Market Spotlight: IONITY in Scandinavia

Rapidly expanding our high-power charging network in Scandinavia isn’t always a smooth ride. This is largely due to the extremely harsh climate: strong winds, freezing temperatures, snow, and ice create a challenging environment to build in. However, motivated by challenges, our colleagues always find a way to make it work.

One of the key figures in the process of developing the network is André Schau, Country Manager for Scandinavia. Hear more about his story, the growth of the IONITY network in the Scandinavian market, and get a sneak peek of what’s to come in the future.

André, you have been working in the E-Mobility sector since 2013. When the opportunity came along, what made you decide to join IONITY?

Honestly, it was an easy choice. To me, IONITY represents the “network for the future,” and I was thrilled to be able to work for the company with the – in my opinion – best high-power charging concept in the industry. Looking back, it was definitely the right decision for me as I find building a European network for the next generation fulfilling.

Speaking of your job, can you tell us a little bit more about your current role at IONITY?

As Country Manager for Scandinavia, I am responsible for expanding the network in the region. When it comes to specific task areas, this role contains a little bit of everything: from securing land to build the stations on, and the building process itself, to coordinating the roll-outs in the region. Of course, none of these tasks are actually a one-man job. I am lucky to have an amazing team behind my back that makes my job a lot easier.

André Schau, Country Manager for Scandinavia

Seems like you’re definitely the right man to ask: What is currently going on in the Scandinavian market?

There is a lot going on. The network in Scandinavia will expand a lot this year. For example, we will open several new sites within the next few months to begin with. We are looking to consistently keep up this pace and establish new partnerships with landlords and retailers over the course of the year. And it seems like we’re on a roll: we just signed a contract with the property company Regio for 12 new sites in Sweden, which will allow us to almost double the amount of IONITY charging points within the year.

That is some impressive growth, especially considering the specific challenges to the Scandinavian market. Can you please share more about that and how we meet those challenges at IONITY?

There are some specific challenges to the Scandinavian market. We get a proper winter here with snow, ice, and temperatures down to -35 degrees Celsius. For our sites' building process, this means that the ground is sometimes too frozen to build on. In that case, we need to heat up the ground from the outside in order to be able to dig. This costs quite a bit of time. Also, we need to set up tents to protect our mounting equipment from the snow. However, these tents risk being blown away by the strong wind. Let me tell you: It really doesn’t get boring, but that’s something else I love about my job.

Are there any more challenges apart from the harsh climate in Scandinavia?

Actually, there are! Logistics are a big challenge for us. A lot of people tend to underestimate the distances within Scandinavia. Just to illustrate: If you’d turn Norway upside down, the tip would reach south of Rome in Italy. So, when we have projects in northern Norway, it can take a good 20-hour drive to get there. Also, there are speed regulations, ferries, and mountain crossings that are closed at certain times of the year. Because of all these reasons, logistics and transport are very time-consuming and require a lot of planning.

That does sound quite challenging. However, you seem to really enjoy what you are doing. Can you tell us what motivates you?

Definitely! I am very motivated by results and overcoming challenges together with my team. In general, I am the kind of person who will never give up and enjoys finding a solution to tasks that seem rather tricky. What I like most about my job at IONITY is the process of bringing a new site to life: from getting in touch with landlords and retailers to discuss possible collaborations through site visits with a map in my hand to standing on a new charging site in operation. It really is a gratifying experience and I look forward to what's coming for IONITY.

Closed mountain crossings make it even harder to travel.

Name: André Thomas Schau
Title: Country Manager Scandinavia
Based: Sofiemyr outside Oslo, Norway
Started to work for IONITY: January 2018
Main interests: Outdoor sports (Skiing, Cycling, Golf), traveling, and family time - at best in combination. 
How would you explain your job to a 5-year-old: My team and I are building charging stations so that mum and dad can drive their electric car long distance, to visit family and go on vacations.