Vodafone’s Vantage Towers to Install EV Chargers Across Hungary

Automotive

Vantage Towers Hungary Zrt., in cooperation with Elektromotive Hungaria Kft., will install around 60 electric charging stations at 38 base stations nationwide in the next year. The tower company says it will thus make a significant contribution to Hungary’s electric car interoperability and the promotion of green electromobility.

The infrastructure network company, which Vodafone launched as a stand-alone company within the group in June 2020, will install around 60 electric vehicle chargers next to its most accessible base stations across the country. The chargers will be based on the renewable energy power supply of the base stations.

The tower business says it is always looking for ways to use its telecom base stations for other purposes, replacing the classic single-function operation with innovative multifunctional platforms that build on the existing base station ecosystem, in this case, its renewable power source, to make them more cost-effective and sustainable.

Vantage Towers Hungary has more than 2,000 stations, giving it the second-largest market share in the country. As of Nov. 1, 2020, the Hungarian operation has covered 100% of its electricity needs from renewable energy sources.

The chargers installed will be 2x22 kW AC units and 180 kW DC lightning chargers. The former will be able to serve plug-in hybrids and full EVs and will be installed in locations where drivers typically spend more time. The latter, which are capable of charging EVs and buses very quickly, will be located in places where it is essential to charge the vehicle in a short time to achieve a significant range (for example, roadside rest stops and gas stations), as they can provide up to 300 km of range in just 20-25 minutes.

Another feature of the chargers is the large multifunctional touch screen, which, in addition to monitoring the charging status, informs users about local information like nearby attractions and can also be used as a commercial advertising space for static or video content.

1st of its Kind

“We hope that our project, the first of its kind in Hungary, will contribute greatly to introducing environmentally friendly and sustainable electric cars in Hungary,” said Gergő J. Budai, CEO of Vantage Towers Hungary.

“Our medium-term plans include not only increasing the number of charging stations in Hungary but also expanding the program to other countries,” he said. Budai added that the tower company is committed to green operations and has replaced its company fleet with EVs and plug-in hybrids.

Károly Balázs Solymár, Deputy State Secretary for Digitalisation at the Ministry of Innovation and Technology, welcomed the initiative.

“Today, digitalization is an integral part of our lives, as exemplified by the unique solution of the international telecom base station provider. The electric car chargers will be installed by a large company and its partner, which has found a valuable collaboration between e-mobility, sustainable transport, and its own telecom base station service,” the deputy state secretary said.

“The Hungarian government welcomes and supports solutions that reduce the environmental burden through innovation and digitalization and enhance sustainable development. We hope that with this announcement, other companies and businesses will also look at how they can create useful solutions and cooperation by expanding their existing services,” Solymár added.

János Mátyásfalvi, CEO of Elektromotive Hungaria Kft., explained that the company had been one of the pioneers of e-mobility in Hungary and was involved in installing “hundreds” of home and public charging stations.

He added that the Vantage Towers project, won through a tender, “involves not only the installation of chargers but also the construction and operation of a complex charging system. One of the system’s core elements is InfoCharger, our own development, and the product is assembled in Hungary,” Mátyásfalvi said.

Elektromotive Hungaria Ltd., registered in 2011, is a significant participant in the government-backed Jedlik Ányos Plan announced in 2014, which aims to replace all internal combustion engine vehicles in Hungary with plug-in hybrid (PHEV), extended-range electric vehicles (E-REV) and 100% EVs. According to Wikipedia, Jedlik Ányos was a Hungarian inventor, engineer, physicist and Benedictine priest considered by Hungarians and Slovaks to be the unsung father of the dynamo and the electric motor. Elektromotive Hungaria is a founding member of the Jedlik Ányos Cluster, and a market leader in installing lightning chargers. According to Mátyásfalvi, the number of charger installations exceeds 1,000.

Vantage Towers is one of Europe’s leading tower companies, with around 82,000 macro towers in 10 countries. The portfolio includes towers, antennas, indoor base stations (DAS) and small cells. By building, operating and leasing this passive infrastructure to Vodafone and other network operators, Vantage Towers says it is making a significant contribution to the efficient and sustainable digitization of Europe. The group HQ is in Düsseldorf, Germany.

This article was first published in the Budapest Business Journal print issue of May 20, 2022.

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