017 and has some exceptional accomplishments to look back on. Learn more about his motivation, his ambitious goals for the future of IONITY's network, and the German market's peculiarities.
Christoph, what brought you to IONITY, and what is your role here?
When IONITY was established in 2017, there was no open, pan-European charging network available, despite the growing demand for it. So, IONITY became my top career choice, and I joined the company as employee No. 3. Since then, I had the privilege of working with exceptional people and contributing to the company's rapid expansion. Today, I am the Country Manager for the DACH Region, consisting of Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
Can you share a little bit more about what motivates you?
I have a deep passion for cars but an equally strong commitment to addressing climate change and protecting the environment. This combination makes working in the charging network business a perfect fit for me. Also, establishing a cross-border charging infrastructure aligns perfectly with my passion for collaborating with individuals from diverse backgrounds. The job is demanding but also very fulfilling: From the initial site selection to the moment a station is operational, there’s a great sense of accomplishment as we witness the direct impact of our efforts on travellers.
Country Manager DACH
What kind of challenges do you face in your work?
Needless to say, each site comes with a unique set of challenges, but overarching topics that keep us busy are the escalating competition in a rapidly growing market, extended lead times for components and increasingly complicated building permit procedures. This complexity is primarily due to the fragmentation of the German market into 16 federal states with 16 very different understandings of what is needed to get a building permit. Sometimes, transformer stations are even accounted for as buildings instead of charging stations due to their size, which, then again, requires a different set of permits for buildings, while the actual charger might be permit-free. But that’s not all: Germany also has around 800 different distribution net operators that check and approve our transformer stations. We really do like things to be extra thorough, so patience and resilience are key in building the charging infrastructure in Germany. As some locations demand considerable patience and creative problem-solving, they often require several years for completion. However, I am fortunate to have an exceptional team and strong partnerships to collaboratively address these challenges as they arise.
Can you fill us in on what is going on in your market at the moment?
In the DACH Region, we currently operate over 760 charging points across 150 locations – with most of them in Germany. We are highly committed to expanding our network by introducing new sites in addition to existing ones and by enhancing existing sites with more chargers to boost capacity. Our goals are to double our network by the end of 2025 in terms of sites and significantly increase in chargers per site.
How do you foresee the growth of IONITY in Germany in the coming years?
In July 2023, Germany had approximately 1.2 million battery electric vehicles, and we expect an impending surge in electric cars on the roads. As sales are rising exponentially, it is quite difficult to accurately predict the necessary number of chargers to meet customer demand. Currently, our existing network experiences considerable seasonal spikes in usage, driving us to rapidly and strategically increase capacity. As already mentioned, competition in the German market has intensified, emphasising the need for a dedicated focus to provide our customers with an exceptional offering. We have some great sites in the pipeline for the coming months and years, which offer great amenities next to a large number of High-power chargers. And we will continue to closely monitor customer feedback through surveys and on social media to ensure the best possible customer experience.
Name: Christoph Strecker
Title: Country Manager DACH
Started to work for IONITY: November 2017 – the month IONITY was founded
Main interests: Electric mobility & technology, travelling, cooking, spending time in nature with friends and family
How would you describe your work to a five-year-old? My team and I help protect our beautiful earth by making your parent’s cars more ecologically friendly